Gov. Mike Pence vetoed a measure that would have allowed private university police departments to release less information about crimes than public police departments.
“I have long believed in the public’s right to know and a free and independent press,” Pence said in a statement. “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.”
The governor’s move comes days after the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled in ESPN v. University of Notre Dame that the school’s police force is a “public agency” and is required to produce certain documents unless otherwise protected under the Indiana Access to Public Records Act.
The bill’s author, Rep. Patrick Bauer, D-South Bend, said he did not author the bill in response to the lawsuit against Notre Dame. He said it would create a greater transparency for private university police records.
“Criminal acts would be considered public records as would accidents with injury,” Bauer said in a statement. “However, minor accidents, with no injuries, would not require private universities to create an additional level of bureaucratic paperwork on those accidents.”
Bauer said the governor “relied on misinformation” to make his decision to veto the bill.