Kaitlin Lange of the Evansville Courier & Press wrote an article yesterday detailing this issue. Ms. Lange gives information on the bill's present state and gives statements from supporters and opponents of the bill here:
Gov. Eric Holcomb will decide the fate of legislation that would allow units of government to charge up to $20 an hour to citizens and media representatives seeking public records.
The House on Tuesday voted 63-27 to send House Bill 1523 to the governor. It would allow the hourly charge to kick in for a records search requiring more than two hours of work. The bill previously cleared the Senate on a 44-3 vote.
Bill author Rep. Kathy Richardson, R-Noblesville, said 27 other states and the federal government already allow such fees.
Well Kathy a lot of elevator's play Kenny G music! That doesn't make it right! IR already has a low enough opinion of this bill! Couldn't you at least have come up with a better argument than to say "Well everybody else is doing this!"
Former Gov. Mike Pence vetoed a similar measure two years ago, saying "the cost of public records should never be a barrier to the public’s right to know."
The governor has the option of vetoing the bill, signing it into law or allowing it to become law without his signature.
Those opposed to the bill say that people already pay taxes and should not have to pay again to get access to public records.
“It’s the taxpayer’s property," argued Rep. Matt Pierce, D-Bloomington.
The Indiana Coalition for Open Government and Indiana Pro Society of Professional Journalists also issued statements against the legislation, saying it could make it “cost prohibitive” for both journalists and concerned citizens to find out how their tax money is being spent and hold elected officials accountable.
“Government employees could deliberately drag their feet on such requests, racking up exorbitant charges to produce records the taxpaying public already paid for in the first place, either to shut down requests or deter them in the future,” SPJ said in a statement.
Those in support of the bill said fulfilling the large amount of records requests that are filed can be time consuming for public agencies.
Rep. Karen Englemen, R-Corydon, said she saw this firsthand as former Harrison County auditor.
“Some people come in and ask for hours and hours of research to be done,” Engleman said. “We don’t get paid anything for doing that.”
The legislation heads to the governor a month after Indiana was ranked the No. 1 state for budget transparency and government administration.
Mike Pence's decision to veto this bills dad two years ago is probably the only good decision that he made while he was Governor. We agree completely with State Rep Matt Pierce-D when he states that public records are taxpayers property and hence we should not be charged a fee to examine our own property. You go Matt Pierce! We were so impressed by the Indiana Coalition for Open Government and the Indiana Society of Professional Journalists strong support for freedom of information that we have added them to our list of Pro-Freedom Sites! They are right on when they say: “Government employees could deliberately drag their feet on such requests, racking up exorbitant charges to produce records the taxpaying public already paid for in the first place, either to shut down requests or deter them in the future.” We have news for all of you government employees in this state already drag their feet on public records requests. The biggest problem with this bill is that we would then be paying them more to screw us over!
Fake Republican State Rep Karen Engleman's statement that based off her experiences as Harrison County Auditor gives her lame ass excuse to make taxpayers take it up the rear is laughable. Engleman says: “Some people come in and ask for hours and hours of research to be done,” “We don’t get paid anything for doing that.” So what in the hell are you paid to do then? We know that it is a major annoyance for you and your soulless friends to actually do their jobs and provide the public with their own records! You guys are supposed to make things easier for the people! We are not supposed to make your lives better! Karen if doing your job really sucks then our advice is that you quit!
As for Indiana having been ranked the best state in the nation for budget transparency and government administration see our earlier article last month here that shows why anybody who believes that needs to seek help for drug addiction! The overwhelming bipartisian backing for HB 1523 is proof enough that our state legislature is so bad it smells worse than the outhouse outside a White Castle!
This is to our knowledge the first article we have ever read of Ms. Lange's and we must say we are all very impressed with her work. Please contact Ms. Lange and let her know you appreciate her talent! She can be reached at (812) 549-1429. Follow her on Twitter: @kaitlin_lange
The Indianapolis Business Journal also ran an article by the Associated Press which contains some more information on the legislatures blatant attempt to crush the voters.
IBJ's story includes these kernels of knowledge:
The bill requires a "good faith effort" to complete the search within a reasonable amount of time but does not set out who would audit agencies or hold them accountable. State law currently prohibits public agencies from charging a fee to search for, examine or review a record to determine whether it can be disclosed. Opponents say concerned citizens should not have to pay to access public records.
Supporters of the hourly fee argue government agencies can be bogged down by large requests and that compensation would help to alleviate the burden on government resources.
This bill also requires public agencies to provide electronic copies if they are requested and already exist. It does not require the agency to change the format of the public record.
It comes as no surprise that the legislation does not spell out what a "good faith effort" is on the part of government agencies. So that portion of the bill is completely useless! Since state law currently bans public agencies from charging a fee to search for records. Why should it be changed now? The traitorous lawmakers who support this are being less than honest when they say this is to help ease the strain on government resources. Most Indiana lawmakers have had no problem burdening us with the screw-ups of FSSA, the BMV, DWD, and DCS! Speaking of DCS any word on when the tragic death of Tajanay Bailey and DCS's handling of that case will ever be investigated? It's only been about a decade since she died! So don't give us this crap that you guys give a damn about burdening people!
It is time to say enough is enough! We all must contact Governor Holcomb's office and tell him to veto this bill! Contact his office and tell him that if he signs this or any other bill like this one that you will recruit a real republican to challenge him in the primary. And also tell him if that fails that you will vote for whoever the Democrats nominate to oppose him should he run for Governor again!
We will provide below Governor Holcomb's contact information as well as how to get ahold of the Indiana Coalition for Open Government and the ISPJ. Don't just call, email, tweet, or facebook post or message, or send a signing telegram to Governor Holcomb about this! Post, Call, Email, Voicemail, tweet, write him every five minutes! Send so many messages that his email, voicemail, twitter feed, and facebook starts begging you to stop! And then just keep piling on! Don't let up! Our freedom is at stake! Now get to work making some calls our friends!
Governor Eric Holcomb Contact Information:
|Governor Eric Holcomb|
Office of the Governor
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204-2797
Email form link for Governor Holcomb:
Indiana Coalition for Open Government:
Indy Pro Society of Professional Journalists:
Spread these statements all over the internet!