Keep Public Records Public: Reject HEA 1523

This petition made change with 150 supporters!

House Enrolled Act 1523 has been passed by both houses of the Indiana General Assembly and will soon be headed to Gov. Eric Holcomb. The bill will allow public agencies to charge a search fee of up to $20/hour for records searches that take longer than two hours.

The Indiana Coalition for Open Government believes the main result of such a fee will be a reduction in government transparency.

  • First, our taxes have already paid for public records, and the Access to Public Records Act is designed to provide broad access to records so that citizens can monitor the activities of public officials and agencies.
  • Second, supporters of this bill have not shown that public records requests are posing a financial hardship on public agencies. The legislature's own fiscal impact report noted that "there are no data relating to public records searches or search times."
  • And third, we believe this language will give agencies a dangerous legal tool to drag their feet in responding to requests for public records.

In short, this bill represents an attack on government transparency and public accountability. For more information about the bill, check out the statement released by the Society of Professional Journalists, a blog post by ICOG President Zachary Baiel and a blog post by ICOG's Immediate Past President, Gerry Lanosga.

Please join us in telling Gov. Holcomb that HEA 1523 is unnecessary and unreasonable. The governor should veto this bill the same way former Gov. Mike Pence vetoed it in 2015. Let's keep public records public in Indiana!

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