Regarding language in the state operating budget, Substitute House Bill 64, pertaining to the Auditor of State’s role in reviewing public records, House Finance Committee Chair Ryan Smith (R-Bidwell) released the following statement:

Regardless of political affiliation, the Auditor of State derives his or her authority through statutes passed by the General Assembly. However, following much deliberation, the Ohio House has decided to remove existing language in the budget bill pertaining to the Auditor of State’s role in Ohio’s public records review process.

All parties agree that public records play a critical role in maintaining an open and transparent government. However, many in the General Assembly do not believe the Auditor has this authority as defined by the Ohio Revised Code.

Therefore, while the language in Substitute House Bill 64 is currently being removed, the issue of a non-court-related remedy for public records disputes will likely be addressed in future legislation in order to give legislators time to study the issue in greater detail and to assess its implications.

Members of the House look forward to working with our colleagues in the Ohio Senate in the coming weeks on this important issue.

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