COLUMBUS — Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine has released his office’s 2013 edition of “Ohio Sunshine Laws: An Open Government Resource Manual,” also known as the “Yellow Book.” The release of the updated manual coincides with the start of National Sunshine Week, taking place from March 10-16.
“Part of our mission to protect Ohio families includes protecting the public’s right to know and to hold their government accountable,” said DeWine. “The Ohio Attorney General’s Office offers many resources to help Ohioans access open government, including our Sunshine Laws Manual, Sunshine Laws trainings and our Public Records Mediation Program.”
The Sunshine Laws Manual provides summary of Revised Code provisions and case law regarding Ohio Public Records Law and Open Meetings Law. The 2013 edition includes updates on recent open government legal decisions and law changes. It can be accessed at www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov/YellowBook.
The Ohio Attorney General’s Office offers multiple Sunshine Laws trainings throughout the year. Elected officials are required to either attend training or send a records representative to the training once per elected term. These trainings are free to attend and are open to the public and news media. A list of upcoming trainings can be found at www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov/SunshineLawTraining.
Established less than a year ago, the Ohio Attorney General’s Public Records Mediation Program provides opportunities for records requesters and local governments to resolve records disputes prior to a lawsuit. Fifty-nine requests for mediation have been made to date, with 23 matters being able to be resolved prior to mediation. Seven mediations have been completed, six successfully. In the requests for mediation that met program criteria and where the persons requesting the mediation chose to pursue their request to resolve the matter, the program has fully resolved 32 of the 38 disputes, or 84 percent.
“The Public Records Mediation Program has been a win-win for both local governments and those requesting records,” DeWine said. “Requesters get the information they seek and taxpayers avoid costly litigation.”