The Gannett-owned Indianapolis Star has failed for the time being in its efforts to shut down public records requests made by citizen bloggers and watchdogs. SB 369, which would have allowed governmental entities to charge as much as $20 an hour to conduct public records requests, was vetoed by Gov. Mike Pence. Pence said "the cost of public records should never be a barrier to the public's right to know" in vetoing the measure. The measure could still become law if the lawmakers who overwhelmingly voted to pass SB 369 override the governor's veto. To call the measure an assault on the people's right to know is an understatement.
Subscriber-based, mainstream media publications like The Star have become wary of the public's increasing reliance on blogs and other free access news sites to obtain information about their government. The Star torpedoed earlier this year Gov. Pence's plan to establish the JustIn state news information service, which would have consolidated and made much easier the public's access to state government news. Although the White House and many other state governments provide similar services, The Star conflated the development into a news scandal, suggesting that it amounted to state-run news akin to totalitarian governments. In reality, The Star feared the public would realize its reporters often do little more than regurgitate press releases spoon-fed to them by government agencies. The Star's backing of SB 369 proves its true motivations, notwithstanding its feigned indignation regarding Pence's JustIn initiative.
UPDATE: I just noticed the Indianapolis Star made no mention of Pence's veto of SB 369 in its coverage of his final action on bills prior to leaving for China. You have to look at a summary The Star lists of bills awaiting action to see that he even vetoed the bill on The Star's website. I also checked the Twitter posts of their State House reporters. Nada. Rather unusual given that so few bills were even vetoed by the governor.
Good work, Mike. This is a good step in breaking the grip the Mitchies have on your administration and this state. Keep it up. The General Assembly will stop wasting time on these kind of laws when the figure out (which they may just have) that you’re not into this type of monkeyshines.
Pence's veto supports disclosure and is important to all citizens. Thank you governor!!
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