More than 189 days and Mike Pence refuses to release records on his delay to act on the worst HIV outbreak in state history
INDIANAPOLIS – Following a long delay on the Pence Administration failing to provide any records on the HIV outbreak in Scott County, the Indiana Democratic Party today filed a formal complaint with the Public Access Counselor asking once more for the governor to explain why he waited 65 days to act on the worst HIV outbreak in state history.
The IDP last August formally asked Mike Pence to release all communication surrounding his knowledge of the HIV outbreak and why it took him 65 days to react to this health crisis. But now more than 189 days have passed, and the IDP’s request remains idle in the Statehouse. And in the words of the current Public Access Counselor, Pence’s neglect seems to be a clear “violation” of the request – given the public’s interest on the issue.
“All Hoosiers, whether they come from urban or rural communities, deserve to have access to health facilities that provide quality and affordable HIV/STD testing and preventable screenings in their communities. Scott County saw their health clinic close in 2013, and with it – they lost access to the preventable screenings that may have averted this horrific outbreak in the first place,” said John Zody, Chairman of the Indiana Democratic Party. “With the state’s timeline leaving many questions unanswered, Hoosier families want to be sure the Pence administration took appropriate and timely action. For the sake of our state and every Hoosiers’ well-being, it is my hope Governor Pence drops this delay and expedites our request so the general public can get answers immediately.”
The IDP’s formal complaint highlights a call for better transparency for the Hoosier taxpayer. Last week, John Gregg announced his new “Open Government Initiative,” a proposal that would open up government and improve upon the state’s dismal “F” rating in public access.
In the plan, Gregg will mandate a ten-business day turnaround for all records requests while also strengthening the powers of the Public Access Counselor. Further, Gregg will create a Public Transparency Commission that would provide a thorough review of the state’s existing public access laws and ways to improve on the system.