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Records disputes can be resolved without courts

The ongoing assault by Ohio Republican lawmakers on public records laws and those who fight for citizen access to records shows no signs of slowing down…

Earlier this year, (Ohio Auditor Dave) Yost began offering “Sunshine Audits” to complement a relatively new mediation program operated by the Ohio Attorney General’s office to help citizens resolve differences with local governments over records.

If that process is unsuccessful or the complaint involves a state agency, residents or organizations can request a review by Yost’s Open Government Unit. After reviewing the matter, Yost’s team would issue a non-binding ruling and could cite any agency failing to meet the law.

While it’s way too early to see if Yost’s efforts will truly help, Ohio remains one of a few states without a meaningful way to resolve records disputes without litigation, according to the Ohio Newspaper Association, which strongly opposed the GOP proposal…

Perhaps there’s a better way to resolve disputes outside the courts. There are plenty of examples of such programs in other states worthy of deeper study. But we applaud Yost and Attorney General Mike DeWine for trying to help citizens acquire public records as required by law…

 

The Newark Advocate