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Lawmakers OK public-records law



Published: Wed, December 20, 2006 @ 12:00 a.m.



By JEFF ORTEGA

VINDICATOR CORRESPONDENT

COLUMBUS -- The GOP-led Legislature gave final approval Tuesday to a bill that backers say would help improve public-records laws.

By a 52-39 vote, House lawmakers approved the measure, sponsored by state Rep. Scott Oelslager, a Canton Republican. The Ohio Senate has already approved the measure.

"This is a step in the right direction to keep public records open to the public," said Oelslager.

According to a legislative analysis, the measure would revise the state's open records law and expand the definition of a public record, and would require public officials to comply with their obligations under that law.

The measure would also require all elected officials or their appropriate designees to attend three hours of training for every term of office, according to the analysis.

On the question of open access to concealed-carry gun permits, current law allows only journalists to access the records. The approved bill says reporters may look at the records but not get copies.

A provision for a public-records ombudsman to arbitrate public records disputes was stripped from the measure in the Ohio Senate amid concerns with the creation of a new bureaucracy and with the potential new costs.

Outgoing Republican Gov. Bob Taft will have to look at the specific provisions of the measure, spokesman Mark Rickel said.




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