Kentucky bill would exempt private devices from open records law

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Government officials in Kentucky could discuss public business on their personal devices without having to disclose it, according to a surprise amendment moving quickly through the state legislature.

A legislative committee amended House Bill 302 on Wednesday to change the definition of public record to say it “shall not include” any electronic communications — including calls, text messages and emails — if they are sent or received on a device paid for with private funds or a nongovernment email account.

Open government advocates compared it to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton using a private server for her email, a method also used by past Republican presidential administrations.

“Public record means more than a record sitting on the desk of a public official,” said Amye Bensenhaver, director of the Center for Open Government for the Bluegrass Institute and a former assistant attorney general in the open records division. “I have really grave concerns that this will eviscerate not just open records but open meetings.” Read more…