COLUMBUS - 

State Representative Wes Retherford (R-Hamilton) yesterday voted in favor of House Bill 46, legislation that greatly improves government transparency by making it easier for Ohioans to search state government spending during each fiscal year.


House Bill 46 requires the Treasurer of State to establish and maintain the Ohio State Government Database on the Treasurer’s website. Ohio residents would be able to use the database at no charge to track and monitor the state’s expenditures.


Rep. Retherford had this to say regarding the bill:


“There is a saying in politics, ‘Sunshine is the best disinfectant,’ and I truly believe that. Anything and everything we can do to make our government more transparent and open to the public is a good thing. Allowing any citizen of this great state to search and review expenditures will allow them to raise concerns over the questionable checks written. We can work together to hold those folks accountable. I can not imagine why anyone would be opposed to transparency and openness and if there are elected officials opposed to this, I would suggest looking at them with great suspicion.”


In December 2014, current State Treasurer Josh Mandel unveiled a similar database known as OhioCheckbook.com, which provides the public access to how state tax dollars are being spent. However, under existing law, the online database could be taken down by a future treasurer. House Bill 46 would permanently implement that service into statute, and thereby ensure that future state treasurer’s would maintain that resource, regardless of political affiliation.


The bill specifies that the website:



  • Include certain information with specific search and filter options

  • Provide charts and graphs to be created by the Treasurer’s Office

  • Allow public comment on the database’s functionality and utility

  • Not include confidential information or information that is not recognized under state law as a public record


House Bill 46 now heads to the Senate for further consideration.

 
 
 
  
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