The following is an update from the Hoosier State Press Association and is provided as informational, not as an endorsement of their positions on these bills.
Legislative update for ICOG – Feb. 16
Following are bills that the Hoosier State Press Association, which represents the state’s paid-circulation newspapers, has identified that impact the ability of the public to know what state and local government is doing or contemplating. There are three statutes that are the pillars supporting government transparency:
- The Open Door Law (I.C. 5-14-1.5) – This statute requires governing bodies of state and local government to meet in public sessions so Hoosiers can observe and record, with some exceptions outlined.
- The Access to Public Records Act (I.C. 5-14-3) – This statute requires state and local government units to make its records available for copying and inspection, with some exceptions.
- The Public Notice Advertising Law (I.C. 5-3-1) – This statute outlines the rules when the General Assembly has determined that certain information is so important to share with Hoosiers that it requires state or local government units, or sometimes citizens, to publish the information in local newspapers as a paid public notice.
2018 General Assembly
Open Door Law
H.B. 1258 – This bill does two things. First it adds clarifying language to help county commissioners determine what they can discuss in “administrative functions” meetings. These meetings are open to the public, but do not require 48-hours notice.
The concept is to allow the three-headed county executive the opportunity to meet with staff, department heads, etc., in a similar fashion as a mayor, who would not be subject to the Open Door Law. Current law outlines items that cannot be done by commissioners in this type of meeting, but gives no direction as to what can be done.
The second item is making it clear in the Access to Public Records Act that the public has the right to electronic versions of public records (Excel, Adobe, Word, etc.) in that fashion. Current law gives the public he right to a copy, but allows the government unit the choice as to whether you get an electronic version through email or a paper copy the requester has to pick up at the government office.
Bill author is Rep. Mike Karickhoff, R-Kokomo.
HSPA supports H.B. 1258. The bill died due to confusion over committee assignment which led to it not getting a hearing. Rep. Karickhoff hopes to amend what he believes is uncontroversial language into S.B. 392 authored by Rep. Rick Niemeyer, R-Lowell. The bill has been assigned to the House Local Government Committee, chaired by Rep. Dennis Zent, R-Angola. Rep. Zent has indicated he will give the bill a hearing in his committee on Thursday, Feb. 22
Access to Public Records Act
No active bills.
Public Notice Advertising
No active bills.