Ohio House Democrats want to increase government transparency by inserting Sunshine law reforms in the legislation carrying Gov. John Kasich’s proposed additions to the state budget.
In a Statehouse press conference marking Sunshine Week, a group of Democrat lawmakers called for changes they said would increase governmental accessibility and accountability.
The Democrats proposed:
- Requiring state and local governments to provide public records within 20 days after they are requested. Current law has no deadline.
- Creating an independent public-records ombudsman to mediate public records disputes, including those involving state government.
- Allowing Ohioans to more easily recover appropriate attorney fees and damages when winning court cases seeking the release of public records.
- Mandating that all legislative committee hearings be broadcast live online. Committee chairmen now decide if meetings will be streamed online.
- Forcing JobsOhio, Kasich’s privatized economic-development agency, to disclose corporate donations online within 30 days of receipt.
“State government should be open, accessible and accountable to its employers — the taxpayers,” said Rep. Matt Lundy, D-Elyria.