A Marion County judge says the House Republican caucus doesn’t have to make lawmaker emails public under Indiana’s open records law.
Citizen advocacy groups and an energy institute filed a lawsuit against the House GOP caucus and Bedford Representative Eric Koch in April after the caucus refused to hand over Koch’s emails involving a solar energy bill. House Republicans argued that the state’s Access to Public Records Act, or APRA, doesn’t apply to them, while groups such as the Citizens Action Coalition say it should.
But Marion County Judge James Osborn dismissed the case in a preliminary stage, on the grounds that the judicial branch can’t interfere with internal legislative matters. Coalition executive director Kerwin Olson called the judge’s decision surprising and frustrating.
“We believe this is an incredibly important issue that gets at the core of accountability and transparency in government and how we’re writing our policies, which is motivation for appealing this to a higher court because we believe this is an issue that merits discussion," Olson said.
Olson said he and the other groups would review the judge’s ruling with their attorneys and decide whether to appeal…though he said an appeal is likely.