Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm signed House Bill 5550 (now 2004 P.A. 572) into law earlier this month, updating the state's 1992 Records Media Act of 1992. Under the act, the Department of History, Arts and Libraries (HAL) can evolve new storage technologies for public records. Optical imaging, for example, will now be enabled and as newer technologies appear, HAL can investigate and submit them to the State Historical Record Advisory Board for approval.

"With the almost daily advances in technology," said Rep. Rich Brown, who sponsored the bill, "it is critical for government to have the ability to adapt. This legislation gives government the flexibility it needs to do just that."

According to a release from HAL, the bill will make it possible for state and local government to go beyond paper, microfilm and optical storage and will ultimately reduce record storage, reproduction and retrieval costs for both state and local agencies. Two other pieces of associated legislation add technical definitions to the act, and gives a record the same legal status as the original.

Rep. Brown worked closely with HAL and the Michigan Association of Counties to make sure the legislation benefited all affected entities.

Wayne Hanson  | 

Wayne E. Hanson served as a writer and editor with e.Republic from 1989 to 2013, having worked for several business units including Government Technology magazine, the Center for Digital Government, Governing, and Digital Communities. Hanson was a juror from 1999 to 2004 with the Stockholm Challenge and Global Junior Challenge competitions in information technology and education.