State Rep. Blake Filippi, R-Block Island, has introduced a bill that would require all electronic public records, including emails, to be kept readily available and easily searchable for government officials who respond to public record requests. The proposal, House Bill 7465, follows the revelation by former gubernatorial candidate Ken Block that the state is unable to access years’ worth of government emails.
The Division of Information Technology told Block that while switching from one email system to another in 2015, a number of emails had been lost and the rest were saved in a difficult-to-search format. Block is a software engineer and government watchdog. Filippi said it would cost Block hundreds of dollars to have the state search through the backlog of information, with no guarantee of finding the emails he had requested.
The bill has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee.
— Ryan Blessing