NewsPublic Affairs / May 19, 2016

Advocacy Groups Ask Indiana Supreme Court To Reconsider Public Records Ruling

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stock photo

Citizen advocacy groups want the Indiana Supreme Court to reconsider its ruling in a case involving the House Republican caucus and the state’s public records law. 

The groups filed a lawsuit last year to gain access to emails between a House Republican lawmaker and utility companies.  Indiana’s public records law, or APRA, says legislative “work product” isn’t subject to an open records request, but doesn’t define “work product.”  The state Supreme Court last month ruled that while APRA does apply to the General Assembly, the Court can’t force the legislature to disclose emails. 

See the Amicus Brief

Attorney for the advocacy groups, William Groth said he thinks the effects of the court’s ruling are far-reaching enough to merit a second look.

“The Indiana Supreme Court, in its decision in this case, has essentially adopted this very broad non-interference rule, which essentially renders all the activities of the legislative branch off-limits to judicial review,” Groth said.

He said the stakes of the case have been heightened since the governor’s office used the court’s ruling to justify denying a public records request.  Still, he says he’s not optimistic the Supreme Court will change its mind.

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