Bookmark this page on your mobile

QR Code image

What is this?

Daily Court Reporter - News Proposed bill designed to bring transparency to local election campaign finances


Proposed bill designed to bring transparency to local election campaign finances

KEITH ARNOLD, Daily Reporter Staff Writer

The promise of transparency in government has been bandied about during the last several election cycles, both nationally and locally.

In keeping with the political movement, a bill that is designed to bring transparency to election campaign financing was reported out of committee in the Ohio Senate last week.

"The concept is pretty straightforward," Sen. Frank LaRose, R-Hudson, said of Senate Bill 44. "This bill will update Ohio's campaign finance law to allow local entities to join a system that has operated smoothly for over 15 years.

"There is no good reason to deny the public the opportunity to view local campaign finance reports online when state reports are already available."

Existing Ohio law does not authorize Ohio county boards of elections to permit electronic filing, even on a voluntary basis, LaRose said.

Unlike the Ohio Secretary of State, which manages an online campaign finance reporting system for candidates and campaign committees that file with that office, local boards of elections are not authorized to do the same.

SB 44 would remove the paper-only filing requirement that still regulates political candidates and campaign committees that file with local boards of elections.

The lawmaker sponsored a similar bill during the 131st General Assembly of the Ohio Legislature, but it failed to clear the Ohio House of Representatives.

In addition to support offered by the League of Women Voters of Ohio and the Ohio News Media Association, SB 44 has garnered endorsements from the Ohio Association of Election Officials and Cleveland-based nonprofit OpenNEO.

Aaron Ockerman, executive director of the Ohio Association of Election Officials, told senators seated on the Government Oversight and Reform Committee that the bill would be beneficial to county election boards for a couple of reasons.

"By filing the reports electronically, the information contained in those reports will be immediately and much more easily searchable and accessible to the public," Ockerman said. "Reducing paper work for boards of elections will help us be more efficient and eliminate the hassle of dealing with many pieces of paper."

The bill would open the same database to county boards of elections, creating access to campaign finance reports for state and local candidates in the same place for those candidates who file electronically.

In the event the office sought by a candidate pays less than $5,000 annually, the candidate raises less than $2,000 or raises no more than $100 from any single donor, a candidate would be excluded from the online filing requirement.

OpenNEO Executive Director Jill Miller Zimon told senators three of the most populous counties in the state do not have campaign finance archives online. The counties she mentioned are Hamilton, Stark, and Lorain, which collectively serve more than 1.5 million residents.

"Most notably, however, not one of these ten counties posts data in machine-readable or searchable formats," she continued. "What SB 44 seeks to make standard for those county boards of election is the standard already in use at the secretary of state level of campaign finance reporting: Electronic submission of campaign finance records that is then machine readable and searchable through a very user-friendly database."

The House has yet to take up the measure, though Democrat Rep. Emilia Strong Sykes of Akron already has signed on as cosponsor of the bipartisan bill.

Sykes joins 13 senators to cosponsor the measure.

Date Published: March 22, 2017


Copyright © 2017 The Daily Reporter - All Rights Reserved


Child support attorney wins statewide award

Adam Fohlen, Managing Attorney for Montgomery County’s Child Support Enforcement Agency, recently received the Key to Our Success award from the Ohio Child Support Director’s Association (OCDA).

The Cincinnati Zoo’s Baby Fiona update

On Thursday, March 16 Fiona ate hay for the first time! Not just any hay, but hay that had been pre-chewed by her mom. Bibi’s saliva helps exposes Fiona’s gut to the good healthy bacteria that will help her body process vegetation. Fiona’s mouth is producing extra saliva to help with swallowing and digestion. She doesn’t have molars yet, so the saliva starts breaking down the hay and makes it soft enough to swallow.

University of Dayton will provide up to $500,000 to faculty and staff for research

The University of Dayton College of Arts and Sciences, School of Engineering and Hanley Sustainability Institute, will provide up to $500,000 to support faculty and staff research in science, technology, engineering and math the next two summers.

WSU’s College of Nursing & Health programs ranked among best in the nation

U.S. News & World Report has ranked Wright State University’s Master of Nursing program as among the best graduate education programs in the nation in 2018.

Accident Investigation Board determines maintenance error damaged JSTARS aircraft

Drain holes in the radome of an E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (JSTARS) aircraft were left covered after depot maintenance allowing water to accumulate and damage some of the aircraft's electrical systems, according to a recently released Air Force Materiel Command Accident Investigation Board report. AFMC administered the contract while the plane underwent depot maintenance.

WSU’s Davis selected to Slam Dunk Championship

Wright State’s Steven Davis has been selected to the Slam Dunk Championship roster for the 29th annual State Farm College Slam Dunk & 3-Point Championships at Grand Canyon University Arena in Phoenix on Thursday, March 30, Intersport announced. Davis is one of eight men’s college basketball players selected for the event that will air live on ESPN at 10 p.m. ET. He was invited to take part in the Slam Dunk Championship after being recognized as one of the nation’s finest slam dunk performers.

University of Dayton hoops season ticket deposits being accepted

Season ticket deposits are now being accepted for the 2017-18 men's basketball campaign online through My Account Manager and at the UD ProSource Ticket Office.

Supreme Court of Ohio: Justices will hear strip club case as high court hits the road

The Ohio Supreme Court will take its show on the road next month as it hears oral arguments in three cases in Morgan County on April 6.

Attorney reprimanded for forging client's signature

The Ohio Supreme Court has issued a public reprimand for a Westerville attorney who lied to a tribunal.

Ohio man sentenced to more than six years in prison for $420,000 fraud involving concert tickets

A Bay Village man was sentenced to more than six years in prison for fraudulently buying concert and event tickets worth hundreds of thousands of dollars with stolen credit cards and then reselling them, law enforcement officials said.

Team building? Of course there's an app for that

It seems counterintuitive that the smartphone, often blamed for causing its operator to direct his gaze downward, ignoring the environs around him and anyone inhabiting them, could be used as a team building tool.

Springtime is the time to be prepared for what Mother Nature can bring

Ohio weather can be unpredictable, but it doesn’t have to be surprising

Plan would make it illegal to demand money to remove mugshots from websites

A measure that would make it a criminal offense for mugshot tabloid publications and websites to demand payment to remove, correct, modify or refrain from publishing details of an individual's criminal record cleared the Ohio House of Representatives recently.

Proposed legislation designed to make it easier to cast in-person absentee votes

Prompted by a working relationship with the Ohio Association of Elections Officials, a Marysville lawmaker has sponsored legislation to update a variety of voter laws she believes are in the best interest of all Ohio voters.

Auditor Yost to hold cyber fraud prevention training throughout Ohio

With cyberattacks on governments increasing, Auditor Dave Yost has announced a series of training seminars to help local government leaders in Ohio combat cyberattacks. Already, more than 560 local officials have registered for the free training.

Ohio State grad programs rank high in mag's annual list

U.S. News & World Report's latest edition of America's Best Graduate Schools gives high marks to several Ohio State University graduate and professional programs, including a No. 1 ranking to the technical-vocational education program.

Attorney General DeWine warns more tax scams reported as filing deadline nears

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine recently warned that more consumers are reporting tax-related scams with about four weeks remaining until the April 18 filing deadline.

Real estate contracts: Be careful when using email and voicemail

Q: I thought a real estate contract couldn’t be enforced unless it was in writing, but a friend just told me I could make a contract through email or voicemail. Is that true?

Supreme Court of Ohio requires thorough explanation of senior housing complexes’ tax values

The Ohio Board of Tax Appeals (BTA) failed to indicate that it considered the local school district’s criticism of tax valuations for two Grove City senior housing complexes, and the board must explain its decision in more detail, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled recently.

More flexibility sought in Ohio's bail system

A special committee of the Ohio Criminal Sentencing Commission presented its recommendations to reform Ohio bail and pretrial services at the commission's quarterly meeting on Thursday, March 16th.