Senator Daphne Jordan introduces legislation requiring Governor’s office to retain e-mails, records

Albany, NY – New York State Senator Daphne Jordan (R,C,I-Halfmoon) is introducing a bill on Wednesday which ensures that all records and documents pertaining to the Office of the Governor – including e-mails – are retained for future use.

Current New York State law provides significant discretion to the Governor himself as to which documents are kept and which are discarded. Senator Jordan said that the weakness of existing laws became apparent in the midst of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s numerous scandals.

“The Governor is leaving in disgrace after his decade-long abuse of power has finally come to light. He has given himself two weeks before he leaves office. Have his office shredders been running all of this time? Are the computers being wiped clean?” said Senator Jordan. “I’m introducing legislation to prevent any future Governor from destroying or ‘misplacing’ potentially incriminating records as I have no doubt Cuomo’s lieutenants have already done. My bill will make sure that every record, be it paper or electronic and including e-mail, of a Governor’s administration is retained for two years. This legislation also ensures, should the misdeeds of any future Governor come before a court, that all existing evidence will be available to the court so that justice may be done.”

The document retention standards established by the bill would require executive Departments, Agencies, Offices, and Commissions, as well as the Executive Chamber itself, to retain all written and electronic records, including e-mails, as well as electronic metadata. These documents must be retained for two years under this legislation, except if documents are anticipated to be part of litigation, in which case they must be retained for five years or two years after litigation is no longer reasonably anticipated, whichever is later.

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*The Scope of Records Bill Draft and Scope of Records Sponsors Memo are attached.