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Advocacy Groups Urge State Supreme Court To Reconsider Public Records Ruling

Christian Schnettelker

Citizen advocacy groups want the Indiana Supreme Court to reconsider its ruling in a case involving the House Republican caucus and the state’s public records law.

The groups filed a lawsuit last years to gain access to emails between a House Republican lawmaker and utility companies.

Indiana’s public records law, known as APRA, says legislative “work product” isn’t subject to an open records request, but doesn’t define “work product.” Last month, the state Supreme Court ruled while APRA does apply to the General Assembly, the Court can’t force the legislature to disclose emails.

Attorney for the advocacy groups William Groth says he thinks the effects of the court’s ruling are far-reaching enough to merit a second look.

“The Indiana Supreme Court, in its decision in this case, has essentially adopted this very broad non-interference rule, which essentially renders all the activities of the legislative branch off-limits to judicial review," says Groth.

Groth says the stakes of the case have been heightened since the governor’s office used the court’s ruling to justify denying a public records request. Still, he says he’s not optimistic the Supreme Court will change its mind.

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