Giannoulias bill aims to green state government records

From press release

  State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias is encouraging state agencies to switch to sending and storing documents electronically—rather than keeping paper records—in an effort to save state money and resources.

  The Government Electronic Records bill, which passed unanimously in the Senate State Government Committee, will enable government agencies and constitutional offices to transfer or distribute a record by e-mail or to retain an electronic copy whenever possible. In many instances, current state law—drawn up decades ago—does not allow agencies to e-mail documents or to store them electronically, requiring instead that they be printed for mailings and for storage.

  Illinois is just one of three states that does not have legislation or guidelines encouraging electronic transmission and storage of documents.

  “This bill will help bring state government into the 21st century in both a fiscally and environmentally-responsible way,” Giannoulias said. “Making the switch to electronic records will not only help save natural resources, it will ultimately reduce costs associated with mailing, printing and storing documents as well as buying paper and envelopes.”

  The bill aims to reduce state agencies’ reliance on paper, permitting them to employ a more cost-effective and environmentally-friendly method of document management without violating state statute.

  The bill could allow for Illinois residents to receive notices to renew their driver’s licenses or have their vehicle’s emissions tested via e-mail, instead of mailed letters.

  The bill creates the Electronic Records Advisory Board, which would develop best practices for state agencies to follow to implement electronic records management and retention policies by July 1, 2011. Every state agency and constitutional office would then use those guidelines beginning in early 2012 to promote the use of electronic means of creating, transmitting and retaining state records.

          The bill would not require a state agency or office to transfer previously-archived documents to electronic format or require them to refuse to accept hard-copy documents for submission or filing. Agency directors would also have the discretion to consider a constituent’s access to technology in deciding whether to distribute a document electronically to best ensure delivery.

From the March 31-April 6, 2010 issue

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