Indiana Access to Public Records Act
The Indiana Access to Public Records Act is a series of laws designed to guarantee that the public has access to public records of government bodies at all levels in Indiana.
The Indiana Open Door Law legislates the methods by which public meetings are conducted.
To learn more about how to make a public records request in this state, please see: Indiana FOIA procedures
- See also: Indiana transparency headlines
- Noblesville School Board agrees to keep $83M budget details secret 2010-11-24 09:11:04
- Obey open records law, or else 2009-05-31 19:50:07
- Overhauling Indiana government: Part II 2009-05-31 19:40:54
- Official: East Chicago violated records law 2009-05-31 20:42:34
- Sunshine Week: Muncie Police Department lowers fee for copies 2009-05-31 20:34:55
- Former coroner must turn over records now 2009-05-31 19:32:48
- Ind. public access penalty bill likely dead 2009-05-31 20:44:13
- Indiana bill to impose access penalties in jeopardy 2009-05-31 20:40:32
- Open records law needs changes 2009-05-31 20:38:48
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Relevant legal cases
- See also: Court cases with an impact on state FOIA
Here is a list of lawsuits in Indiana. For more information go the page or go to Indiana sunshine lawsuits.
(The cases are listed alphabetically. To order them by year please click the icon to the right of the Year heading)
|Gallagher v. Marion County Victim Advocate Program, Inc.||1980|
|Indiana Civil Liberties Union v. Indiana Gen. Assembly||1986|
|Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Ass'n Inc. v. Indianapolis Newspapers, Inc.||1991|
|Indianapolis Star v. Trustees of Indiana University||2003|
|Pigman v. Evansville Press||1989|
|Riggin v. Board of Trustees of Ball State University||1986|
|State ex rel. Colescott v. King||1900|
We do not currently have any legislation for Indiana in 2011. To add some, please see WikiProject Proposed state sunshine legislation.
Here are a list of 30 random bills from Indiana from 2010. For a full list, please see Indiana transparency legislation.
Senate Bill 232: Public Access Issues
Senate Bill 232  has been passed by the Indiana Senate Committee on Local Government and the full Senate and was referred to the House on February 24, 2009 . The bill provides for civil penalties of up to $500 against government agencies -- or their individual employees -- tha violate Indiana's Public Records Act or Open Door Law. This bill would allow public agencies or workers who are deemed to have violated the Public Records Act or the Open Door Law to be fined by a judge. Officers or employees of the agencies that are found to be in violation of one of these acts and are thereby assessed fines, which they must pay out of pocket. Any fines assessed against government agencies, however, are paid by the agencies' budget.
The bill also proposes to allow employees and agencies to provide notice of meetings to individuals that request such notice annually. That notice may be provided via email or on the state agency's website forty-eight hours prior to the meeting. This advance notice is currently available to news organizations, and the bill proposes extending the privilege to all citizens.
The bill also allows government agencies to keep information regarding minors under the age of 19 confidential. Currently, individuals that are denied access to public records can take legal action against the employee or agency that refused to disclose the records. The bill proposes the creation of an education fund to provide training for the public and for public officials as to their responsibilities under public access law.  Finally, the bill proposes that where a formal complaint is filed regarding the unavailability of a document or redactions within a document, a "public access counselor" is to review the records to determine whether the elimination of information violates public access laws.
The Committee and Senate have both passed the bill; it now moves to the House for a final vote. 
Reaction to the bill
The bill has received a negative response from various groups representing elected officials at the local level, including the Indiana Association of Cities and Towns and the Association of Indiana Counties. They argue that the proposed meeting notifications are too time consuming for local governing agencies to comply with, and that the bill may subject government employees to liability and fines for denying open record requests at the direction of their superiors.  
The bill has received support from representatives of the Hoosier State Press Association, citizen activists and journalists. In support of the bill, they argue that until now, there have not been any enforcement measures to deal with a government agency that refuses to comply with the law. The Indiana Coalition for Open Government referring to the Public Records Act stated, "An Indiana Code provision that has no enforcement capability is like a toothless dog that barks loud but has no bite," said Fargo, Indiana University journalism professor who serves on the . 
Tony Fargo, associate professor of the Indiana University School of Journalism, testified in favor of the bill before the Senate's Local Government Committee.  The Indiana Tribune-Star , Palladium-Item,  and IndyStar.com  have all endorsed the bill.
Senate Bill 32: Notice of Meetings
Senate Bill 32 having to do with notice of meetings is related to Senate Bill 232. The bill has been referred to the Committee on Commerce and Public Policy & Interstate Cooperation. The bill requires government agencies to provide notice of meetings to anyone who requests such notice annually.  According to the proposed bill, notice may be given by mail five days in advance for any non-emergency meetings for a $10 fee annually. 
Senate Bill 1230: Publication of Notices
Senate Bill 1230 having to do with notice of meetings was passed by the Senate Committee on Local Government. The bill includes proposals to require newspapers that publish notice of meetings to include the notice on their website and a proposal to eliminate the requirement for agencies to publish the ordinance setting the salaries of elected city officers.
Senate Bill 1280: State Budget and Spending Information on Internet
Senate Bill 1280 was passed by the Committee on Ways and Means and the full House and has since been referred to the Senate Committee on Tax and Fiscal Policy.  If passed, the bill requires state agencies to report budget information to the state auditor's office so that it can begin to make available online all state expenditures and account balances no later than July 1, 2009. 
Indiana's transparency report card
A 2007 study, Graded state responsiveness to FOI requests, conducted by BGA and the NFOIC, gave Indiana 59 points out of a possible 100, a letter grade of "F", and a ranking of 14 out of the 50 states.
Features of the law
- Compare States: Sunshine variations: Click on the heading to compare your state's law to other state's transparency laws.
The Indiana Access to Public Records Act states, "A fundamental philosophy of the American constitutional form of representative government is that government is the servant of the people and not their master. Accordingly, it is the public policy of the state that all persons are entitled to full and complete information regarding the affairs of government and the official acts of those who represent them as public officials and employees. Providing persons with the information is an essential function of a representative government and an integral part of the routine duties of public officials and employees, whose duty it is to provide the information."
The act defines public records as essentially any information created, maintained or filed by government agencies.
- Trade Secrets
- Confidentially information received upon request
- Academic Research
- Licensing information
- Medical Records
- Anything declared exempt by the Supreme Court
- Autopsy photos or videos
- Social Security numbers
- Law enforcement investigation
- Attorney information, when they represent a public agency
- "Records that are intra-agency or interagency advisory or deliberative material, including material developed by a private contractor under a contract with a public agency, that are expressions of opinion or are of a speculative nature, and that are communicated for the purpose of decision making" 
- Personal files of employees excluding "the name, compensation, job title, business address, business telephone number, job description, education and training background, previous work experience, or dates of first and last employment of present or former officers or employees of the agency" as well as disciplinary information 
- Names of charitable donors if the donor requires nondisclosure of the donor's identity as a condition of making the gift
- Library records
- Security measures for telecommunications, schools, and general infrastructure
- Correctional Officer information
- Complaint information within law enforcement agencies as well as job descriptions for officers
- Contact information for Utility employees
- Labor negotiations
However, agencies are required by statute to separate disclosable and non-disclosable information in one source and release the non-exempt material.
The act defines agencies as any division of the state government including executive, administrative, judicial, or legislative power, as well as all political subdivisions and any organization whose budget is up for review by state officials. The only clear exemptions are medical staffs and committees associated with those staffs, agencies who receive funds from the government in exchange for goods and services. 
While the Indiana Access to Public Records Act includes state legislative bodies within its definition of public body found at Illinois APRA 5-14-3-2-M, 5-14-3-2.1, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled in State ex rel. Masariu v. Marion Superior Court that they are unable to enforce the law against the legislature due to separation of powers considerations. 
Any private entity that is supported through public funds is considered a public body and is subject to the act.
The definition of public body presumably includes the administrative capacities of public universities within the state. However, academic research, grade transcripts and the names of anonymous charitable donors are explicitly exempted under Indiana APRA 5-14-3.
The Indiana APRA specifically states that no request may be refused due to a lack of statement of purpose.
Limits to use can be established by the individuals departments but must certain around the use of information for commercial uses. Exempted from this commercial use clause are news publications, academic research, and non-profit organization activities. Further, certain lists of names and addresses and email addresses cannot be used for political or commercial purposes, specifically government employee lists, conference attendees lists, and lists of students attending public schools.
- 7 days
The Indiana statute allows for 7 days to process APRA requests.
Fees for records
The statute only permits fees to be charged for the actual cost of duplication with a minimum cost of $0.10 per copy.
The statue also allows for exemptions for requestors only if: (1) Public agency program support. (2) Nonprofit activities. (3) Journalism. (4) Academic research.
There is currently no provision within the state open records law that empowers the State Department of Law to enforce the right of the public to access governmental records. Those denied access to public records are advised under the Act to seek remedy by filing suit in any court of competent jurisdiction within the state.
- To read more about open meetings in Indiana, please see: Indiana Open Door Law
"It is the intent of this chapter that the official action of public agencies be conducted and taken openly, unless otherwise expressly provided by statute, in order that the people may be fully informed"
- Indiana FOIA procedures
- Indiana transparency headlines
- Indiana transparency advocates
- Indiana transparency legislation
- Private agency, public dollars-Indiana
- Indiana Open Door Law
- Indiana Code link to the Access to Public Records law
- Indiana code link to the Open Door Law
- Open Government Guide to Indiana
- Past articles on Indiana
- ↑ Text of Bill 232
- ↑ 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 http://www.in.gov/apps/lsa/session/billwatch/billinfo?year=2009&request=getBill&docno=232 Text of Bill 232']
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 Bill could mean fines for open records violators, Associated Press, January 21, 2009
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 Open records refused?, Courier & Press, January 21, 2009
- ↑ Fargo testifies at Indiana Senate to support open meeting bill, Indiana University School of Journalism, January 23, 2009
- ↑ TRIBUNE-STAR EDITORIAL: Put some teeth into Indiana access laws, Tribune-Star, January 24, 2009
- ↑ Let's put some needed teeth in state public records laws
- ↑ Obey open records law, or else, IndyStar.com, February 11, 2009
- ↑ Text of Bill 32
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 10.2 Text of Bill 32
- ↑ 11.0 11.1 11.2 Text of Bill 1230
- ↑ 12.0 12.1 12.2 Text of Bill 1280
- ↑ 2008 BGA-Alper Integrity Index
- ↑ States Failing FOI Responsiveness, National Freedom of Information Coalition, October 2007
- ↑ Freedom of Information in the USA, 2002
- ↑ Indiana Code 5-14-3-1
- ↑ 17.0 17.1 17.2 17.3 Illinois APRA 5-14-3
- ↑ State ex rel. Masariu v. Marion Superior Court via RCFP Guide to Indiana
- ↑ Private agency, public dollars-Indiana
- ↑ Indiana APRA 5-14-3
- ↑ Indiana APRA 5-14-3
- ↑ Indiana Code, 5-14-3-1
- ↑ Indiana APRA 5-14-3-3.A.2
- ↑ IC 5-14-3-9
- ↑ IC 5-14-3-8
- ↑ Indiana Code 5-14-1.5-1
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