From The Daily Record The Ohio House has passed legislation that would require greater online access to a variety of public records, with increased efforts to implement uniform standards for how those records are made available.
HB 324, titled the Public Records Act, passed Thursday on an unanimous vote of 92-0 and heads to the Ohio Senate for further consideration.
The bill would require the state auditor to establish and administer a new website for public records, providing access to an array of documents and data from different state agencies.
Offices that post records online would have to make efforts to ensure the documents or data are searchable and downloadable, in electronic formats that can be used by the general public.
HB 324 also would create a new DataOhio Board to make recommendations annually about online public records access.
Additionally, the legislation would establish a "local government information exchange grant program" to provide up to $10,000 to local governments for their online data efforts.
"Not only will we provide greater, clearer access to data for good governance and taxpayer accountability, but we believe this comprehensive set of data initiatives will spur job growth and business attainment in our state," said Rep. Christina Hagan (R-Alliance), a primary sponsor of the bill.
While all lawmakers voted in favor the bill, Democrats did attempt one amendment to add language opening JobsOhio's books to public perusal.
"We have a responsibility to keep track of how the public dollars are being spent and what our return on investment is," said Rep. Matt Lundy (D-Elyria).
The amendment failed on a vote of 53-37.