August 11, 2015

Indiana House Republicans Want Lawsuit Thrown Out

INDIANAPOLIS -- The Indiana House Republican caucus wants a lawsuit to force the release of a lawmaker’s emails related to a solar energy bill to be thrown out.  A Marion County judge heard arguments Tuesday.

The Citizens Action Coalition, Common Cause Indiana and the Washington D.C.-based Energy and Policy Institute filed a lawsuit in May under the Access to Public Records Act, or APRA, after the House GOP caucus denied them access to emails between Bedford Rep. Eric Koch and several utility companies. 

Geoffrey Slaughter, a private attorney hired by the caucus, wants the case dismissed.  He says Indiana’s Supreme Court has made it very clear the judicial branch shouldn’t interfere with legislative procedures. But William Groth, an attorney representing the groups bringing the lawsuit, says this case doesn’t involve internal House rules.

“The House, at the beginning of this session, adopted I think it’s 162 different rules and not one of them deals with the secrecy of communications or the applicability – or non-applicability – of APRA.”

Groth says the court won’t violate separation of powers by interpreting the APRA statute.  The judge did not provide a timetable for his ruling.

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