Advocates for government transparency say officials are making it harder for Minnesotans to see what their representatives are up to.
Don Gemberling, a spokesman for the Minnesota Coalition on Government Information, cited recent policy changes in Minneapolis that led to Hennepin County deleting government email as soon as 30 days after transmission or receipt.
"The information revolution is starting to trickle down and do some things that we don't think are necessarily positive," Gemberling told reporters after a Minnesota House Civil Law Committee meeting at the Capitol.
Gemberling said computer technology is making it much easier to destroy vast troves of information that would have been impractical to search through and dispose of in paper form.
His group rolled out a five-point plan for lawmakers. It includes making all state agencies and divisions subject to the state's open records law, expanding the scope of official government records and how long they need to be retained, bolstering the Open Meeting law and making public detailed information on how subsidies are being spent by public health care programs.
Ben Feist, the legislative director for the Minnesota chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, said government data has been key in probing racial disparities in criminal justice, police accountability and otherwise secret government surveillance programs.
"Transparency allows us to see our government in action," Feist said.
Advocates also urged lawmakers to hold state officials accountable for any breach of privacy for personal information held by government agencies and to make sure individuals had the right to see and appeal for changes in personal data held by state and local government.