New Proposal Would Streamline Ohio's Public Records Requests

Apr 27, 2016

Ohio Auditor Dave Yost, backed from left to right by Senate President Keith Faber (R-Celina), Damian Sikora with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, and Dennis Hetzel with the Ohio Newspaper Association.
Credit ANDY CHOW / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

A public records request made by a reporter, an activist or any concerned citizen could start as something simple and spiral into a long, expensive court battle. State lawmakers are trying to change that.

Republican Senator Keith Faber of Celina is pushing a bill that would create a new, faster public records request process by using local clerks of court and mediators.

State Auditor Dave Yost has a similar program in his office, but Faber’s proposal would put it into law. Yost says this will help people avoid contentious lawsuits where they have to lawyer up.

“What we’ve got in Ohio too often is asymmetrical warfare. The government has the lawyers and the ability to fight when they don’t want to reveal something that ought to be revealed under the law and the citizen is forced to dip into their own pockets.”

Faber says the new process, from start to finish, should only take a maximum of 45 days.