Governor vetoes House Bill 1022
Observer Staff Report | Thursday, March 24, 2016
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence vetoed a bill today that would give private university police departments different standards for public records than public police departments.
House Bill 1022, introduced by State Rep. Patrick Bauer (D-South Bend) in January, would have changed state law to require private university police departments to release records relating only to arrests and incarcerations.
“Throughout my public career, I have long believed in the public’s right to know and a free and independent press,” Pence said in a written statement. “Limiting access to police records in a situation where private university police departments perform a government function is a disservice to the public and an unnecessary barrier to transparency.”
Today was the last day for Pence to sign or veto the bill; otherwise, it would have become a law without his signature.
The bill was approved by a unanimous vote in the House and a 49-to-1 vote in the Senate. Throughout the bill’s legislative process, a high-profile lawsuit between ESPN and Notre Dame over access to the University’s private police records has been unfolding.
The Indiana Court of Appeals ruled in favor of ESPN on March 15, finding Notre Dame Security Police (NDSP) a public agency subject to public record laws and reversing the decision of the trial court. The case was remanded to the trial court to determine what types of records NDSP will be required to produce under Indiana’s Access to Public Records Act (APRA).
“While House Enrolled Act 1022 provides for limited disclosure of records from private university police departments, it would limit the application of the Access to Public Records Act following the Court of Appeals decision and result in less disclosure, therefore I have decided to veto the bill. Hoosiers may be assured that my administration will always be vigilant to preserve government accountability and the public’s right to know,” Pence said in the statement.