Ohio’s Open Records and Open Meetings laws, collectively known as the “Sunshine Laws,” give Ohioans access to government meetings and records. The Ohio Attorney General’s Office helps public officials and citizens understand their rights and responsibilities under these laws.
The Public Records (PRU) is housed in the Constitutional Offices Section
and consists of attorneys, a paralegal and a legal secretary. The PRU receives inquiries from fellow AGO employees, clients, constituents, public officers and media, and provides guidance and non-legal advice to these individuals and offices regarding the Ohio Public Records Act and Ohio Open Meetings Act. The Unit assists with the processing of public records requests received by the Attorney General’s Office.
The Attorney General’s Office provides Sunshine Law Training, which is a free training for public officials and others interested in open government and open meetings. The office also created a Model open records policy that it employs internally. Local governments and institutions can adopt it or use it as a guide to create their own open records policies.
Additionally, the office publishes a manual about Ohio’s open government laws known as the “Sunshine Laws Manual or “Yellow Book”, which can help answer questions about these laws. This booklet is intended as guide, but because much of open government law comes from case law or the interpretation of statutes by the courts, we encourage local governments to seek guidance from their legal counsel when specific legal questions about these laws arise.
The Ohio Attorney General’s Office provides a free program to help public records requesters and local governments resolve disputes through mediated discussion, education, and cooperation. The Mediation Program is a voluntary and confidential process in which a mediator who is well-versed in Ohio’s public records laws helps the disputing parties through a process to identify the parties’ issues and interests, with the goal of finding a mutually acceptable solution.
The Public Records Unit can be reached at 614-466-2872.