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Political Group Joins Appeal in Ohio Public Records Case |  Ohio


(The Center Square) — A political group in Ohio wants the courts to stop keeping public documents secret and respect the laws established by the General Assembly.

The Buckeye Institute has filed an appeal brief with the Ohio Supreme Court after two courts denied a citizen’s attempt to access a traditional mail and mailing list that a small township used to send newsletters.

Christopher Hicks asserts that it is for the General Assembly, not the court, to determine what is not part of the public record.

“Increasingly, Ohio courts have relied on the judge’s administrative convenience doctrine to protect government records from the public,” said David C. Tryon, director of litigation at the Buckeye Institute. “However, it is not for the courts to invent legal doctrines to avoid the General Assembly failing to address a particular privacy issue.”

In his motion to the Supreme Court of Ohio to hear the appeal, Hicks said the case was of great public and general interest, saying that if the decisions of the Court of Claims and the 12th District of appeal were upheld, the public’s ability to monitor the government would be prohibited. .

Hicks thinks some citizens of Union Township are excluded from the newscasts.

“A dangerous precedent in an age of curation, targeting and shadow banning with the benefit of technology. A precedent that undermines not only the Public Records Act, but also the right of access to government under the 1st Amendment of the United States Constitution, and the ability of citizens to respond to government messages designed to support the government and elected officials in determining what messages to send and to whom,” Hicks wrote in the motion.

The Buckeye Institute, in its amicus brief, said the government must take a broad view of public records.

“In the absence of legislative change, governments must produce documents that adhere to the text of the Public Records Act, as liberally interpreted,” the brief states.