- Associated Press - Tuesday, June 6, 2017

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - A proposal that would shield climate scientists and other university researchers from public records requests could be heading to Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo.

The state Senate voted unanimously to pass the bill Tuesday. The House passed companion legislation on a 58-6 vote in January. One chamber must approve the other’s bill before it’s sent to the Democratic governor.

Proponents have said the legislation is meant to help guarantee academic freedom, especially for those whose study of climate change has been impeded by records requests from opponents of the research.

It would exempt researchers at state institutions from having to disclose preliminary drafts, notes and working papers.

University of Rhode Island professors backed the bill. Open government advocates didn’t object, arguing it adds clarity to an existing exemption.

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