Ohio Coalition for Open Government update, consider making a donation

By Dennis Hetzel, OCOG President April is shaping up to be a busy month with regards to open government legislation in Ohio. The Ohio Coalition for Open Government (OCOG) is tracking a number of bills in the General Assembly which would directly affect open government issues, including one bill to require by statute the ongoing use of the successful OhioCheckbook.com database of government spending. We also hope to see a bill that would join Ohio with the majority of states that have some type of statutory appeals process to use following the denial of access to a public record.

If you’re interested in seeing all of the open government bills we’re tracking, along with summaries of the bills and their pros and cons, consider becoming an OCOG member. All OCOG members automatically received our “OCOG Legislative Watch List” several times a year.

Meanwhile, we’re awaiting court decisions in several cases important to open government:

  • The Ohio Supreme Court should rule soon on a case involving the Olentangy School District outside Columbus in which school board members used email to deliberate while excluding one of the board members.
  • The OSC will be hearing oral arguments this month on a very important police records case that could open access to case files in closed cases involving capital punishment.
  • The Cincinnati Enquirer is pursuing two cases that the Supreme Court will be considering involving public access to video taken by police dashboard and body cameras.
  • OCOG also is supporting a federal case that will be heard in Cincinnati to maintain access to booking photographs of people indicted or charged with federal crimes.

This follows an unusually successful 2015 on the court front, in which OCOG contributed to court victories in open records cases.

As always, OCOG is in great need of financial support. You can help by becoming a sustaining member at a very low cost by clicking here.

We also are looking for volunteers to help with our plans to hopefully do major fund raising in 2017 – OCOG’s 25th anniversary. If you’d like to be part of the planning team, please contact me at dhetzel@ohionews.org.

As always, thanks for your interest. Please consider increasing your support, and check us out at www.ohioopengov.com.