The Ohio Attorney General released the 2014 Sunshine Laws Manual (the “Yellow Book”) this week. The Yellow Book serves as a guide for Ohio’s public records and open meetings laws. Recent developments regarding the public records and open meetings laws included in the 2014 Yellow Book are:

  • The Ohio Supreme Court’s ruling that a member of the public who does not receive requested public records in a reasonable period of time only has the right to attorney fees when the government office defied a court order. State ex rel. DiFranco v. The City of S. Euclid, Slip Opinion No. 2104-Ohio-539
  • Franklin County Common Pleas determination that an executive session is not authorized for purposes of attorney-client privilege merely because the political subdivision’s legal counsel is in the room. Dispatch Printing Co. v. Columbus City School Dist. Bd. Of Edn., Franklin C. P. No. 12CVH10-12707 (February 20, 2014)
  • Ohio Attorney General opinion finding that a public office may not charge a fee for requesters to view or use their own equipment to print a public record posted online. Instead, a public office may only charge a fee when actually making and delivering copies of documents to the requester. 2014 Ohio Op. Att’y Gen. No. 009
  • The Ohio Supreme Court’s ruling that proprietary software needed to access stored public records is not a public record in itself even if it is “inextricably intertwined” with such public records. The requester must pay duplicating fees to obtain a copy of such public records. State ex rel. Gambill v. Opperman, 135 Ohio St.3d 298 (2013)

The 2014 Yellow Book is a helpful resource for all political subdivisions in Ohio and is available for download here.