Public Access Laws
Watchdog Indiana Home Page
The Indiana Public Access Laws must be fully preserved and protected. Information about these laws, and how to use them, can be found at the websites listed next.
Handbook On Indiana's Public Access Laws
Public Access Counselor
Public Records Access Sample Letter
Public Records And Public Meetings (Indiana Code)
Indiana Coalition for Open Government
(House Bill 1083 would have exempted just about everything done by General Assembly members from the state's Public Access Laws. The Governor's veto of HB 1083 was upheld by the Indiana House of Representatives on March 13, 2002.)
E-MAIL SENT TO ALL INDIANA GENERAL ASSEMBLY MEMBERS ON MARCH 13, 2002:
Please preserve and protect the Indiana Public Access Laws by voting NO and upholding Governor O’Bannon’s veto of Indiana House Bill 1083, which would exempt Indiana General Assembly members from the state’s open records laws.
Every provision of HB 1083, with the exception of the provision for extending the collective bargaining exception to all governing bodies, is objectionable.
Section 31 of the Bill of Rights in the Indiana Constitution states
"No law shall restrain any of the inhabitants of the State from …
instructing their representatives; nor from applying to the General Assembly
for redress of grievances." There is absolutely no mention of privacy
rights anywhere in the Indiana Constitution. Indiana citizens have no right to
privacy when they express opinions on political matters to their elected
There is absolutely no mention of privacy rights anywhere in the United States Constitution. Indiana citizens have no First Amendment right to privacy when they share their political opinions with their elected officials.
According to Indiana Code 5-14-3-1, "all persons are entitled to full and complete information regarding the affairs of government and the official acts of those who represent them as public officials and employees." Political thoughts shared with elected officials are affairs of government that may impact official state acts, and as such they must be freely available to all citizens for the greatest public good.
One State Representative has stated "There are also logistical matters to consider. If the E-mail you sent me today is a public record, how long am I required to keep it, and where must it be stored? What about junk E-mail? My daily updates from the IBJ? Is every piece of snail mail that I receive either at the statehouse or here at home, addressed to me as a member of the general assembly, a public record? Even the form letters and solicitations? Even the reports from state agencies that are already public records in another state office? If so, we're going to have to buy a warehouse to store it all in."
Indiana’s Access to Public Records law has been in place since 1983.
These types of storage and maintenance questions have, in general, been
satisfactorily dealt with. In any case, storage and maintenance concerns
certainly do not justify completely exempting the General Assembly from the
Access to Public Records law.
It would be an extreme disappointment if a privacy right was concocted to limit public access to any political thought shared with an elected official that might impact official state acts. The Governor’s veto of HB 1083 should not be overridden.
P.S. Your veto override vote on HB 1083 will be recorded in the Watchdog Indiana Legislative Voting Record, which can be found online at http://www.finplaneducation.net/legislative_voting_record.htm
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This page was last updated on 03/04/14.