Transparency Watch

Mississippi Ethics Commission rules in favor of records request for text messages

The city of Tupelo, Miss. violated open-records laws by not providing the Daily Journal with text messages it requested last year.

The paper had requested the texts from the mayor's personal cell phone over the course of three days last October, when a city official resigned, the Journal wrote.

The Mississippi Ethics Commission all agreed that the mayor's texts were considered open records under state open records laws.

"'Any text message used by a city official in the conduct, transaction or performance of any business, transaction, work, duty or function of (the city), or required to be maintained by (the city) is a public record subject to the Act, regardless of where the record is stored,' the commission wrote in the advisory opinion," according to the Journal.

The mayor was surprised, the Journal reported, but is going to try to make a "digital records policy" for the city.

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