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House Passes Legislation to Improve Ohio's Legal Transparency, Accountability

April 29, 2015
Republican Newsroom

Press Release Poster

State Representative Jim Butler (R-Oakwood) today announced the passage of Senate Bill 38, legislation that works to ensure transparency, improve accountability and protect taxpayer money in  regards to legal situations and contracts between state and private attorneys.

“Senate Bill 38 ensures that when the Attorney General chooses to hire private attorneys to represent Ohio and its citizens, the reasons for doing so, and the results, are transparent,” Butler said. “It will also ensure that future litigation initiated by the state is in the public’s best interest.  I have worked closely with Senator Seitz on this legislation, and I would like to thank him for his leadership on this important issue.”

The bill would prohibit the state from entering into a contingency fee contract with a private attorney without written consent from the Attorney General that confirms that the representation is cost-efficient and that it works for the good of the public. Among the components in the bill is a $50 million cap on contingency fees, exclusive of reasonable costs and expenses. Any contingency fees exceeding the $50 million cap would require approval by the state’s Controlling Board.

Additionally, this bill guarantees that the public can view contingency fee contracts between state and private attorneys online at the Attorney General’s website until at least three year’s after they expire. The Attorney General will also be required to submit an annual report to the Senate President and Speaker of the House, which would outline the use of private attorney contracts.

Senate Bill 38 now awaits consideration by the governor.