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Open Book

Legislative Update

The state’s recently passed biennial budget included some changes to Ohio’s public records law. Some of the changes were within the Public Records Act itself, some are exceptions to the Public Records Act that fall under the “catch-all” exemption under R.C. 149.43(A)(1)(v), and some create a category of public records altogether. These new provisions, effective Sept. 30, 2021, are:

            Changes to what is not a “public record”:
  • R.C. 149.43(A)(1)(mm): Removed from this subsection telephone numbers of a party to a motor vehicle accident (but see 149.43(A)(1)(oo));
  • R.C. 149.43(A)(1)(nn) (new): Preneed funeral contracts (under 4717.01), contract terms and personal identifiers contained in reports submitted by or for a funeral home to the board of funeral directors and embalmers;
  • R.C. 149.43(A)(1)(oo) (new, moved mm): Phone numbers for a party to a motor vehicle accident subject to the requirements of R.C. 5502.11 that are listed on any law enforcement record or report, but these numbers become public record on and after the 30th day after the accident.
New exemptions under “catch-all” R.C. 149.43(A)(1)(v):
  • R.C. 155.33 (A)(3) (new): Makes confidential and not a public record information submitted to a state agency for an oil or natural gas development lease until a person is selected (same language present in 155.33(E) now as well).
  • R.C. 4779.33(B)(1) (new): Makes confidential and not a public record information and records received and/or generated by the Ohio occupational therapy, physical therapy and athletic trainers board pursuant to an investigation.
  • R.C. 3722.04(C) (new): Makes confidential and not a public record a final on-site survey report from the federal centers for Medicare and Medicaid services or an accrediting organization approved under 42 U.S.C. 1395bb(a) demonstrating that the hospital is certified or accredited.
New categories of public records:
  • R.C. 307.636(D) (new): Annual reports prepared by the newly established Drug Overdose Fatality Committee.
  • R.C. 307.646(D) (new): Annual reports created by the newly established Suicide Fatality Review Committee.
The “Birthday List”:
  • R.C. 149.434(A): Removes the requirement that a public office maintain a database or a list that includes the name and birthdate of all public officials and employees elected to or employed by that public office. Note: The requirement that a public office maintain a database or list of names remains in place, but the list no longer needs to include the birthdate.      
As always, the Ohio Attorney General’s Office will update next year’s Sunshine Laws Manual with these changes in the law. Please feel free to let us know how else we can support open government in Ohio: