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Sunday, May 10, 2015

Ind. Gov't. - "Could Open Door Law Changes Begin With State Board of Education?"

That question was asked by WFYI reporter Eric Weddle in a story May 7th on the enactment of SEA 1. A quote:

[W]hen Gov. Mike Pence signed Senate Enrolled Act 1 Thursday -- the controversial piece of legislation that changes the makeup of the State Board of Education -- the 11-member board became the only public agency in the state required by law to post its meeting agenda on the Internet five days in advance of a meeting.

During the past General Assembly there was little-to-no discussion that the legislation also included a provision that goes far beyond the transparency requirements in Indiana’s open door laws.

But Republican Sen. Travis Holdman, the bill's co-author, says increasing transparency for public agenices will likely be a focus next year at the Statehouse.

The speed of social media and ubiquity of the web makes some of Indiana’s traditional open door laws out of date, he said. Posting meeting notices online would make the public more aware and involved in public policy discussions.

Agencies who hold public meetings with a majority of members are typically required to only post notice outside the physical location of the meeting 48 hours in advance. While a few agenices are required to post notices in newspapers, there are no provisions that include using the Internet.

“I think this is one way we force that accountability on state agencies, is to say something as simple as making your agenda available online,” Holdman said. “I can't see any drawback to that whatsoever."

The State Board of Education was already posting its agenda on its website five days in advance. Marc Lotter, board spokesman, said the board’s own rules mirror that portion of the new law.

Yet Holdman said a better policy than an agency making its own rules -- rules that could later be changed -- is considering a blanket state policy for all state and municipal agencies. That change could be taken up during next year’s general assembly.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on May 10, 2015 02:02 PM
Posted to Indiana Government