Monday, April 26, 2010


Ohio Representative Scott Oelslager (R=51st) has made a legislative career of carrying on a Stark County history of bringing sunshine to Ohio's governmental meetings.

Back on July 25, 2004, Mike Hanke, (now Stark County's chief administrator) as general manager of The Repository  wrote a summary of the history of Stark County's Ohio General Assembly members' initiating and fostering Ohio's sunshine law.

Hanke wrote that in the 1970s Democratic state Senator Robert Freeman sponsored and secured passage of Ohio's very first sunshine law.  Moreover, he cited Scott Oelslager for continuing Freeman's work by working on enhancements to the law over his years in the Ohio General Assembly.

It appears to the SCPR that Oelslager once again needs to go to work  to correct a loophole in the sunshine the collective sense with Ohio Revised Code Section 111.15 being the loophole in need of repair.

How's that?

In yesterday's Akron Beacon Journal, Dennis Willard wrote about an abuse of Ohio open meetings law (Finan's crazy democracy made public).  Willard writes:
"Someone has to stop Dick Finan from committing his bizarre form of democracy ever again."
The SCPR  says that the man for the job is none other than Stark's Scott Oeslager. Finan (term limited out of the Ohio General Assembly) is undoubtedly well known to Oelslager as he is a past president of the Ohio Senate. 

The Background.

Fianan is now chairman of the Capitol Square Review and Advisory Board, to wit:

Willard says that Finan as chairman of the Board is using Ohio Revised Code Section (ORC) 111.15 to govern the Board (procedurally)  whereas most of Ohio's boards use ORC 119.03.  In fact, Willard says that former chairmen of the CSRAB have used ORC 119.03.

So what is the big deal?

Well ORC 119.03 provides for public hearings and notices whereas ORC 111.15 does not.

That is a big deal for democracy-loving Ohioans.

The independent (of Republicans and Democrats) Legislative Service Commission put it this way:
''Consequently, if it is thought important for an agency to consider public input in its rule making, the Revised Code Chapter 119 rule-making procedure is chosen. If, however, it is not important for an agency to consider public input in its rule making, the R.C. 111.15 rule-making procedure may be chosen. It is probably fair to say that the majority of rules are required to be adopted under the Chapter 119 rule-making procedure,'' (emphasis added)
Willard says that the CSRAB is proposing to put a lottery terminal in the statehouse.  Think Ohioans might want to have a say in that happening?  But we won't with Finan using ORC 111.15.

While the SCPR does not think well of Oelslager's overall legislative record given his being in the Ohio General Assembly for a quarter of a century, but he has been effective on open meetings and open records legislation.

So the someone the ABJ's Willard is looking for to stop Finan should be none other than Stark County's state Rep (likely to be state Senator - come November) Scott Oelslager!

One more thought.

It is certainly terrific that Stark County has nearby access to the Akron Beacon Journal.  Here it isn't even Sunshine Week and its statehouse reporter (The Repository has none) is looking out for increasing the amount of sunshine illuminating the actions of government.

With The Repository, journalistic sunshine seems to be a "once a year" weekly event.

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