The state in 2008 made its most sweeping reforms to the state’s Open Records Law in the past 20 years. With regard to electronic messages, the portion of the law that revises Tennessee Code Annotated §10-7-503 (a)(1) provides that public records include “all documents . . . regardless of physical form or characteristics made or received pursuant to law or ordinance or in connection with the transaction of official business by any governmental agency.”

The new law also includes the creation of a state ombudsman, called the Office of Open Records Counsel. Along with an advisory committee, the office is charged with issuing guidance on electronic records issues.

According to state statutes, paper and electronic copies should be treated the same with regard to retention.