Hoosiers who want to learn about their legal rights to obtain public records
or attend government meetings are invited to the kickoff of the second
annual Public Access Seminar series on June 19 in Indianapolis.
The Indianapolis session is the first in a series to be held around the
state, in which citizens, government officials, and attorneys will be
introduced to Indiana’s laws concerning public records and open meetings.
For attorneys, the sessions count as 2.0 hours of free Continuing Legal
Education (CLE) but are open to the general public as well.
Last year’s inaugural Public Access Seminar series drew a combined 737
participants to the eight free training sessions and approximately one
quarter of last year’s attendees were members of the general public—neither
attorneys nor government employees. This year’s Public Access Seminar series
is sponsored by the Indiana Attorney General’s Office, the Indiana Public
Access Counselor’s Office, and the Hoosier State Press Association (HSPA),
while the local kickoff events on June 19 are also sponsored by The
“Strong attendance at last year’s seminars by citizens makes it clear that
Hoosiers want to know how their government officials make decisions and
spend their tax dollars, but they need the tools to gain access to that
valuable information,” Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller said.
“Government officials and their lawyers may need to brush up on their
obligations to keep meetings open and records public and learn about the new
legislation passed this year, so the free Public Access Seminar series is
good training on transparency for both audiences.”
“Accountability is key to a functioning democracy,” added Steve Kay,
executive director and general counsel of the Hoosier State Press
Association. “The state’s public access laws give citizens the ability to
know what government officials and employees are doing or contemplating with
On Tuesday, June 19, the public will have two opportunities to attend a free
Public Access Seminar session in Indianapolis:
•10 a.m. to 12 noon in the auditorium of the Indiana Government Center
South, 402 W. Washington St., Indianapolis.
•6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the offices of The Indianapolis Star, 307 N.
Pennsylvania St., Indianapolis.
Attendees are asked to register to ensure adequate space is available. To
register for either free session, contact the Attorney General’s Office at
317.233.6143 or register online at http://www.in.gov/attorneygeneral/2840.htm
Attorneys who register and attend can qualify for 2.0 hours of free CLE.
At both the morning and evening sessions, experts will discuss citizens’
rights and officials’ responsibilities under the Indiana Access to Public
Records Act and Indiana Open Door Law. The panelists also will discuss House
Enrolled Act 1003—passed this year—which for the first time imposes fines on
certain public officials who withhold public records or deny access to
meetings: $100 for the first violation and $500 for additional violations.
In addition to explaining the public access laws and requirements, the
panelists will provide practical examples of how public records requests
should be initiated by citizens and addressed by officials and attorneys.
Audience members will have the opportunity ask questions.
The June 19 sessions in Indianapolis are the first in a series that again
will take the training sessions around the state, through October. The rest
of the seminars are evening sessions, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. local time, so
that more working adults can attend. Registration for those events is at the
same number and link above, and addresses of the seminar sites will
announced soon for these additional cities and dates: South Bend, June 26;
Bloomington, July 26; Sellersburg, Aug. 16; Auburn, Aug. 30; Logansport,
Sept. 6; Washington, Sept. 20; Portland, Oct. 4.