OCOG seeks award nominees, your support as eventful 2019 looms

If you’re reading this you’re likely a supporter of accessibility, transparency and accountability in Ohio government.

It’s the time of year when we ask for your help.

First, we’re looking for nominees for our 2019 “Champion of Open Government Award.” This annual honor goes to an Ohioan who has made a difference in support of open government in the Buckeye State. Past nominees have included students, politicians, journalists and everyday citizens who simply chose to get involved. Their efforts have resulted in meaningful change from the local level all the way to Ohio Supreme Court decisions on open records and public meetings that get cited nationally.

If you know of someone who might be deserving, just send a brief nominating statement with your reasoning and contact links if possible to jsanford@ohionews.org.

As always, we welcome new and renewed OCOG memberships. One-time donations also are more than welcome, particularly because the court battles we undertake can cost thousands of dollars. To join or make a year-end, tax-deductible donations, just click here.

Right now, we have two cases pending before the Ohio Supreme Court. One is to stop the practice of secret-ballot voting in public meetings by elected officials. The other would increase police accountability and transparency to stop unwarranted exclusion of body camera footage from release.

Here are some of OCOG’s other efforts during the past 12 months:

  • Released two comprehensive editions of our “Ohio Open Government Report” that also were distributed to all state legislators and executive branch officials.

  • Updated the Ohio Supreme Court database and scorecard on open government cases considered by the state’s highest court. We believe that our activism has helped reverse a trend of anti-open government decisions by the Court.

  • Served as state host for the summit of the National Freedom of Information Coalition, which brought open government advocates from across the nation to Cincinnati

  • Answered dozens of calls and emails from citizens on our legal hotline, providing helpful information in open government battles or referring citizens to qualified attorneys.

  • Conducted a successful fund-raising event in Columbus headlined by J.D. Vance, the author of the best-selling “Hillbilly Elegy.”

OCOG matters more than ever in these times. We thank you for your interest and urge your continued support.