Indiana high court rejects rehearing in lawmaker emails case

July 13, 2016

The Indiana Supreme Court has declined to rehear a case that sought to force lawmakers to release their email correspondence with lobbying groups and businesses.

Tuesday's order denied a request by consumer advocates for a rehearing following an April ruling that lawmakers can ignore public record requests for those emails and other documents.

The Energy and Policy Institute, Citizens Action Coalition and Common Cause Indiana in May filed a petition for rehearing. In their original lawsuit, the groups asked the court order state Rep. Eric Koch, R-Bedford, chair of the Indiana House Utilities, Energy and Telecommunications Committee, and the lobbyists representing electric utility monopolies to publicly disclose their emails. The correspondence related to House Bill 1320, a measure addressing solar energy and net-metering that Koch introduced in the 2015 legislative session.

In their petition for a rehearing, the nonprofits argued that not even reviewing the correspondence before ruling, the Supreme Court does not provide any reason for its conclusion that these documents are part of a core legislative function.

Three of the five justices rejected the rehearing request, while Justice Robert Rucker voted for it. Justice Geoffrey Slaughter, who joined the court in June, did not participate.

Slaughter was a private attorney when he represented House Republicans who fought the lawsuit seeking emails between Koch and utility companies.


Recent Articles by Associated Press, IL Staff