URGENT! Model Ohio Bill Threatens Public Access
Apr 22, 2003 16:06 PDT
(Forwarded from ACRL Scholarly Communications list)
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Subject: Fwd: Fwd: URGENT! Egregious OH bill threatens public access
Date: Tue, 22 Apr 2003 09:47:15 -0700 (PDT)
To: "ACRL Scholarly Communication T.F." <SCHOLfirstname.lastname@example.org>
Please excuse any duplication. Librarians in Ohio will want to contact
their state legislators immediately regarding this bill. Others will need
to look out for the possible introduction of similar legislation in their
Thanks for taking action in this effort.
Visiting Program Officer for Scholarly Communication
Association of College and Research Libraries
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**Please excuse the duplication.**
| ||Mary Alice Baish <email@example.com> 04/21/03 06:57PM >>>
**Please redistribute broadly.**
I just learned from law librarians in Ohio about an immediate legislative
crisis there. H.B. 145, the Electronic Government Services Act, would
prevent state agencies from providing access to information. It has been
added to the budget bill which has already passed the House.
This is model legislation promoted by a group called ALEC (American
Legislative Exchange Council, www.alec.org) that was introduced last year
in a handful of states, including Ohio, and was successfully stopped.
H.B. 145 is now an add on to the budget bill, H.B. 95. It prohibits a state
government agency from providing information if there are two or more
competing private enterprises providing those services. That would mean that
a government agency would not be allowed to post its regulations or decision
on its Web site if, for example, Lexis, WestLaw, or other companies offer
that information for sale.
This year's version of the bill exempts the Ohio Supreme Court and
Legislature where much of the opposition last year focused. However, state
agencies would be impacted by the legislation and agency information that is
now available at no cost on agency Web sites will likely disappear if HB 145
Here's a link to the bill:
Section 1306.20 Paragraph (I) defines "state agency" as "every organized
body, office, or agency established by the laws of the state for the
exercise of any function of state government, but does not include the
general assembly, any legislative agency, the supreme court, the other
courts of record in this state, or any judicial agency."
Section 1306.25 (E)(1) further includes under "state agency" "similar agency
of a county, township, municipal corporation, or other political
subdivision,..." It then substantially limits their ability to publish
electronically. While H.B. 145 is not as onerous as the previously withdrawn
H.B. 482 of last year, it is a huge threat to public access.
This bill threatens the right of residents in Ohio from accessing state
government information, created with their tax dollars, at no cost through
the Internet. It is an abhorrent model that must be stopped short. Please
get involved, especially if you have members in Ohio who can respond
immediately to this serious threat.
Mary Alice Baish
American Association of Law Libraries
Associate Washington Affairs Representative
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