COLUMBUS— The Senate today passed Senate Bill 293, sponsored by State Senators Louis W. Blessing, III (R-Colerain Township) and Nathan Manning (R-North Ridgeville), establishing a formal procedure within the Court of Claims to hear complaints alleging violation of the Open Meetings Law.
The bill provides Ohioans with a more transparent, timely and affordable process for filing and settling such complaints.
Under Senate Bill 293, to file a complaint against a public body, a person simply has to complete a form prescribed by the clerk of court of claims and pay a $25 filing fee. If the initial complaint if filed with the clerk of the court of common pleas, the clerk must forward the complaint to the Court of Claims within five business days. The special master assigned to the claim has thirty business days to submit a report and recommendations to the Court of Claims.
“The current method of resolving public records disputes is not accessible to the average Ohioan,” said Senator Blessing. “This legislation will establish a transparent and fair precedent by providing all Ohioans with a faster, more affordable method of settling public records disputes through the Court of Claims.”
If the Court of Claims determines that a public body did in fact violate the Open Meetings Law, the court is required to issue an injunction compelling the public body to comply with the law and the aggrieved person is entitled to recover the $25 filing fee from the public body.
Senate Bill 293 will be now be sent to the Ohio House for further consideration.