Indiana Senate Passes Hourly Fee for Public Records Searches

he Indiana Senate has approved a bill allowing government agencies to charge $20 per hour for public records requests that take more than two hours to complete.

The measure by Republican Rep. Kathy Richardson of Noblesville passed the Senate on a 44-3 vote Wednesday.

Under the proposal, the first two hours would not be billed. After that, hours spent working to complete the request would come with a bill that's the lesser of $20 per hour or the hourly wage of the employee completing the search.

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IN: Text messages conducting official business are public record even if sent on private phone

Indiana Public Access Counselor Luke H. Britt sent a letter to the City of South Bend's legal department advising that any public business conducted in writing, irrespective of medium, is considered public record.  The department inquired for Britt's advice clarifying Indiana's Access to Public Records Act as it pertains to text messages.

The entirety of the letter can be found here.

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Indiana Supreme Court considers whether private university police records should be open to public

Should police departments operated by private universities in Indiana be subject to the same open records requirements that apply to state, county and municipal police agencies?

The five justices of the Indiana Supreme Court wrestled with that question during 45 minutes of oral arguments Tuesday as the University of Notre Dame urged the high court to continue allowing it to keep secret all campus police records, especially those pertaining to student athletes.

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New Indiana Supreme Court ruling hurting government transparency, attorneys say

An Indiana Supreme Court decision is already having a negative impact on government transparency and access to records, just days after it was handed down, according to several Indianapolis attorneys.

On April 19, the Indiana Supreme Court effectively ruled state lawmakers can continue to withhold their email communications from public disclosure, including emails with constituents and lobbyists.

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Indiana bill to allow the withholding of body camera footage advances

A legislative proposal allowing Indiana law enforcement agencies to withhold video from police body cameras is advancing unchanged.

The Indiana House rejected on a voice vote Monday a proposed amendment that would have judges release the video unless doing so would increase the risk of harm to someone or prejudice a court case.

Bill sponsor Republican Rep. Kevin Mahan of Hartford City argued against the change, saying he wanted a process that encourages police agencies to start using body cameras.

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Central Indiana cities launch open data portal

Some of the most common data requests central Indiana city officials field are now available in an online, searchable database. Fishers, Zionsville and Greenwood are joining Indianapolis in publishing police statistics in an online web portal.

The cities are posting records of complaints against police, law enforcement use of force and officer-involved shootings all on one website. The site — data.indy.gov — launched Monday and the other cities will follow soon.

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Indiana State Police tracking cellphones – but won’t say how or why

From Indianapolis Star: This year, the Indiana State Police paid $373,995 for a device that law enforcement personnel have described as a powerful tool in the fight against crime and terrorism.

It could allow investigators in a surveillance vehicle to park in a crowded area and track the movements of anyone nearby with a cellphone and capture the numbers of people’s incoming and outgoing calls and text messages.

All of which concerns civil liberties and open-government groups.

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State FOIA Friday for August 16, 2013

From NFOIC:  A few state FOIA and local open government news items selected from many of interest that we might or might not have drawn attention to earlier in the week. While you're at it, be sure to check out State FOIA Friday Archives.

Indy district seeks records on takeover of schools

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