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Saturday, September 25, 2021

Fla. officials' texts to be public records

From the campus level to the state level, transparency has become a common theme.

Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum announced a new policy Tuesday that will treat government officials' Blackberry messages and text messages as public record.

"The evolution of technology should be an asset, not an obstacle, to transparency and accountability," McCollum said in a press release. "This policy will allow for both government efficiency and more open government."

Gainesville Mayor Pegeen Hanrahan said she thinks the policy is a good idea.

Hanrahan said public business means public records, no matter the form of communication, adding that a lot of citizens are confused about public records.

"If I texted my husband and asked him to pick up the kids, that's not the public's business," she said. "But if I texted him government information, that's public record."

Other forms of electronic communication that will be reviewed will include instant messaging, and Voice over Internet Protocol, which allows people to use a cable connection like a phone, according to the release.

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