COLUMBUS — As part of his continuing efforts to promote government transparency, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost has released the 2022 edition of the Sunshine Laws Manual.
Released to coincide with national Sunshine Week, the manual is a one-stop resource to help public officials and citizens understand their rights and responsibilities under the Ohio Public Records and Open Meetings Acts.
“You can’t have government of the people, by the people and for the people if the people don’t know what their government is doing,” Yost said. “That’s why we need transparency in government. Transparency builds trust. We in government need to build trust with the people we serve.”
Sunshine Week has been around only since 2005, but government openness dates back to the Founding Fathers. The week always falls on James Madison’s birthday, March 16 — better known as Freedom of Information Day.
The manual, commonly known as the “Yellow Book,” is updated annually by the attorney general’s Public Records Unit to reflect the previous year’s law changes and legal decisions affecting Ohio’s open government laws.
Public officials or their designees are required to complete training on Ohio’s Public Records Act at least once per elected term. To meet that need, and to educate the public, the Public Records Unit offers free Sunshine Laws training at locations across the state. Training dates are open for registration now. In addition, the Public Records Unit also created a model public records request policy for local governments to use as a guide when creating their own policies.
As just one example of that commitment, the Attorney General’s Office publishes on its website the complete investigative files for fatal officer-involved critical incidents once a case is closed.
For the latest updates Ohio’s Sunshine Laws — including guidance on open meetings for public bodies during the COVID-19 pandemic — sign up for the “Open Book” newsletter at https://www.ohioattorneygeneral.gov/Media/Newsletters/Open-Book.