HSPA tackles scores of bills through end of 2021 legislative session

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In addition to the public notice bills that HSPA outlined in the May edition of The Indiana Publisher, HSPA also worked or monitored an additional 63 bills during the 2021 legislative session. Below are the bills that concerned public access under the Access to Public Records Act or Open Door Law umbrellas.

PUBLIC ACCESS
H.B. 1418 – This bill for the Indiana Economic Development Corporation eliminates public access to IEDC offers to companies that did not end up being consummated. Rep. Sharon Negele, R-Attica, was the author.

IEDC testified that its intent was to “clarify” what economic efforts should be made available to reduce litigation over the question. The clarification actually eliminates the public’s ability to know the scope of offers made when a deal falls through for whatever reason.

Rep. Negele met with HSPA and connected HSPA with the IEDC lobbyists, who were honest about their intentions.

Although IEDC representatives said it wasn’t connected, HSPA believes the legislation was prompted by a lawsuit filed by Tax Analysts, who were attempting to determine what offer was made by IEDC and Indianapolis to lure the Amazon HQ2 to Indiana.

Tax Analysts, a non-profit Washington, D.C., entity was trying to collect information on the 238 cities who were trying to land the Amazon 2 headquarters. The cities of Gary and Indianapolis were among those in the competition. Tax Analysts was able to determine that the Gary bid included $1.5 billion in incentives. IEDC declined to make available any information about the Indianapolis bid – arguing there wasn’t a “final offer” made.

The case offered an insight for the public to know what deals are being offered, even if the deal isn’t closed. First, the amount of Gary’s bid – $1.5 billion – might raise questions as to whether the city and state were offering too much for the prize of Amazon’s second headquarters. The value of the incentives equaled 8% of the state-funded portion of Indiana’s 2016 budget. It could be a bargain based on ancillary economic development expected to follow Amazon’s move or some might feel the incentives are too much compared to the benefits of winning the bid.

Because IEDC refuses to release the Indianapolis/IEDC number, it also leaves unanswered whether the IEDC incentives offered were greater for Indianapolis than what it was willing to do for Gary. Lake County residents might want to know why if it appears IEDC was favoring one Indiana city over another.

Since Tax Analysts has been able to obtain offers for 124 out of the 238 total proposals to Amazon, the release of such information desired to be kept secret by the IEDC arguably does not put Indiana at a competitive disadvantage to other states. The release would allow someone to compare Indiana’s offer to other states to consider whether Indiana is deficient in its economic development efforts or proven to be highly competitive with other states.


HSPA testified against the bill in both its House Commerce, Small Business and Economic Development Committee, chaired by Rep. Bob Morris, R-Fort Wayne; and Senate Commerce and Technology Committee, chaired by Sen. Chip Perfect, R-Lawrenceburg, hearings to no avail. The bill was passed by the House 92-3, and the Senate 47-0. It ended up in a conference committee, but the report was passed by the House, 89-3 and the Senate, 45-4. Governor Eric Holcomb signed the bill into law on April 29. The bill sponsor was Sen. Jon Ford, R-Terre Haute.

H.B. 1437 – This bill will allow members of local governing bodies to participate and vote via electronic means. It was authored by Rep. Tony Cook, R-Cicero. HSPA supported the concept, but HSPA did raise a concern for a need to have a requirement that a physical quorum be present.


That concern was answered through an amendment offered by Rep. Cook and Rep. Dave Abbott, R-Rome City, during the bill’s hearing in the House Government and Regulatory Reform Committee, chaired by Rep. Doug Miller, R-Elkhart. The amendment required at least half of the members of the governing body be physically present at a meeting.

Previous law allowed members to participate electronically in discussions of issues, but not be counted as present or be allowed to vote. The changes reflect a change in attitude after governing bodies were forced into electronic meetings to operate during the pandemic emergency.

The bill does contain some restriction on how many times a member can attend meetings electronically and the governing body must have a procedure where the public attending can see and hear those who are participating electronically. H.B. 1437 also contains a list of subjects that prohibit a vote being cast by anyone not physically present – budget approval, for example.

HSPA is concerned the prohibited list may cause confusion and testified during the bill’s conference committee that the language in S.B. 369 would be simpler to enact, but the legislature felt the list should be included.


The bill was passed by the House 86-7 and the Senate 49-0. The bill was passed out of the Senate Local Government Committee, chaired by Sen. Jim Buck R-Kokomo. Rep. Cook concurred on Senate changes and the House voted 81-6 to pass the concurrence. It was signed into law by Gov. Eric Holcomb on April 20. The bill sponsor was Sen. Linda Rogers, R-Granger.


Co-authors were Reps. Elizabeth Rowray, R-Yorktown, Carey Hamilton, D-Indianapolis; and John Bartlett, D-Indianapolis. Co-sponsors were Sens. Stacey Donato, R-Logansport; J.D. Ford, D-Carmel; and Lonnie Randolph, D-East Chicago.

S.B. 369 – A companion bill to H.B. 1437. This Senate version was authored by Sen. Linda Rogers, R-Granger. She worked with HSPA to add a requirement for a physical majority to be present at all meetings of local governing bodies.

HSPA preferred Sen. Rogers’ version because it didn’t include a list of subjects that couldn’t be voted on by members participating electronically. HSPA feels the list will cause confusion as to whether members can participate electronically if there’s a question as to whether an item on the agenda falls under the list.

The bill was passed out of the Senate Local Government Committee, chaired by Sen. Jim Buck, R-Kokomo, and the Senate, 46-0. It was passed out of the House Government and Regulatory Reform Committee, chaired by Rep. Doug Miller, R-Elkhart. The committee added the H.B. 1437 list of subjects requiring physical presence to vote. HSPA, the Indiana School Boards Association and Accelerate Indiana Municipalities all expressed concern with that addition.

S.B. 369 died for lack of a House vote after a decision had been made to move H.B. 1437, rather than S.B. 369. The sponsor was Rep. Tony Cook R-Cicero.

Co-authors were Sens. Jeff Raatz, R-Richmond; Tim Lanane, D-Anderson; Lonnie Randolph, D-East Chicago; Mike Bohacek, R-Michigan City; Jim Buck, R-Kokomo; Dennis Kruse, R-Auburn; and Jim Tomes, R-Wadesville. Co-sponsors were Rep. Elizabeth Rowray, R-Yorktown; and Doug Miller, R-Elkhart.

S.B. 68 – This bill was similar to H.B. 1437 and S.B. 369, but only impacting conservancy district boards. It was authored by Sen. Stacey Donato, R-Logansport. She explained that such boards often contain members who live elsewhere but serve on the board of districts tied to lakeside communities. These conservancy districts struggle to have a quorum present for meetings, which she believes would be alleviated by allowing electronic participation.

Sen. Donato worked with HSPA to make language compatible with language existing for airport boards, which had a similar issue.

The bill was approved by the Senate Local Government Committee, chaired by Sen. Jim Buck, R-Kokomo, and the Senate, 45-2. It was approved by the House Natural Resources Committee, chaired by Rep. Sean Eberhart, R-Shelbyville, and the House, 86-6. Gov. Eric Holcomb signed the bill into law on April 23. The sponsor was Rep. Jack Jordan, R-Bremen.

The co-author was Sen. Linda Rogers, R-Granger and co-sponsor was Rep. Jim Pressel, R-Rolling Prairie.

H.B. 1315 – This bill concerned electronic meetings of government entities. It was authored by Rep. Mike Andrade, D-Munster. HSPA would have opposed this bill because it freed governing body members from any requirement to be physically present at any public meeting.
The bill died without a hearing in the House Government and Regulatory Reform Committee chaired by Rep. Doug Miller, R-Elkhart.

H.B. 1123 – This is the bill that gives the state legislature the ability to step into the fray if it doesn’t like the governor’s use of an emergency declaration. It was authored by Rep. Matt Lehman, R-Berne. During the bill’s hearing in the Senate Rules and Legislative Procedure Committee, chaired by Sen. Rod Bray, R-Martinsville, language was added to give a newly created legislative advisory committee the ability to meet in secret. HSPA opposes the concept of having a committee meet in secrecy when it’s discussing an override of an emergency order. HSPA made its concern known to the four caucus leaders, but no change was made in the language. The bill sponsor was Sen. Sue Glick, R-LaGrange.

The Senate passed H.B. 1123, 39-10, after it was moved by the Senate committee. It had previously been approved by the House Rules and Legislative Procedures Committee, chaired by Rep. Dan Leonard, R-Huntington, and the House, 69-27.

The bill ended up in a conference committee, whose report was approved by the House, 63-33, and the Senate, 37-10. Gov. Eric Holcomb vetoed the bill on April 9, arguing that the bill was unconstitutional. The House overrode the veto, 59-26, as did the Senate, 36-8. Ironically, the votes were primarily split on party lines with the Democrats supporting the Governor’s position while Republican legislators voted for the bill.

H.B. 1123 is now in the courts as Gov. Holcomb seeks to have it declared unconstitutional. Attorney General Todd Rokita has also intervened – questioning whether the governor can file the lawsuit without his office’s OK to hire outside counsel.

H.B. 1006 – This bill authored by Rep. Greg Steuerwald, R-Danville, addresses transparency of police actions following last summer’s social justice protests. HSPA had made some suggestions prior to the session to caucus leadership on opening up the disciplinary process for police officers, but those suggestions were not included in this legislation.

The bill does require police officers receive training on de-escalation tactics, established a procedure to decertify an officer for misconduct, makes it a misdemeanor for an officer to inappropriately turn off a body camera, and restricts the use of chokeholds, and requires law enforcement agencies to request a candidate’s employment records before making a hire.

Rep. Steuerwald did add language recommended by HSPA to include hospital and private university police departments to the bill when the bill had its House Courts and Criminal Code Committee hearing, chaired by Rep. Wendy McNamara, R-Evansville.

The bill had support from both the law enforcement advocates and civil rights advocates. It was passed in the House, 96-0, and in the Senate, 49-0, after approval by the Senate Corrections and Criminal Law Committee, chaired by Sen. Mike Young, R-Indianapolis, who was also the bill sponsor. It was signed into law by Gov. Eric Holcomb on April 1.

S.B. 78 – This bill would give hospital police departments authority to act off the premises of their hospital properties. HSPA approached author Sen. Mike Crider, R-Greenfield, about requiring private hospital police departments to report activity in a similar fashion to other police departments. Sen. Crider was supportive. HSPA negotiated language with the Indiana Hospital Association, but we were unable to reach an agreement with them before the bill died for lack of a House floor vote. The sponsor was Rep. Mike Karickhoff, R-Kokomo.

Crider’s bill had been approved by the Senate Homeland Security and Transportation committee chaired by him. The Senate approved the bill, 37-12. It was then approved by the House Veterans Affairs and Public Safety Committee, chaired by Rep. Randy Frye, R-Greensburg.

S.B. 110 – This bill would have created a law enforcement officer misconduct data base. It was authored by Sen. Eddie Melton, D-Gary. HSPA had a concern about access to certain records declared confidential in the bill. HSPA gave Sen. Melton a suggested amendment.

The bill meandered through the Senate Rules and Legislative Procedure Committee, chaired by Sen. Rod Bray, R-Martinsville and the Senate Corrections and Criminal Law Committee, chaired by Sen. Mike Young, R-Indianapolis, before it died in the Senate Appropriations Committee, chaired by Sen. Ryan Mishler, R-Bremen.

H.B. 1502 – Authored by Rep. Vanessa Summers, D-Indianapolis, this bill concerned police misconduct complaint processes. HSPA had a concern with access to records, but the bill died without a hearing in the House Veterans Affairs and Public Safety Committee chaired by Rep. Randy Frye, D-Greensburg, before HSPA could discuss its issue with Rep. Summers.

S.B. 308 – This bill concerned certification of law enforcement officers. It was authored by Sen. Greg Taylor, D-Indianapolis. HSPA wanted to add private hospital police to the bill’s requirements, but the bill died for lack of a hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee, chaired by Sen. Liz Brown, R-Fort Wayne.

S.B. 62 – This bill concerned prescription drug rebates and pricing. It was authored by Sen. Vaneta Becker, R-Evansville. It contained language that would require terms of a contract between insurers and pharmaceutical companies be confidential by law.

HSPA reached out to Sen. Becker and testified before the Senate Health and Provider Services Committee chaired by Sen. Ed Charbonneau, R-Valparaiso, that it would be an unusual step for the state to set terms on a contract between two private parties.

The committee moved the bill and Sen. Becker removed the provision that concerned HSPA with a 2nd reading amendment. The bill died for lack of a final vote in the Senate.

H.B. 1483 – This bill concerned the grain indemnity fund and was authored by Rep. Craig Snow, R-Warsaw. HSPA reached out to Rep. Snow with a question about the need for confidentiality for certain records. He was able to explain that such confidentiality would prevent potential runs on the fund if certain allegations came to light before there was an opportunity for the state to fully investigate the situation, which satisfied HSPA’s concern.


The bill was passed by the House, 92-0 and the Senate, 46-3. Snow concurred on the Senate tweaks to the bill and the House voted on the concurrence, 81-0. Gov. Eric Holcomb signed the bill into law on April 29. The sponsor was Sen. Jean Leising, R-Oldenburg.

H.B. 1070 – This bill concerned police department budgets. It was authored by Rep. Randy Frye, R-Greensburg. HSPA would have supported this bill, but it died without a hearing in the House Veterans Affairs and Public Safety Committee, chaired by Rep. Frye.

H.B. 1015 – Authored by Rep. Carolyn Jackson, D-Hammond, this bill would have created a law enforcement officer misconduct data base. HSPA would have supported this effort, but the bill died without a hearing while assigned to the House Veterans Affairs and Public Safety Committee, chaired by Rep. Frye, R-Greensburg.

H.B. 1062 – This bill authored by Rep. Cherrish Pryor, D-Indianapolis, addressed racial profiling. HSPA had a concern with provisions making confidential from public view body camera footage of incidents where racial profiling had been alleged and certain records to be shared with the state Attorney General related to profiling.

The bill died for lack of a hearing in the House Veterans Affairs and Public Safety Committee, chaired by Rep. Randy Frye, R-Greensburg, before HSPA could talk to Rep. Pryor.

H.B. 1502 – This bill focused on police misconduct complaint processes. HSPA had a concern with a confidentiality provision covering complaints of misconduct filed with a police department. Before HSPA could talk to bill author Rep. Vanessa Summers, the bill died for lack of a hearing in the House Veterans Affairs and Public Safety Committee, chaired by Rep. Randy Frye, R-Greensburg.

H.B. 1066 – Authored by Rep. John Bartlett, D-Indianapolis, this bill would require Indiana State Police investigations into the use of force by law enforcement agencies. HSPA had a question about the public’s ability to obtain the results of such investigations.
Before HSPA could talk to Rep. Bartlett, the bill died without a hearing in the House Veterans Affairs and Public Safety Committee, chaired by Rep. Randy Frye, R-Greensburg.

H.B. 1297 – Authored by Rep. Vernon Smith, D-Gary, this bill focused on citizen review boards for law enforcement agencies. HSPA had a question concerning a provision allowing the review boards to hold all proceedings behind closed doors.

Before HSPA could talk to Rep. Smith, the bill died without a hearing in the House Veterans Affairs and Public Safety Committee, chaired by Rep. Randy Frye, R-Greensburg.

H.B. 1365 – This was an election law bill authored by Rep. Tim Wesco, R-Osceola, for Secretary of State Connie Lawson. HSPA raised a concern with language requiring poll watchers to be registered voters as an unnecessary restriction on media ability to report on elections during testimony in the House Elections and Apportionment Committee, chaired by Rep. Wesco.

Wesco connected HSPA with Brandon Clifton and Andrew Lang in Lawson’s office. Clifton and Lang suggested changing the language to require watchers be U.S. citizens. The concern the office had was with agents of foreign countries using a media credential to gain access to the process. HSPA agreed to the change with an additional waiver that the Secretary of State could apply to foreign exchange students who might be doing freelance work for newspapers.

The bill was amended by Wesco and passed by his committee. The House approved the bill, 82-13. The bill was approved by the Senate Elections Committee, chaired by Sen. Jon Ford, R-Terre Haute, who was the bill’s sponsor; and the Senate, 48-1. It ended up in a conference committee. The committee report was passed by the House, 85-2, and the Senate, 49-0. Gov. Eric Holcomb signed the bill on April 29.

H.B. 1357 – Authored by Rep. Tim Wesco, R-Osceola, this bill was focused on straight party-line voting in an election, but it also included the elimination of a requirement that the state Alcohol and Tobacco Commission give circuit court clerks a registry of permits. HSPA was concerned about the availability of the information, but Rep. Wesco assured HSPA that it would still be available through the state ATC.


Wesco did amend the language out of H.B. 1357, but he let everyone know it would be included in S.B. 260.

H.B. 1357 was approved by the House Elections and Apportionment Committee, chaired by Wesco, and the House, 67-27. It was approved by the Senate Elections Committee, chaired by Sen. Jon Ford, R-Terre Haute, who was the bill sponsor. The bill died for lack of a final floor vote in the Senate.

S.B. 260 – This bill became the home of language concerning the elimination of a required registry of alcohol permits that the state Alcohol and Tobacco Commission gives circuit court clerks. It also eliminated a requirement for the ATC to give those clerks notice of ATC hearings.

Sen. Greg Walker, R-Columbus, authored this circuit court clerks bill. His staff explained to HSPA that the notices were “archaic” and clerks report little to no requests to them for the information, which remains available through the ATC. This satisfied HSPA’s initial concern.

The bill was approved by the Senate Elections Committee, chaired by Sen. Jon Ford, R-Terre Haute, and the Senate, 32-14. The House Elections and Apportionment Committee, chaired by Rep. Tim Wesco, R-Osceola, who also was the bill sponsor, passed the bill along with the House, 58-36. The Senate concurred, 37-11, and Gov. Eric Holcomb signed the bill into law on April 23.

S.B. 416 – Authored by Sen. Jon Ford, R-Terre Haute, this bill concerned certificates of public advantage for hospital mergers. During the bill’s hearing in the Senate Health and Provider Services Committee hearing, chaired by Sen. Ed Charbonneau, HSPA testified on its concern with language that would allow a hospital to determine what records it included would be confidential. HSPA suggested a small amendment to fix the issue. Sen. Vaneta Becker, R-Evansville, asked Sen. Ford about the HSPA suggestion and he said he would consider it. Proponents of the bill signed off on the HSPA amendment and it was incorporated by Ford into the bill before its committee passage.

The bill was approved by the Senate, 47-0. The sponsor was Rep. Alan Morrison, R-Brazil. The House Public Health Committee, chaired by Rep. Brad Barrett, R-Richmond, approved the bill along with the House, 94-3. The Senate concurred with House changes, 42-0, and Gov. Eric Holcomb signed the bill on April 22.

H.B. 1224 – Authored by Rep. Sean Eberhart, R-Shelbyville, this bill would have legalized smokable hemp flower and changed the law concerning hemp production. HSPA raised a concern with a section of the bill that would have made confidential a modified retail certificate for the sale of the hemp flower product. The issue was resolved when Rep. Jake Teshka, R-South Bend, offered a successful amendment to eliminate the retail certificate language during the bill’s hearing before the House Commerce Small Business and Economic Development Committee, chaired by Rep. Bob Morris, R-Fort Wayne.

The bill was approved by its committee and by the House, 69-28. It died in the Senate for lack of a hearing in the Senate Commerce and Technology Committee, chaired by Sen. Chip Perfect, R-Lawrenceburg. The Senate sponsor was Sen. Mark Messmer, R-Jasper.

S.B. 273 – Authored by Sen. Mark Messmer, R-Jasper, this bill mirrored H.B. 1224 (legalization of smokable hemp flower and hemp production law modifications). HSPA was concerned with the same public records provision that was found in H.B. 1224.


Before HSPA could talk to Sen. Messmer, the bill died for lack of a hearing in the Senate Commerce and Technology Committee, chaired by Sen. Chip Perfect, R-Lawrenceburg.

H.B. 1154 – This bill concerned the legalization of cannibus. It was authored by Rep. Vanessa Summers, D-Indianapolis. HSPA had a question concerning the level of confidentiality given to records of the proposed regulatory commission, but the bill died without a hearing in the House Courts and Criminal Code Committee chaired by Rep. Wendy McNamara, R-Evansville, before HSPA could take to Rep. Summers.

S.B. 225 – This bill related to a 5 Verizon G rollout and placement of cell towers. It was authored by Sen. Jon Ford, R-Terre Haute. The original language would make secret the location of cell towers as “proprietary information. HSPA met with Sen. Ford, who told HSPA that Verizon was abandoning its support of the bill – in favor of H.B. 1164 authored by Rep. Ethan Manning, R-Logansport. Rep. Manning’s bill did not include the language that concerned HSPA.

Ford did accept a suggested amendment from HSPA, but the bill died for lack of a hearing before the Senate Utilities Committee, chaired by Sen. Eric Koch, R-Bedford.

S.B. 259 – The bill addressing issues for parents with disabilities was authored by Sen. David Niezgodski, D-South Bend. Sen. Niezgodski had reached out to HSPA following the 2020 session to work on language concerning the records of the state Department of Child Services when action is taken to remove children from the home of disabled parents. HSPA supported the movement of records to the ombudsman for safekeeping rather than the originally proposed destruction of the records.

Niezgodski eliminated the ombudsman language from the bill when the interested parties agreed upon a different way to handle the records. The bill was approved by the Senate Family and Children Services Committee, chaired by Sen. Ron Grooms, R-Jeffersonville, and the Senate, 49-0. The sponsor was Rep. Ed Clere, R-New Albany. The House Family, Children, and Human Affairs Committee, chaired by Rep. Dale Devon, R-Granger, and the House, 89-0. Niezgodski concurred and the Senate approved the House version, 48-0. Gov. Eric Holcomb signed the bill on April 29.

S.B. 189 – Authored by Sen. Greg Taylor, D-Indianapolis, this bill concerned the White River State Park Commission. HSPA would have supported the bill because it included a provision making records relating to negotiations between the commission and industrial, research, or commercial prospects as available for public inspection after the negotiations between the commission and prospect were terminated, but the bill died without a hearing in the Senate Public Policy Committee chaired by Sen. Ron Alting, R-Lafayette.

H.B. 1047 – Authored by Rep. Jim Lucas, R-Seymour, this bill concerned education matters. The bill made secret the names of students participating in an Education Options Account Program proposed in the bill.
Before HSPA could talk to Rep. Lucas about its concern with the level of secrecy, the bill died without a hearing in the House Education Committee, chaired by Rep. Bob Behning, R-Indianapolis.

H.B. 1074 – Authored by Rep. Matt Pierce, D-Bloomington, this bill concerned end of life options. HSPA would have sought an amendment concerning a provision making records connected to required physician reports secret, but the bill died without a hearing in the House Public Health Committee, chaired by Rep. Brad Barrett, R-Richmond, before HSPA could meet with Rep. Pierce.

H.B. 1388 – Authored by Rep. Chuck Moseley, D-Portage, this bill concerned automatic traffic control mechanisms to issue speeding tickets in construction zones. HSPA had a concern with access to records related to the process. The bill died in the House Roads and Construction Committee, chaired by Rep. Jim Pressel, R-Rolling Prairie, without a hearing, before HSPA could meet with Rep. Moseley.

S.B. 41 – This was a companion bill to H.B. 1388 that was authored by Sen. Jon Ford, R-Terre Haute. HSPA reached out to Sen. Ford with a concern about the need for confidentiality of certain records. Before he responded, the bill died without a hearing in the Senate Homeland Security and Transportation Committee chaired by Sen. Mike Crider, R-Greenfield.

H.B. 1471 – Authored by Rep. Patricia Boy, D-Michigan City, this bill concerned renewable energy development. HSPA had a concern about access to certain records. Before HSPA could talk to the author, the bill died without a hearing in the House Ways and Means Committee, chaired by Rep. Tim Brown, R-Crawfordsville.

S.B. 178 – Authored by Sen. Lonnie Randolph, D-East Chicago, this bill involved a contact tracing system. HSPA had a concern with access to certain records. The bill died for lack of a hearing in the Senate Health and Provider Services Committee chaired by Sen. Ed Charbonneau, R-Valparaiso, before HSPA could talk to Sen. Randolph about its issue.

S.B. 255 – This bill concerns the expungement of public records, which HSPA opposes on principle. HSPA shared a memo outlining its opposition to expungement laws with the author Sen. Aaron Freeman, R-Indianapolis. The bill requires that a criminal history provider (This shouldn’t include newspapers) to periodically review their criminal history records for expunged convictions.

The bill was approved by the Senate Corrections and Criminal Code Committee, chaired by Sen. Mike Young, R-Indianapolis, and the Senate, 46-1. It was then approved by the House Courts and Criminal Code Committee, chaired by Rep. Wendy McNamara, R-Evansville, and the House, 89-4. Gov. Eric Holcomb signed the bill on April 15. The sponsor was Rep. John Young, R-Franklin.

S.B. 368 – This bill, authored by Sen. Karen Tallian, D-Portage, concerned juvenile justice. HSPA philosophically opposed the bill because it provides for the automatic expungement for certain court findings.

The bill was passed by the Senate Corrections and Criminal Law Committee, chaired by Sen. Mike Young, R-Indianapolis, and the Senate, 46-1. It was approved by the House Courts and Criminal Code Committee, chaired by Rep. Wendy McNamara, R-Evansville, who was the bill’s sponsor. Sen. Tallian filed a concurrence and the Senate voted in favor, 48-0. Gov. Eric Holcomb signed the bill into law on April 29.

S.B. 191 – Authored by Sen. Greg Taylor, D-Indianapolis, this bill contained a provision on the expungement of certain juvenile delinquency records that would have drawn an HSPA objection. The bill died without a hearing in the Senate Corrections and Criminal Code Committee, chaired by Sen. Mike Young, R-Indianapolis, before HSPA could meet with Sen. Taylor.

S.B. 267 – Authored by Sen. Sue Glick, R-LaGrange, this bill concerned video gaming terminals. HSPA would have objected to language making all records of applicants for a video gaming license secret. The bill died without a hearing in the Senate Public Policy Committee, chaired by Sen. Ron Alting, R-Lafayette, before HSPA could talk to Sen. Glick about its issue.

H.B. 1335 – Authored by Rep. Chris Judy, R-Fort Wayne, this bill would have changed gaming laws to allow for video gaming terminals. His bill concerned the same secrecy language as S.B. 267 for applicants for a video gaming license.

Before HSPA could meet with Rep. Judy, the bill died without a hearing in the House Public Policy Committee chaired by Rep. Ben Smaltz, R-Auburn.

S.B. 417 – This bill was about interactive gambling and authored by Sen. Jon Ford, R-Terre Haute. HSPA had an issue with language involving records of cheaters and gambling addicts, but before HSPA could talk to Sen. Ford, the bill died for lack of a hearing in the Senate Rules and Legislative Procedure Committee, chaired by Sen. Bray, R-Martinsville.

S.B. 270 – This bill was about residential landlord-tenant matters. It was authored by Sen. Eddie Melton, D-Gary. HSPA had concern with several provisions mandating confidentiality for records of eviction proceedings in a court. The bill died without a hearing in Senate Judiciary Committee, chaired by Sen. Liz Brown, R-Fort Wayne, before HSPA could meet with Sen. Melton.

S.B. 283 – This bill concerned a redistricting commission to draw boundaries for legislative districts following the census. HSPA wanted to clarify what type of notice to the public was desired in the bill, but before it could talk to author Sen. Fady Qaddoura, D-Indianapolis, the bill died with no hearing in the Senate Elections Committee, chaired by Sen. Jon Ford, R-Terre Haute.

S.B. 292 – This bill requires the state Department of Health to publish case and death data related to COVID-19 from health facilities and residential care facilities on its website. It was authored by Sen. Jean Breaux, D-Indianapolis. HSPA supported the bill, but did not take an active role in its passage. The bill was approved by the Senate Health and Provider Services Committee, chaired by Sen. Ed Charbonneau, R-Valparaiso, and the Senate, 48-0. The House Public Health Committee, chaired by Rep. Brad Barrett, R-Richmond, and the House passed the bill, 89-0. Sen. Breaux filed a concurrence and the Senate voted in favor, 50-0. Gov. Eric Holcomb signed the bill into law on April 29. The sponsor was Rep. Robin Shackleford, D-Indianapolis. Co-author was Sen. Ed Charbonneau, R-Valparaiso; and co-sponsor was Rep. Ed Clere, R-New Albany.

S.B. 397 – This bill concerned the reporting of stranded electric utility costs. It was authored by Sen. Phil Boots, R-Crawfordsville. HSPA had some questions about the scope of several confidentiality provisions concerning power purchasing contracts with REMCs. The bill died before HSPA could talk to Sen. Boots for lack of a hearing in the Senate Utilities Committee, chaired by Sen. Eric Koch, R-Bedford.

The following bills that HSPA flagged during the 2021 legislative session touched upon the First Amendment, advertising, multi-state compacts and other items, such as the state budget.

FIRST AMENDMENT
S.B. 198 – This bill, authored by Sen. Mike Young, R-Indianapolis, focuses on rioting. The language raised First Amendment concerns for both HSPA and the American Civil Liberties Union-Indiana.

HSPA discussed its concern on whether language regarding the seizure of property from people organizing rallies included an element of intent be proven before the state could act. Sen. Young said intent to commit a crime was covered in the criminal code under aiding and abetting.
The bill was approved by the Senate Corrections and Criminal Law Committee, chaired by Young, and the Senate, 37-8.

It died for lack of a hearing in the House Rules and Legislative Procedures Committee, chaired by Rep. Dan Leonard, R-Huntington. The sponsor was Rep. John Young, R-Franklin.

S.B. 34 – This bill concerned unlawful assembly and was authored by Sen. Jim Tomes, R-Wadesville. HSPA and the American Civil Liberties Union-Indiana believed the bill raised First Amendment concerns and were prepared to oppose the bill.

It died for lack of a hearing in the Senate Corrections and Criminal Law Committee, chaired by Sen. Mike Young, R-Indianapolis, before HSPA had a conversation with Sen. Tomes about the issue.

S.B. 96 – Authored by Sen. Ron Grooms, R-Jeffersonville, this bill was intended to address rioting. It raised First Amendment questions for both HSPA and the American Civil Liberties Union-Indiana.
Sen. Grooms withdrew the bill from consideration before any hearing in the Senate Corrections and Criminal Law Committee chaired by Sen. Mike Young, R-Indianapolis.

H.B. 1281 – This bill created an unlawful surveillance of another’s dwelling a crime. It was authored by Rep. Jack Jordan, R-Bremen. HSPA reached out to Indiana Broadcasters Association attorney Dan Byron to determine if the language would impact the ability of journalists to do their work.
The bill died without a hearing in the House Courts and Criminal Code Committee chaired by Rep. Wendy McNamara, R-Evansville, before HSPA or IBA could reach out to Rep. Jordan.

H.B. 1370 – This bill focused on free speech on college campuses. It included protection for student media. It was authored by Rep. J. Jordan, R-Bremen. HSPA reached out to the Indiana Collegiate Press Association for its view on the legislation and received positive feedback.
The bill died for lack of a hearing in the House Education Committee, chaired by Rep. Bob Behning, R-Indianapolis, before HSPA could act upon ICPA’s positive reaction.

H.B. 1324 – Authored by Rep. Ryan Lauer, R-Columbus, this bill concerned School employee communications. HSPA had a question about how a particular term might be interpreted, which could have defeated the purpose of the bill to protect the First Amendment rights of school employees.

The bill died without a hearing in the House Education Committee chaired by Rep. Bob Behning, R-Indianapolis, before HSPA could talk to Rep. Lauer.
H.B. 1459 – Authored by Rep. Bruce Borders, R-Jasonville, would have altered the state’s Anti-SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation). HSPA was prepared to oppose the bill, which died in the House Judiciary Committee chaired by Rep. Jerry Torr, R-Carmel, before HSPA had the opportunity to talk to Rep. Borders about his motivation in filing the bill.

ADVERTISING
H.B. 1125 – This bill would make false, misleading, or deceptive advertisements for claims related to medical devices and legend drugs and certain other actions a deceptive act. HSPA asked author Rep. Matt Lehman, R-Berne, to seek advice from Legislative Services Agency on whether the media could be liable for running ads that were later ruled improper. Rep. Lehman said the media would not accidentally get swept up by enforcement of the law.

The bill was approved by the House Judiciary Committee, chaired by Rep. Jerry Torr, R-Carmel, and the House, 97-1. The Senate Judiciary Committee, chaired by Sen. Liz Brown, R-Fort Wayne, who also was the bill sponsor, passed the bill along with the Senate, 48-1. It ended up in a conference committee, whose report was passed by the House, 90-0, and the Senate, 31-18. Gov. Eric Holcomb signed the bill on April 29.

H.B. 1312 – Authored by Rep. J.D. Prescott, R-Union City, this bill proposed a social media provider surcharge tax. HSPA was concerned about a possible extension of such a tax to advertising in general. It reached out to the News Media Allliance’s Danielle Coffey to determine whether that should be a concern.

The bill died without a hearing in the House Ways and Means Committee, chaired by Rep. Tim Brown, R-Crawfordsville, before any answer was determined by HSPA.

H.B. 1048 – Authored by Rep. Dennis Zent, R-Angola, this bill set up some identification and advertising requirements for medical practitioners. HSPA contacted Rep. Zent with a question about the intent and scope of the advertising restrictions. Zent said there wasn’t any intent to create a liability for newspapers.

The bill died without a hearing in the House Public Health Committee, chaired by Rep. Brad Barrett, R-Richmond.

COMPACTS
Bills to allow Indiana to join interstate compacts with other states are frustrating because they routinely contain provisions for secrecy that run contrary to Indiana’s Open Door Law or Access to Public Records Act. The ability to amend those troubling provisions is nil because any change will prevent Indiana from being allowed to join the compact.
All four of the bills included in this section died in the House Ways and Means Committee, chaired by Rep. Tim Brown, R-Crawfordsville.

S.B. 123 – This is the audiology and speech-language pathology compact. It was authored by Sen. Dennis Kruse, R-Auburn. HSPA raised the question about language that allows the compact board to meet behind closed doors to discuss Indiana’s non-compliance with compact requirements. The sponsor was Rep. Bob Behning, R-Indianapolis.

Sen. Kruse agreed to amend the language before he learned that the compact states would not allow Indiana to join if it made that amendment.


S.B. 36 – This is a psychology interjurisdictional compact. It was authored by Sen. Vaneta Becker, R-Evansville. While Sen. Becker was sympathetic to HSPA’s concern with language that would allow the compact board to discuss Indiana’s non-compliance to the agreement behind closed doors, she said the offending language could not be changed. The sponsor was Rep. Ed Clere, R-New Albany.

S.B. 305 – This bill is the physical therapy licensure compact. It was authored by Sen. Mark Messmer, R-Jasper. The bill contained the same offending language as the two previously noted compact bills. The sponsor was Rep. Shane Lindauer, R-Jasper.

S.B. 356 – This was a tribal compact bill – different from the other compact bills because it basically is a contract between the state of Indiana and the Pokagon Band of the Potawatomi concerning casino operations by the tribe.
HSPA had a concern with the level of confidentiality afforded the operation and reached out to the bill’s author, Sen. Ryan Mishler, R-Bremen. Sen. Mishler confirmed HSPA’s suspicion that the language reflected the autonomy of the Indian tribe from state law. The sponsor was Rep. Tim Brown, R-Crawfordsville.

MISCELLANEOUS
H.B. 1049 – Authored by Rep. Jeff Thompson, R-Lizton, this bill concerned the operation of legislative sessions. HSPA talked to Rep. Thompson about transparency with the conduct of some legislative meetings. Thompson was able to assure HSPA that the language would not impact current public access to the process.

The bill died without a hearing in the House Rules and legislative Procedures Committee, chaired by Rep. Dan Leonard, R-Huntington.

H.B. 1001 – The budget bill, authored by Rep. Tim Brown, R-Crawfordsville, contained a change in the governing body that establishes reasonable fees for enhanced access to public records and other electronic records, replacing the State Librarian with the Budget Director. HSPA reached out to see if State Librarian Jacob Speer shared our concern that the change might make the group less empathetic to citizen concerns with access to information. Speer said he had no problem with the change. HSPA also shared a note with Rep. Brown with its concern, but no amendment was made to the provision in question.

Gov. Eric Holcomb signed the budget bill into law on April 29.


H.B. 1433 – Authored by Rep. Dave Abbott, R-Rome City, this bill concerned automatic Internet subscriptions. HSPA had a question about its impact on the renewal of newspaper subscriptions.

The bill died in the House Committee on Commerce, Small Business and Economic Development, chaired by Rep. Bob Morris, R-Fort Wayne, before HSPA could talk to Rep. Abbott.

S.B. 398 – Authored by Sen. Greg Walker, R-Columbus, this election law bill includes a requirement that the notice of an election must include the dates, times, and locations of voting at the circuit court clerk’s office and at satellite offices. It also provides that notices of elections must be published not later than 21 days before election day. (Under current law, these notices must be published at least 10 days before the date of the election.

The Senate Elections Committee, chaired by Sen. Jon Ford, R-Terre Haute, approved the bill as did the Senate, 46-0. The House Elections Committee, chaired by Rep. Tim Wesco, R-Osceola, who also was the bill sponsor, passed the bill along with the House, 93-0, passed the bill. Sen. Walker filed a concurrence which the Senate favored, 40-2. Gov. Eric Holcomb signed the bill on April 23.

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