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Saturday, April 18, 2009

Electronic requests now accepted in N.M.

The New Mexico governor signed a bill that requires the acceptance of electronic public records requests, the Student Press Law Center reported. The bill was filed after New Mexico State University refused to acknowledge an e-mailed request.
Government agencies in New Mexico will have to accept electronic requests for public records after the governor signed a bill April 3 inspired by a state university's rejection of an e-mail request.

House Bill 598, sponsored by Rep. Joseph Cervantes, D-Las Cruces, states that communication by e-mail or fax qualifies as a "written" request required under state law.

"Government actors should not be able to rely on artificial barriers to avoid making public records available to the public," Cervantes said following a 64-0 House of Representatives vote on March 4, according to the New Mexico Independent. "With this legislation, no government actor can hide behind an argument that a records request must be printed and mailed or hand-delivered to constitute a valid request."
More here.

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