By Rachel Leingang and Hank Stephenson | Arizona Capitol Times
Four months ago, Arizona Capitol Times set out to learn how much of the state’s business is being conducted on smartphones, via newer technologies like text messages, social media chats and third-party messenger applications.
Under the state public records laws, we requested electronic messages sent among top state elected officials of both parties and their top staff. The request covered only communications about state business, and only during a period of about a month, from when lawmakers debated and approved the state budget to the close of the 2015 regular legislative session.
As it turned out, lawmakers use text messages and third-party messengers to talk to each other about state business all the time.
But getting access to those messages, which most experts and public officials agree are covered under the state public records laws, can be extremely difficult.