HSPA is again supporting public access legislation that originated with discussions with Speaker of the House Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis.

H.B. 1306, authored by State Rep. Bill Friend, R-Macy, changes the Access to Public Records Act in two ways.

It gives the option to a records requester to have an electronic record delivered in that format (Word document or Excel spreadsheet, for examples). Current law gives the agency the option to require the requester to drive to the office and get a paper copy.

It creates a search fee if a voluminous records request requires more than two hours of search time to find the records. HSPA worked with Bosma to determine the parameters of the search fee provision.

HSPA testified in favor of the bill before the House Government and Regulatory Affairs Committee, chaired by State Rep. Kevin Mahan, R-Hartford City. The bill was approved by the committee, 11-0, and the House, 86-8.

The sponsor is State Sen. Travis Holdman, R-Markle. The bill was assigned to the Senate Local Government Committee, chaired by State Sen. Randy Head, R-Logansport. Head said he was “leaning” toward giving H.B. 1306 a hearing.

Other public access legislation that HSPA is following includes:

H.B. 1347, authored by State Rep. Peggy Mayfield, R-Martinsville, included a provision to allow county clerks to keep certain records in electronic format only if the public had electronic access to those records.

HSPA suggested an amendment to clarify that the public could inspect and obtain an electronic copy of a document, but not necessarily remotely. Mayfield successfully offered the amendment in the House Court and Criminal Code Committee.

The bill was approved by the committee and the full House 89-0.

The sponsor is State Sen. Brent Steele, R-Bedford. It was assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

S.B. 261 and H.B. 1196, authored respectively by State Sen. Brandt Hershman, R-Buck Creek, and State Rep. Randy Truitt, R-Lafayette, would allow construction manager proposals for public projects.

HSPA suggested an amendment to ensure that records concerning the awarding of subcontracts would be available for inspection and copying by the public.

Both Hershman and Truitt accepted it.

S.B. 261 was approved by the Senate Commerce, Economic Development and Technology Committee and the full Senate 48-0. H.B. 1196 was approved by the House Employment, Labor and Pensions Committee and the full House 58-38.

Sponsors of S.B. 261 will be Truitt and State Rep. Tim Brown, R-Crawfordsville. State Sen. Brandt Hershman will sponsor H.B. 1196.

S.B. 261 was assigned to the House Employment, Labor & Pensions Committee, chaired by State Rep. Doug Gutwein, R-Francesville. H.B. 1196 was assigned to the Senate Commerce, Economic Development & Technology Committee, chaired by State Sen. Jim Buck, R-Kokomo.

S.B. 118, authored by State Sen. Pete Miller, R-Avon, would require redevelopment commissions to get approval of any financial obligations involving public funds by the appropriate county or city council.

HSPA testified in favor of this legislation as an improvement on government transparency of the activities of redevelopment commissions.

The bill was passed out of the Senate Tax & Fiscal Policy Committee and the full Senate by a 48-0 vote. The sponsors are State Reps. Tim Brown, R-Crawfordsville, and Steve Braun, R-Zionsville.

H.B. 1042, authored by State Rep. Milo Smith, R-Columbus, will allow school districts to attach cameras to school buses to catch and fine drivers who ignore stop signs when children board or exit a bus. HSPA suggested an amendment to delete a provision making the photos secret. Smith agreed, and the language became part of the bill in its House Roads & Transportation Committee.

It was approved by the full House 72-22. State Sen. Greg Walker, R-Columbus, is the sponsor. The bill was assigned to the Senate Education and Career Development Committee, chaired by State Sen. Dennis Kruse, R-Auburn.

S.B. 208, authored by State Sen. Greg Walker, R-Columbus, would allow the state attorney general to keep confidential certain information about individuals who have unclaimed property.

HSPA doesn’t object to the concept but suggested to Deputy Attorney General Matt Light that the provision not be placed in the Access to Public Records Act but rather in statutes involving unclaimed property.

The bill was passed by the full Senate 48-0. Its House sponsors are State Reps. Bob Heaton, R-Terre Haute, and John Price, R-Greenwood. The bill was assigned to the House Judiciary Committee, chaired by State Rep. Greg Steuerwald, R-Danville.

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