As expected, a pair Democratic lawmakers in the Senate and Assembly on Thursday announced they had introduced legislation that would create an email retention policy for state government.

The measure is part of an effort to block Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration from implementing a policy of deleting emails after 90 days.

The bill is backed by Democratic Sen. Liz Krueger and Assemblyman Daniel O’Donnell, both of Manhattan.

“With growing numbers of New Yorkers losing faith in our democratic process, it’s more important than ever that we shine a bright light on Albany,” Krueger said in a statement. “The people of New York are our bosses, and they must have access to the resources and information they need to hold their elected officials accountable. This bill provides a rational, comprehensive, 21st century approach to retaining all forms of communication, including email, and I look forward to working with my legislative colleagues and the Governor to make sure we get this right.”

The proposal is based on the federal government’s email retention policy and would create standards for permanent preservation of records generated by statewide public officials, state lawmakers and those in senior agency positions.

The emails would be preserved for at least seven years.

“There should never be an expiration date on accountability,” O’Donnell said. “The FOIL process and litigation take time, and we may not know for months — perhaps even years — if some emails may be critical to such proceedings. Senator Krueger’s and my bill to maintain emails for more lengthy and reasonable periods of time would spark a real effort to increase transparency and accountability. I look forward to working with Senator Krueger and my colleagues in the Assembly to pass this bill.”

The bill is just one of several measures introduced this week in response to the email policy which has been criticized by open government and transparency advocates.

Meanwhile, Bronx Democratic Assemblyman Jeff Dinowitz introduced legislation that would set a seven-year minimum for email retention and require officials to use government addresses for emails, not personal ones.

Republican Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin will introduce similar legislation with a seven-year timetable as well.

The email policy dates back to at least 2007, when Eliot Spitzer was governor and Cuomo was in the attorney general’s office and has been carried over under incumbent Eric Schneiderman.

Former aides to Spitzer, however, questioned the claim advanced by Cuomo’s office that emails were deleting during that time, noting that messages were not discarded forever.

The bill would subject the state Legislature to the state’s Freedom of Information Law, which Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie this week expressed
doubt over whether it should apply to state lawmakers.

“There are certain things that are under the legislative guise that should be protected,” Heastie said, “and I do believe in that.”