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2016 Indiana General Assembly Wrap-up

Public Access

The top focus for the Hoosier State Press Association during the 2016 Indiana General Assembly was H.E.A. 1019, which establishes the rules for public access to police cruiser and body camera video.

Rarely does anyone get everything they want in legislation, and that was the case with the police camera bill this session.

Both the House and Senate passed H.E.A. 1019 unanimously. It isn’t a perfect bill from HSPA’s viewpoint, but is an improvement over current law, according to Steve Key, executive director and general counsel.

“The bill still gives law enforcement the ability to deny all requests from the public or media, but creates a mechanism where that denial may be challenged in court,” Key said. “If that happens, the burden will be on the police agency to convince the judge that the video requested should be kept confidential.” Read more »

NAA survey focuses on political advertising

A Newspaper Association of America survey reveals that newspapers are strong at reaching both liberal and conservative voters.

NAA commissioned a survey to better understand the role of local newspapers and their websites in the political process. The survey uncovers how consumers use their local community’s media resources for political information and voting decisions, according to a release from the NAA.

To download the findings and a presentation on the survey, go to naa.org. Read more »

Overtime rule change

Publishers have until December to determine the impact of a U.S. Department of Labor overtime rule and make necessary changes to personnel classifications.

The rule released May 18 doubles the salary threshold necessary for an employer to consider making an employee salaried rather than paid hourly.

On Dec. 1, the threshold will double from $23,660 to $46,476. Any employee earning less than the new yearly pay threshold must be paid overtime for work over 40 hours a week. Read more »

Report ranks states’ transparency

Indiana ranked third in an annual government spending transparency survey with an “A+” rating.

Following the Money 2016: How the 50 States Rate in Providing Online Access to Government Spending Data” is the sixth annual report of its kind by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group Education Fund.

Indiana and other states in the top four received a perfect score of 100. Read more »

Key Points: Ruling could gut access law

By Steve Key
Hoosier State Press Association

“Bad facts make bad law” goes the common legal maxim.

The repercussions of that tenet involve all three branches of state government lately.

Let’s start with an example from the legislative and judicial branches: Rep. Eric Koch (R-Bedford) and the Indiana House Republican Caucus faced a lawsuit from the Citizens Action Coalition of Indiana.

The coalition sought copies of correspondence between Koch and several businesses. The Citizens Action Coalition and Energy and Policy Institute are concerned about whether the companies unduly influenced a bill concerning solar energy.

HSPA Foundation decided to not to join Citizens Action Coalition of Indiana v. Koch – not because HSPA doesn’t agree with the cause, but because of a prior court precedent. Read more »