Ohioans should not have to bear the expense and aggravation of going to court to force government officials to comply with the open records law, state Auditor Dave Yost believes. To make it easier to get documents, Yost announced a month ago he was establishing a "Sunshine Audit" program.
But for every champion in government of the public's right to know, there are dozens of opponents – officials who see it as a good thing that Ohioans sometimes can be denied access to information about how their tax dollars are being spent. With speed and efficiency seldom seen in government, some legislators are poised to shut down Yost's program before it gets off the ground.
Yost has a simple idea: Currently, if state agencies refuse to hand over documents sought by members of the public, recourse is limited. Those seeking the documents can go to court, but that can be expensive in both time and money. Most people just give up trying to get government records. Public officials know that. They understand that stonewalling, even in the knowledge they are violating the open records law, often can turn away requests for information. Continue>>>