This past week marked “National Sunshine Week,” an initiative to educate the public about the importance of open government and your right to access information.
Since the passage of Ohio’s first open records law in 1963, our state legislature has gone to great lengths to open the doors of public buildings to the taxpayers who want to take a closer look at the activities and decisions that affect their daily lives. From meeting minutes to official correspondence between elected officials, our records are your records.
However, the costly and inefficient legal process of the traditional system to challenge a public records denial effectively shut the door to many Ohioans who wished to dispute a denied public records request.
Which is why last year, the Ohio Senate passed legislation with an innovative solution to overcome the financial and logistical hurdles that many Ohioans face if their public records requests are denied. The landmark legislation, which I co-sponsored, was supported by the Ohio Newspaper Association and it establishes a fairer, more cost-effective method of resolving public records disputes without the need for an attorney.
Also, technology gives us the opportunity to increase transparency and participation in the legislative process to Ohioans wherever they are. We have expanded televised coverage of our Senate standing committees by streaming the committee meetings online at www.OhioSenate.gov. This new coverage is in addition to the televising of all Senate sessions.
I remain committed to increasing the public’s confidence in elected officials to act transparently and justly and I will continue support efforts to keep our government accountable to you and all Ohioans.