- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 18, 2016

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - A bill introduced in the Rhode Island General Assembly would shield public access to records involving scholarly research at public universities.

The Providence Journal reports (https://bit.ly/27xFvxs ) the bill is scheduled for a committee hearing Wednesday.

Rep. Carol Hagan McEntee, who introduced the bill, says the intent is to protect researchers from being targeted with requests from climate change deniers.

The Democrat from Kingstown says the legislation would allow faculty to research without worrying about their communications.

But open records advocates say the bill’s broad exemption could be interpreted to cover almost anything an employee at a public university does.

A University of Rhode Island professor says Delaware, Georgia, Maine, New Jersey, Ohio, South Carolina and Utah have enacted laws to shield scholarly research and public university professors’ emails.

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Information from: The Providence Journal, https://www.providencejournal.com

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