The Indiana Publisher

March 2017

Hoosier State Press Association - The Indiana Publisher

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Search fees, drones, judicial selection top press legislative agenda W hile the number of active bills was significantly reduced by the deadline for passage in original chamber, the Hoosier State Press Association (HSPA) is still involved with several bills as they move forward in the opposite chamber. The New Voices bill (H.B. 1130) strengthens student press freedom in high schools and colleges. The bill passed the House 88-4 following its unanimous 13-0 vote in the House Education Committee, chaired by Rep. Bob Behning, R-Indianapolis. Sen. Dennis Kruse, chairman of the Senate Education and Career Development Committee, has already agreed to give the legisla- tion a hearing on March 15. Six students and nine others testified in favor of H.B. 1130 during its House committee hearing. HSPA, along with the Indiana High School Press Association and Indiana Collegiate Press Association, were among those testifying in favor of the bill. A representative of all the state universities, Becca Pultz, also testified for the bill. Reps. Ed Clere, R-New Albany, and Ed Delaney, D-Indianapolis, are the bill's authors. The spon- sors are Sens. Brandt Hershman, R-Buck Creek; and Eddie Melton, D-Merrillville. HSPA has reached out to Rep. Tony Cook, R-Cicero, who is the author of H.B. 1009. HSPA wants to clarify the impact on the publication of information concerning capital projects and school bus replacement plans spelled out in the bill. Senate sponsor of H.B. 1009 is Sen. Luke Kenley, R-Noblesville. The House approved H.B. 1009 with a 92-3 vote. The bill's sponsor is Sen. Kenley. H.B. 1523, guarantees access to public records in their electronic format and establishes a search fee for records requests that take more than two hours to locate. The bill passed the House, 62-25. This marks the third time the House has passed such language. The Senate has passed it twice. Rep. Kathy Richardson, R-Noblesville, is the bill's author, and is carrying it at the request of Speaker of the House Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis. HSPA worked with Rep. Bosma Public Access Guide Available: Request the guide today... Delivery in April. Page 4 Enemy of the people? How to display cred- ibility in the era of "fake news." Page 4 Hey, can they do that? Steve Key an- swers your legal ques- tions. Page 3 Annual Calendar: All HSPA annual events are sched- uled. Page 3 INSIDE Publisher The Indiana Volume 82, Issue 3 • March 8, 2017 Published on second Thursday monthly T homas Jefferson, no stranger to being savaged in the press, once famously remarked that if forced to choose between a government without newspapers or newspapers without government, he would surely choose the latter. That's how important our third president and author of the Declaration of Independence thought uncensored publication and dialogue were to our overall freedom. Jefferson made the observation before we even had a First Amendment, in which the Founding Fathers enshrined his senti- ment. Their true genius, seen through- out the Constitution, was in understanding human nature and the See Watchdog, Page 4 T he budget bill (H.B. 1001) contains a new concept that the Hoosier State Press Association (HSPA) believes could be manipulated to favor particular vendors seeking lucrative contracts from state or local govern- ment units. The bill passed by the House has several sec- tions creating a "request for information (RFI)." A government unit would issue a RFI through public notice advertisement to obtain ideas from private parties on the best way to utilize a public facility, prepare a request for proposals (RFP), or evaluate existing public-private agreements that concern public facilities or projects. Submissions in response to a RFI would be totally confidential–even the identity of the responder–unless the respondent waived confi- dentiality to all or part of the submission. The House approved the budget, 68-29. It's now under consideration by the Senate Appropriations Committee, chaired by Sen. Luke Kenley, R-Noblesville. "From a policy standpoint, the total level of secrecy could be a recipe for manipulation of RFPs to favor one confidential entity by tailoring the RFP in a fashion to put competitors at a dis- advantage," explained Steve Key, executive direc- tor and general counsel for HSPA. For example, Key has seen local government officials write bid specifications for a fire truck that only could be meet by a particular manufac- turer sold through a particular vendor. "In that situation, there was no hint of bribery involved, but those creating the bid knew that the way the specs were written that only the fire truck they favored would qualify," Key said. In addition to setting the stage for favoritism within RFPs, the element of total secrecy keeps the public in the dark about ideas submitted con- cerning facilities/projects that the government is contemplating. This robs the public of the oppor- tunity to voice any concerns until the RFP is issued later in the process. "It's human nature. Once the RFP has been issued, it's going to be more difficult to convince officials to change course," Key said. In one case, the Anderson School District could have used a RFI to keep ideas secret on how to utilize the Wigwam basketball gym. In another case, the Department of Natural Resources could have used a RFI to keep secret proposals on how to better utilize the beachfront building at Indiana Dunes State Park. Delaying public knowledge until the RFP is issued makes it harder for citizens to let officials know of their dislike of a particular option until the official's choice is public Budget bill could breed RFP abuse See Legislative, Page 3 By Mark Massa Indiana Supreme Court House and Senate Republican leaders key to passage of 2017 budget that includes confidential request for information provision Sen. Kenley R-Noblesville Chair, Senate Appropriations Committee Rep. Brown R-Crawfordsville Chair, House Ways & Means Committee Rep. Bosma R-Indianapolis Speaker, Indiana House of Representatives Sen. Long R-Fort Wayne President Pro Tempore, Indiana Senate Kruse Richardson Can the watchdog still bite? Massa See Budget, Page 2 O ne of top reasons I like attending conferences is the opportunity to exchange ideas with my peers. As a sales rep, I managed to earn many Hoosier State Press Association (HSPA) awards by taking someone else's idea and adapting it to my market and customer. Budget cuts have reduced or eliminated opportunities for many to attend conferences, and thus eliminated opportunities to find an idea that can work locally. HSPA and Indiana Newspaper Advertising Executive Association (INAEA) have started hosting regularly scheduled idea sharing conference calls. These calls are designed Free ideas generate ad dollars Pete Van Baalen See Ideas, Page 3 By Pete Van Baalen Fort Wayne Newspapers

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