To Chairman Manning, Vice Chair McColley, Ranking Member Thomas, and members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, thank you for this opportunity to provide written proponent testimony for House Bill 567.
The ACLU of Ohio supports HB 567 for the transparency its passage will provide to the public and stakeholders with regard to court documents and the actions of judges. In this particular instance, HB 567 requires local courts of common pleas to post their civil dockets online as well as well as the corresponding, individual documents in each civil case file.
In an increasingly digital and online world, Ohioans have understandably come to except greater availability and access to all kinds of information of various types, including court records.
Thankfully, many government entities, departments and agencies, including courts, have responded over the years by publicly posting unprecedented amounts of data and documents. This is an extremely positive and ongoing development. The more informed Ohioans are about their government and public policy, the better we all are, individually and collectively.
The ACLU of Ohio hopes this will someday all lead to a centralized database so trends over time in civil (among other) cases, across Ohio, will be researched, examined, and revealed.
Until then, we believe the bipartisan House Bill 567 is worthy of this committee's support and the ACLU of Ohio urges its passage.