A bill in the Rhode Island Senate could make the emails of state officials a public record.
Three of Rhode Island's top four lawmakers and Gov. Gina Raimondo denied a recent request by The Associated Press to disclose a week's worth of emails.
Democratic House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello, Democratic Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed and Republican Minority Leader Brian Newberry all said it would create a chilling effect if constituents knew their emails were not confidential.
Lawmakers can voluntarily disclose emails but only Republican Senate Minority Leader Dennis Algiere did so in response to AP's request.
A Senate bill backed by open government advocates would make elected officials' emails public unless the communications have nothing to do with official functions or influence.