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Friday, July 14, 2017

Climate change scientists protected

Rep. McEntee bill shielding researchers from climate change denier attacks signed into law

Image result for climate science research shield
Richmond village idiot Rep. Justin Price (left) doesn't like this idea.
Rep. Carol Hagan McEntee’s legislation (2017-H 5098) that would protect scholarly research by faculty members of the state’s higher education institutions from public records requests until the researchers are prepared to publish their work was signed into law by the governor.  

“I sponsored this legislation because it was brought to my attention that a disturbing national trend is taking place in an effort to disrupt critical and important research concerning climate change at our country’s universities,” said Representative McEntee (D-Dist. 33, South Kingstown, Narragansett).  

“Our nation’s colleges and universities have thrived due to the academic freedom to research topics without bending to political pressure and with a topic as important to us all as climate change, I believe our researchers should be able to do their job without fear of harassment.”

The legislation was drafted in response to concerns of faculty at Rhode Island’s higher education institutions regarding public records requests being made by climate change deniers in hopes of disrupting research on the subject being done at the institutions.  

The act would exempt preliminary drafts, notes, impressions, memoranda, working papers and work products including those involving research at state higher education institutions on commercial, scientific, artistic, technical or scholarly issues, whether in electronic or other formats, from being deemed a public record for the purposes of public access to public records.

“This bill is not an attack on transparency or freedom of information, despite what critics may argue,” added Representative McEntee.  

“I was asked to introduce this legislation by Rhode Island’s public higher education institutions, URI, RIC, and CCRI, and the reasoning behind its proposal is to ensure the freedom of research for our university and colleges’ researchers, faculty, and students.  

"Our higher education institutions are not only concerned with the amount of time that would be taken away from research by responding to records requests, but more importantly, they are concerned with protecting the intellectual property of the research being conducted as well as the privacy of the researchers and subjects.  

"Once the research is finished and published, the colleges and university have no problem responding to records requests and providing interested parties with the relevant information, but, they feel without this change in law, the work of our dedicated researchers would be compromised if they are subject to records requests before the research is complete.”