Legislation lets local boards meet in executive session more often

This story has been corrected from the version. See the correction below:

By Tyler Gribbons
TheStatehouseFile.com

INDIANAPOLIS – Local officials could meet behind closed doors more often under legislation a House committee considered Tuesday.

House Bill 1102 essentially expands the definition of litigation so that city councils, county councils and other government bodies could go into executive session almost any time they want to talk to their attorneys.

The current Open Door Law allows government boards, committees and councils to meet in executive session – where the public can’t hear the conversation – to deal with existing lawsuits. The bill would expand that to include potential lawsuits.

Steve Key, executive director of the Hoosier State Press Association, said the bill defines the term “litigation” too broadly.

“If you have a subject matter that allows you to go behind executive session, you can do all these things – you can reach a decision, make recommendations and establish police,” Key said.

But he said the HSPA could support the bill with some tweaks and said he’d help focus the definition of litigation.

Rep. Randy Truitt, R- West Lafayette, said the bill could use some changes.

“You can make any issue fall into this category, which is my biggest concern because I think we’re being counterproductive on what we’re trying to do,” Truitt said.

The House Government and Regulatory Reform Committee postponed a vote on the bill.

Tyler Gribbons is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.

Correction: The original version of this story said House Bill 1102 passed. That was incorrect. The committee postponed a vote. TheStatehouseFile.com regrets the error.
You can see all our corrections at thestatehousefile.com/info/corrections/.
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