Social Media Records in Nebraska

Nebraska Public Records Statutes & Social Media

Social media records in Nebraska are governed by the Nebraska Public Records Statutes. Under the statutes, “public records are broadly defined, and the scope of the bodies covered is also wide.” Nebraska, like many other states, has future-proofed their public records law by defining records based on content, “regardless of physical form”.

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Excerpt from Nebraska Public Records Statutes

C. Neb. Rev. Stat. § 84-712.01 defines public records for purposes of the Public Records Statutes. Under that section, except where other statutes expressly provide that a record shall not be made public, public records are all records and documents, regardless of physical form, of or belonging to the state and its various political subdivisions, departments, boards, and commissions. Under this definition, public records are broadly defined, and the scope of the bodies covered is also wide. Data which is a public record in its original form remains so when maintained in a computer.

Definition of Public Record

C. Neb. Rev. Stat. § 84-712.01 defines public records for purposes of the Public Records Statutes. Under that section, except where other statutes expressly provide that a record shall not be made public, public records are all records and documents, regardless of physical form, of or belonging to the state and its various political subdivisions, departments, boards, and commissions. Under this definition, public records are broadly defined, and the scope of the bodies covered is also wide. Data which is a public record in its original form remains so when maintained in a computer.

1. History. Prior to 1979, there was no definition of public record with respect to § 84-712, and other statutory definitions and statements from case law in other contexts were used to provide a definition. See 1975-76 Rep. Att’y Gen. 289 (Opinion No. 208, dated March 18, 1976); 1963-64 Rep. Att’y Gen. 203 (Opinion No. 121, dated August 27, 1963). In 1979, LB 86 was passed specifically to provide a definition of public record for the Public Records Statutes. See Introducer’s Statement of Purpose, LB 86, 86th Nebraska Legislature, First Session (1979).

2. The intent of LB 86 in 1979 was to require that all documents of public bodies be public records unless another statute expressly provided otherwise or unless those documents fell under one of the exceptions listed later in the bill. [Those exceptions are codified at Neb. Rev. Stat. § 84-712.05]. Hearing on the Government, Military and Veterans’ Affairs Committee on LB 86, 86th Nebraska Legislature, Second Session (1979) at 4.

3. The reference to “data” in the last sentence of the definition of public record found in § 84-712.01 shows that the Legislature intended public records to include a public body’s component information, not just its completed reports or documents. Evertson v. City of Kimball, 278 Neb. 1, 767 N.W.2d 751 (2009).

4. The broad language found in § 84-712.01 which defines public records as records “of or belonging to” a public body includes any documents or records that a public body is entitled to possess, regardless of whether the public body takes possession. Evertson v. City of Kimball, 278 Neb. 1, 767 N.W.2d 751 (2009). The public’s right to access particular records does not depend on where those records are physically located. Id.

Nebraska Social Media Records Management in Practice

The State of Nebraska has a social media policy for all who participate in social media on behalf of the state that clearly states that social media records in Nebraska are public records subject to disclosure under the law.

View State of Nebraska's Social Media Policy

Excerpt from: Nebraska State Social Media Policy

1. Purpose

The purpose of this document is to provide guidelines for the use of social media by state government agencies. Agencies may utilize these guidelines as a component of agency policy development for sanctioned participation using Social Media services, or simply as guidelines. State employees or contractors creating or contributing to blogs, microblogs, wikis, social networks, or any other kind of social media both on and off the Nebraska.gov domain need to be made aware of these guidelines or the guidelines of their agency. The State expects all who participate in social media on behalf of the State, to understand and to follow the appropriate guidelines. These guidelines will evolve as new technologies and social networking tools emerge.

4. All interactive communications made on this Social Media tool are subject to the state public records disclosure requirements.

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ArchiveSocial in Nebraska

If you would like to speak with one of the cities, counties, or agencies in Nebraska that are currently using ArchiveSocial to meet Nebraska Public Records Statutes requirements, or would like to learn more about how your social media can comply with the law, just use the button below to get in touch.

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