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Even though there's more deliberations for government decisions, there's less left for the historical record — in part because state data retention laws haven’t kept up with fast-moving technology or the changing habits of those in power.

Lagging laws, changing habits mean less data kept

The paper-trail hunt to shed light on Minnesota government decisions is increasingly missing a key element: the paper.

As more deliberations occur via email, text messaging and other paperless platforms, there’s less left for the historical record — in part because state data retention laws haven’t kept up with fast-moving technology or the changing habits of those in power. Minnesota’s main records-retention law hasn’t had a major update in more than three decades and last received a touch-up in 2007.

Legislative debate this year centers on retention policies for data collected by police license plate readers and body cameras, but open-government advocates hope a broader rework of the state record management law isn’t far behind.

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