A bill that would have allowed private college police departments in Indiana to disclose less on-campus crime information than their public counterparts has been vetoed by Gov. Mike Pence.
The bill would have required private colleges to release limited information only if an arrest was made.
Pence previously expressed hesitations about the bill and said Thursday that his office will support government accountability.
“Throughout my public career, I have long believed in the public’s right to know and a free and independent press," Pence said in a written 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 veto comes as the University of Notre Dame fights a court battle against ESPN after the school refused a request for records of crime investigations involving student athletes. The rejected bill would have protected the university and other private schools in the future from having to fully comply with such requests.
The proposal was backed by Notre Dame and the Independent Colleges of Indiana.
State Rep. Pat Bauer, D-South Bend, who authored the bill and whose district includes Notre Dame, expressed disappointment with the veto and said Pence did not fully understand the intention of the bill.
Bauer said the bill only applies to disclosure of minor accidents and not criminal acts or accidents with injuries.
“I wish the governor had taken time to talk with the legislators who shepherded the bill through the process," Bauer said in a written statement. "There were as many Republicans as Democrats co-authoring and sponsoring this bill. Perhaps we could have explained to Gov. Pence that HEA 1022 protects the public’s right to know. Unfortunately, he did not find the time to consult with members of the Indiana General Assembly. Instead, Gov. Pence relied on misinformation.”