COLUMBUS — Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine released the 2016 edition of Ohio Sunshine Laws: An Open Government Resource Manual.
The release of the manual, commonly referred to as the “Yellow Book,” coincides with the beginning of Sunshine Week.
“A substantial number of public records disputes arise because one of the parties involved is not aware of their obligations when a request is made,” DeWine said. “The ‘Yellow Book’ is published to help requesters understand their rights and for government agencies to understand their duties under Ohio’s Sunshine Laws.”
The Sunshine Laws Manual provides summaries of Revised Code provisions and case law regarding the Ohio Public Records Act and Open Meetings Act. The 2016 edition includes updates on recent open government legal decisions and law changes.
In addition, the 2016 electronic addition now includes numerous hyperlinks to cited court decisions and other online resources to help users find information more quickly. It can be accessed at www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov/YellowBook.
In addition to producing the “Yellow Book,” the Ohio Attorney General’s Public Records Unit conducts Sunshine Laws Trainings at dozens of locations around Ohio. The training on Ohio Public Records Act is required for local public officials or their designee at least once per elected term and also includes training on the Open Meetings Act. These trainings are also open to the public and media. A list of trainings can be found at www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov/SunshineLawTraining.
Sunshine Laws Trainings are also available as an online video course. The course is available to anyone through the Attorney General’s website at no cost to the user and is approved for three hours of self-study Continuing Legal Education credit by the Supreme Court of Ohio. The online training can be accessed at https://SunshineLaw.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov/
The Ohio Attorney General’s Public Records Unit also operates a voluntary Public Records Mediation Program to resolve disputes between local government entities and records requesters. Established in 2012, the program can help requesters receive their records more quickly when there is a dispute, and the program protects taxpayers by helping local governments avoid costly litigation. Information on this program can be found at www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov/PublicRecordsMediation.