Rep. Antonio Calls For Open Committee Meetings After Women's Healthcare Organization Denied Access
Says engagement in democratic process should not be restricted by politicians

State Rep. Nickie Antonio (D-Lakewood) today sent a letter to the chair of the House Health and Aging Committee in response to a women’s healthcare access organization being prohibited from video recording during today’s committee hearing. Although the organization had properly followed the established procedure and filled out the necessary paperwork in time in order to record the hearing, the committee chair denied their credentials.

“As an integral part of the democratic process, I believe that legislative committee hearings should be open to all Ohio citizens and the organizations they support,” said Rep. Antonio. “Changing the rules in the middle of the game in order to shut out certain groups with which one may disagree restricts every citizen’s right to know how their government is working. Perhaps if the Ohio legislature opened up our committee hearings and live streamed them as we do our legislative sessions, rules to prohibit or limit video recordings would be irrelevant.” 

Full text of the letter is below:

Chair Gonzales,

During today’s House Health and Aging Committee meeting, you denied a request from the organization NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio to film the committee proceedings and publicly stated the reason for this denial was that they were not “credentialed media”.

In the committee rules (attached) that were approved at the first Health and Aging Committee meeting of this General Assembly, there is no mention of a requirement of credentialed media.  In fact, the only requirement to record a committee meeting is that the individual or organization submit a formal request to film at least 24 hours in advance.  NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio submitted their formal request to film more than three days in advance.

Because of the events that transpired during today’s committee meeting, I am requesting to see the credentials of all individuals or organizations that have been approved to film or take photos/audio of the committee this General Assembly.  It should further be noted that it is my understanding that this hearing was the first time that NARAL was denied the ability to film in a Health and Aging Committee.

I'd appreciate your prompt response to this matter.


Nickie Antonio
Ranking minority member of the House Health and Aging Committee

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