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Veto Allowing Private School Records Access on Brink?

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South Bend Tribune (Indiana)

 

The Indiana General Assembly appears poised to overturn former Gov. Mike Pence's veto of a 2016 measure designed to shelter police departments at the University of Notre Dame and nine other private universities from following the same crime reporting requirements as other law enforcement agencies.

Pence had vetoed the measure lawmakers passed last year that would have allowed private university police departments to keep many of their records secret, the Indianapolis Star reported Thursday. House lawmakers this week voted 93-2 to overturn the veto. The Senate is likely to vote on overriding the veto early next week, the newspaper reported.

Pence -- now vice president of the United States -- as governor last March vetoed the measure.

House Bill 1022 was approved by the Indiana General Assembly nearly unanimously. The bill was sponsored by state Rep. B. Patrick Bauer, D-South Bend, and it was pushed by private universities and Independent Colleges of Indiana, a group that helped to write the legislation.

The measure is designed to codify that private university police departments in Indiana only need to provide information about crimes on their campuses that already is required to be released under federal law, including the time, location and type of crime reported to campus police. Private university police wouldn't have to release details about an incident if no arrests are immediately made.

"Limiting access to police records in a situation where private university police departments perform a government function is a disservice to the public and an unnecessary barrier to transparency," Pence said in making his veto.

ESPN had sued Notre Dame, seeking campus police records related to cases involving student athletes. The Indiana Supreme Court last fall ruled against ESPN, saying Indiana law doesn't require that private university police departments adhere to the state's public records law.

Indiana lawmakers have shown no inclination to introduce legislation that would require private university police to follow the same public records laws as city, county, state and public university police departments.

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February 13, 2017
 
 
 

 

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