Voluntary Watchdogs…taking a bite out of the bureaucracy

For any budding community activist, they should be aware of the following two sections of the Ohio Revised Code.

Ohio Public Records Act:  http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/149.43
Ohio Open Meetings Act: http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/121.22

Here is a letter written by the Ohio Attorney General, Dave Yost, that is his cover letter for the Ohio Sunshine Law Manual.  Here is a link to the manual: https://lobbyistsforcitizens.com/resources/

With all of the litigation in 2019 concerning violations of the Open Meetings Act, there will probably be revisions to the Ohio Sunshine Law Manual.  We salute all the pro se litigants, and those citizens using lawyers, that are performing a tremendous service for all of the citizens of Ohio by holding the elected officials and bureaucrats accountable for their actions.

Dear Ohioans,

One of my primary responsibilities as Attorney General is to promote accountability from those who serve Ohioans.

My office fulfills this duty, in part, by empowering citizens to become voluntary watchdogs through the use of a powerful tool:  public records.  As a former newspaper reporter and State Auditor, I fully support government transparency and your right to know what goes on behind the scenes.

This 2019 Sunshine Laws Manual is assembled by my office’s Public Records Unit to be a one-stop resource on Ohio’s open-government laws, both so you know your rights and so public servants know their obligations.  This edition reflects the past year’s law changes and legal decisions affecting the Ohio Public Records and Open Meetings acts.

In addition to the manual, the Public Records Unit partners with the Ohio Auditor of State’s Office to offer free Sunshine Laws training at dozens of locations across Ohio.  Public officials or their designees are required to complete training on Ohio’s Public Records Act at least once per elected term.  An online version of the training is available, as well.

We’ve also created a model public-records policy for local governments to use as a guide when creating their own policies.  These resources and more are available on our website at www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov/Sunshine.

It’s important to note that this manual is intended as a guide.  Much of open-government law stems from the courts’ interpretation of Ohio’s Sunshine Laws.  Because of this, we encourage local governments to seek guidance from their legal counsel as specific questions arise.

I would like to express my gratitude for your interest in Ohio’s Sunshine Laws.  It is my hope that this manual will serve as a valuable resource in our shared efforts to promote transparency and ensure government accountability throughout Ohio.


Dave Yost

Attorney General

Categories: Community Activism, Uncategorized

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