INDIANAPOLIS — Governor Eric Holcomb has signed into law a requirement for government meetings in Indiana to be live streamed or recorded.
The Governor signed the HEA 1167 on May 1, but the new law does not take effect until July 1, 2025.
It applies to school boards, state agencies, counties, cities, towns and townships and any governing body that conducts regular meetings in the same meeting room.
It requires the agency to live stream its meetings and archive a copy of the meeting’s recording.
If a governing body does not have internet capability for live streaming, they have to record the meeting and make it available for at least 90 days.
The public will be able to inspect, copy/download the meeting without charge.
Lawmakers hope the legislation will increase transparency among local governments.
If a local body of government didn't comply, a constituent could file an Open Door Law complaint to the state’s Public Access Counselor.
“Given that this statute does not take effect until July 2025, I’d like to take some time forensically reviewing it and the implications,” said Luke Britt, Indiana’s Public Access Counselor. “Prior to the effective date, I will be issuing guidance to government units who are affected by the new section and will provide advice accordingly. Overall, I think the new provision is a logical step forward and will increase transparency, but I need a little time to digest the full impact it may have.”
If there’s a technological failure, the new law says it would not subject any person to civil or criminal liability.
HEA 1167 also says if there’s a technological failure, it would not violate any laws concerning the “retention, preservation, or production of public records.”
"I want people 100 years from now to look back at how hard we are trying. (I want to) add some context to why we did something and what we are trying to do,” Rep. Ben Smaltz, a Republican representing District 52 and author of the bill, said. “I think that is so important for history.”
Monday on the News at 6:00 pm, the Public Access Counselor found a local school district violated the Open Door Law by prohibiting citizens from recording public meetings. WRTV Investigates what your rights are and asks the school board whether it’s in compliance.