Indiana Senate passes House Bill 1022
Observer Staff Report | Wednesday, March 2, 2016
The Indiana Senate passed a bill on Tuesday to change state law surrounding the extent to which private university police departments are required to make their records available to the public.
House Bill 1022 was approved in the Senate by a 49-to-1 vote, according to the Indiana General Assembly’s website. The bill will return to the House, where it was approved unanimously on Jan. 26, for further consideration of an amendment proposed by Sen. Sue Glick (R-LaGrange) and passed by the Senate.
Police departments at private universities in Indiana are currently not required to disclose the same range of records as public police departments. In its original state, the bill would require private university police departments to release records relating to arrests and incarcerations to the public.
The amendment changed the bill to give individuals employed by educational institutions as police officers the same statutory immunities granted to a state police officer. It also redefined the situations in which a private university’s police department must make its records available to the public.
Glick said the amendment will likely address criticism that the bill does not require private university police departments to disclose enough information, according to the South Bend Tribune.
State Rep. Patrick Bauer (D-South Bend), co-author of the bill, said in a previous interview with The Observer the purpose of the bill is to require university police departments to be more transparent with their public records. If passed, the bill would apply to Notre Dame Security Police (NDSP), the University’s private police force.
In January 2015, ESPN filed a lawsuit against the University after NDSP refused to grant an ESPN reporter access to campus police records related to student-athletes. The case, ruled in Notre Dame’s favor by the St. Joseph Superior Court, was appealed by ESPN. Attorneys from both parties presented their oral arguments in the Indiana Court of Appeals on Wednesday and expect a ruling to be issued soon.
Bauer, a Notre Dame alumnus, said the bill is not a direct result of the ESPN lawsuit. Rather, he said the bill stems from concerns raised by Indiana citizens, including many Notre Dame graduates.