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Minnesota bill to require “permanent record” of web publications of official notices

A bill in the Minnesota legislature would allow government agencies to post official notices on their web sites instead of in newspapers and would require a “permanent record” of publications to be “maintained.” Included would be publication of transportation projects, proceedings, official notices, and summaries of meetings. The bill apparently does not designate who will preserve the information nor does it specify how to preserve the information except for the caveat that the records must be in “a form accessible by the public.”

  • H.F. No. 1286, as introduced – 88th Legislative Session (2013-2014) Posted on Mar 05, 2013.

    Subd. 4. Record retention. A political subdivision that publishes notice on its Web site under this section must ensure that a permanent record of publication is maintained in a form accessible by the public.

We would, of course, like to see a bit more detail of the implementation, perhaps even including requirements for deposit of records in a Trusted Repository, provisions for discovery, access, use, and bulk download, and, ideally, a state-law-compliant deposit into libraries.

One section of the bill does specify that print copies of “documents” published on the web must be made available at all public libraries within the jurisdiction. This is not a bad requirement, but it does seem to us to be short-sighted to require deposit of paper copies and not require deposit of digital copies. Libraries could provide enhanced access and service over what the government could provide and could provide redundant digital preservation.

Subd. 5. Print copies. When a political subdivision publishes exclusively on the Web site, it must also make print copies of all published documents available at the main office of the political subdivision, any other government offices designated by the political subdivision, all public libraries within the jurisdiction, and by mail upon request.