COLUMBUS — Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine recently released the 2017 edition of Ohio Sunshine Laws: An Open Government Resource Manual, along with a complete update to the Online Sunshine Laws Training. The release of the manual, commonly referred to as the “Yellow Book,” and the updated training coincide with the beginning of National Sunshine Week.
“Sunshine Week promotes open and transparent government meetings and records,” said Attorney General DeWine. “Our ‘Yellow Book’ and other online content are published to help records requesters understand their rights and for government agencies to understand their obligations 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 2017 edition includes updates on recent open government legal decisions and law changes, including a new remedy available to public records requesters in the Court of Claims of Ohio. In addition, the 2017 electronic addition now includes clickable bookmarks to allow readers to quickly jump to the topic they are interested in. It can be accessed at www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov/YellowBook.
Along with the release of the 2017 edition of the “Yellow Book,” the Ohio Attorney General’s Public Records Unit recently created an improved and updated version of the Online Sunshine Laws Training, which is now available to the public and can be accessed at https://SunshineLaw.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov/.
The updated Online Sunshine Laws Training breaks down the three-hour live training into thirteen separate lessons, plus an introduction video featuring the Attorney General. Each lesson combines a new video with new quiz questions covering important topics under the Ohio Public Records Act or Ohio Open Meetings Act. Each of the training lessons was re-filmed and features a member of the Attorney General’s Public Records Unit. Topics cover the length and breadth of the Ohio Sunshine Laws, from defining a public record to appropriate redactions before release. To complete the training, users must watch each video lesson in its entirety, correctly answer the quiz questions concerning the material covered, and fill out an evaluation providing feedback on the quality of the training.
The training lessons can be completed at the user’s own pace, and the entire three-hour training does not need to be completed in a single sitting. Users are able to return to the videos they have completed if a specific topic is of particular interest. The online training is approved for CLE credit, as are live Sunshine Laws trainings, and can be completed at home or in the office.
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.