Caifornia Governor Vetoes Law That Would Have Mandated Retention Of State Government Emails

from the passing-the-savings-on-to-you! dept

California Governor Gavin Newsom has signed off on some significant wins for state residents. He approved a bill banning the use of facial recognition tech in law enforcement body cameras -- the first such statewide ban in the United States. Well… I guess that's it really. To be fair, he hasn't been in office all that long.

He also signed off on a mostly-worthless police use of force reform bill and Hancocked a bill that will prevent "hollowing out the middle class" by hollowing out the middle class -- namely, freelance writers who will find it almost impossible to make a living under the state's gig economy law.

To sum up, Governor Newsom may be doing more harm than good this year. Let's hope things improve. One week after signing a bill that would eliminate (some) excessive public record duplication fees by allowing residents to take pictures of documents with their cellphones (rather than pay a public servant an exorbitant amount of money to run a copier), Newsom has restored a bit more opacity to the halls of power. Matthew Keys has the details:

California Gov. Gavin Newsom vetoed a measure last weekend that would have required local governments to preserve copies of email records for disclosure under the state’s public records law.

The measure, Assembly Bill 1184, would have required local and state agencies to preserve communications sent by email for at least two years so that members of the public may inspect and copy them.

California government agencies have been arguing for years now that emails are not subject to the state's two-year retention period. Since they're not going to voluntarily retain records that many residents would certainly consider to be public records, the bill would have erased the faux confusion over government agency emails.

Instead of providing clarity, Governor Newsom went the other way, leaving it to individuals at individual agencies to make personal judgment calls on email retention… all in the interest of "striking a balance."

Expressing concern for the taxpayers he just screwed out of records, Newsom claims email retention is cost prohibitive.

Gov. Newsom said he was concerned that codifying a preservation requirement for email could require additional personnel and data management policies, the costs of which would be passed on to taxpayers.

But of course taxpayers would be expected to absorb the costs. This much taxpayers understand. They fund the agencies creating the records. They fund public records response efforts. They fund the creation of these emails -- the ones the governor has now decided they can't have access to.

With this veto, agencies have the official blessing to delete emails whenever they feel like it. They can alter policies and practices to ensure as many emails as possible are destroyed, putting them permanently out of reach. Transparency and accountability are great... but maybe they're just too expensive? This isn't logic. It's post hoc rationalization by a governor who's decided there should be a bit more distance between the government and governed.

Filed Under: california, emails, foia, gavin newsom, retention, transparency


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  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 4 Nov 2019 @ 2:21pm

    One does wonder what he's trying to cover up.

    Trying to spin it as a benefit is disgusting, wanting to hide what they have done in office on our dime is slapping the public in the face.

    They are hiding what they are doing while we pay them, on what planet is this acceptable?
    We still have members of Congress using WhatsApp to hide their communications, it full on violation of the law & nothings happened.
    A cop walks by your car and THINKS he smells pot & they can haul you out, preach at you, baptize you... but we can't make sure we can check up on what are leaders are doing.

    Humans are stupid.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 4 Nov 2019 @ 3:00pm

      Re:

      This veto now gives anyone filing a lawsuit seeking emails a free spoliation of evidence claim.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 4 Nov 2019 @ 5:39pm

      Re:

      email which is basically a text file and takes very little space compared just about anything and everything else is an expensive storage issue? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. It's a COVERUP, plain and simple with this corrupt state government. Which continues to screw the state even worse.

      Why people continue to vote these leftists into office forever?!?! I would flee this dump if I could. Many others though are doing just that.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      OGquaker, 5 Nov 2019 @ 4:11pm

      Re: "Gad, moving to Chicago was a mistake" : Boeing looks back

      "Federal Aviation Administration is demanding answers from Boeing after receiving a 2016 electronic message exchange in which a test pilot talks of unknowingly having lied to regulators and discloses "egregious" problems with the flight control system that figured in two 737 Max crashes"

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Nov 2019 @ 3:23pm

    A paperless government.

    So the only application that government officials need will be their email application.?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Rekrul, 4 Nov 2019 @ 7:23pm

    I rarely delete stuff. I hadn't cleaned out my old emails in about a decade. Since I occasionally go back and search them for stuff, I decided to just compress the database files into Rar archives. All total, my emails compressed to about 2GB.

    For less than $100, they can get a 4TB hard drive and have enough storage space to backup an entire agency's emails for years.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 5 Nov 2019 @ 3:14am

      Re:

      If they're running their own email servers, any competent admin should be backup up the entire server on a regular basis anyway. That might be the sticking point - they're either outsourcing to people who would overcharge for the extra work done, or they know they need extra staffing to get competent people on this.

      The only question would be how long they keep archival backups, and that's a process change rather than technical one for the most part. Any additional cost is going to be bureaucracy, not hardware.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    oh no, 5 Nov 2019 @ 2:45pm

    but but...

    But CCPA came through and who has to pay for those costs? suck it up buttercup, two years of email retention isn't anything; you should retain it indefinitely in some form or fashion...you are the government.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    p, 11 Nov 2019 @ 9:31am

    All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others. A proclamation by the pigs who control the government in the novel Animal Farm, by George Orwell

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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