HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Montana’s government has no policy requiring state workers to retain the text messages they send or receive for official business.
The lack of a policy was exposed after Gov. Steve Bullock’s office released 86 of the governor’s text messages concerning this year’s budget negotiations, but none of his budget director’s.
Lee Newspapers of Montana had requested the texts between lawmakers and budget director Dan Villa, who was a key negotiator in the state spending plan.
Bullock adviser Eric Stern said state agencies don’t require employees to retain text messages because they are transitory and ephemeral.
State law says public records designated for retention can be in any medium.
Bullock spokeswoman Ronja Abel said Monday that Lee Newspaper’s text-message request was the first of its kind and that state agencies will develop a policy framework.