Public information belongs to the public

Lawmakers in Columbus surely have been failures when it comes to revamping school funding or helping this region overcome the "Rust
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010

Lawmakers in Columbus surely have been failures when it comes to revamping school funding or helping this region overcome the "Rust Belt" status that's lingered for decades.

But when it comes to the first amendment, keeping secrets from Ohioans seems to be a top priority in Columbus. Lawmakers seem obsessed by their ability to chip away at this important federal guarantee.

And there's not a Thomas Jefferson or Benjamin Franklin in the bunch.

Since September 2001, the Ohio Legislature has found numerous ways to hide public information. If but only they would expend as much energy to making the state economically and educationally competitive as they do in kow-towing to lobbyists.

From hiding information in coroner reports to giving a blanket exemptions from the public record for public employees, for foster parents and a host of other special interests, lawmakers say "how high" when lobbyists with campaign cash say "jump."

The attack on the first amendment is relentless. Now they want to keep recordings of 911 calls out of earshot. The right of the people to hear for themselves be damned.

Beware when your government starts telling you its for your own good. What these lawmakers are doing is creating two classes: One group that has access to information -- and a second group that does not.

State lawmakers need to respect the wisdom of our Founding fathers and stop keeping secrets from Ohioans.