As noted recently on FedWeek.com, a House bill to strengthen recordkeeping requirements for federal agencies has been reintroduced. Legislation HR-745, introduced by Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC), would mandate, in part, that agencies capture, retain, and make searchable any electronic messages that qualify as federal records.
The Federal Records Modernization Act of 2017 would also modify the categories of record removal or destruction that require agency chiefs to notify the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) and begin actions to recover removed records through the Department of Justice. Federal agencies would also have to apprise NARA of any falsifications of records or concealments, and publish a description of records that have been lost or at risk of being lost.
HR-745 also establishes a process for suspending and removing employees if an agency inspector general deems they have “willfully and unlawfully concealed, removed, mutilated, obliterated, falsified, or destroyed any record, proceeding, or other thing in their custody” or have violated prohibitions against sending or creating records via unofficial messaging accounts.
The bill, which was referred to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, would also require agencies to tap a senior records management official to be responsible for ensuring compliance with records management requirements.