Climate research now shielded from public records requests

July 8, 2017 GMT

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Gov. Gina Raimondo has signed into law legislation that shields Rhode Island climate scientists and other university researchers from public records requests.

Both chambers of the state General Assembly approved bills to exempt researchers at state institutions from having to disclose preliminary drafts, notes and working papers.

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.


The legislation was signed last week by the Democratic governor.

University of Rhode Island professors backed the bill.

Opponents have called it an affront to transparency but other open government advocates didn’t object, arguing it merely adds clarity to an existing exemption in the law.

It took effect immediately.