Ohio Open Government Laws
Did you know that in addition to Federal Sunshine Laws, states have enacted their own state-level Sunshine Laws? Ohio’s Sunshine Laws include the Public Records Act and the Open Meetings Act. These laws can be found in the Ohio Revised Code, and give the public access to government meetings and records. Ohio has had open records laws on the books since 1963.
Currently, under ORC 149.43 public records, meaning records kept by any public office, must be made available for inspection by any member of the public, upon request. However, this law includes numerous exceptions that exempt certain types of records from inspection, such as medical records and confidential law enforcement records. Open meetings are covered by ORC 121.22, which requires public officials to conduct official business and take official action only at meetings that are open to the public. However, this law also includes exceptions to the requirement.
The Ohio Attorney General’s Office provides Sunshine Laws Certification Training and publishes an annual Sunshine Laws Manual. The training session is approved for 3.00 CLE hours. Training sessions are held around the state. For more information and registration, click here.
You may also be interested in News and Resources available from the Ohio Coalition for Open Government. According to its website, the Coalition “serves as a clearinghouse for media and citizen grievances that involve open meetings and open records, and offers guidance to reporters in local government situations.” The Coalition also monitors officials for compliance with open records and meetings laws.