Legislation that would prohibit agencies from destroying emails for at least 2 years was vetoed by the Governor last week.

AB 1184, by Assemblyman Todd Gloria (D-San Diego) would have required state and local agencies to retain writings containing information relating to the conduct of the public’s business transmitted by electronic mail for at least 2 years unless a longer retention period is required by statute or regulation.

CNPA supported the measure.

In his veto message the Governor said, “This bill does not strike the appropriate balance between the benefits of greater transparency through the public’s access to public records, and the burdens of a dramatic increase in records-retention requirements, including associated personnel and data-management costs to taxpayer.”

AB 1184 was introduced to address the question of how long public agencies must retain electronic writings, or emails. The government code prohibits cities from destroying public records that are less than two years old. Some local governments, however, claim that emails are not subject to the two-year retention requirement. The confusion stemmed from the fact that while the CPRA expressly defines a public record to include electronic writings, the several retention statutes do not expressly mention emails.