Editorial: New videos on sunshine laws are great idea

Editorial from the Canton Repository Ohioans probably don’t pay much attention to the state’s “sunshine laws” until they need to use them. If they do need to use them, it should be a hassle-free process. A collaboration between Attorney General Mike DeWine’s office and the Ohio State Bar Foundation may help to make it so.

DeWine’s office has posted to its website eight videos that explain Ohio’s public records and open meetings laws. The videos “will help people appreciate what the laws are, why we have them and how they promote fairness,” according to Stephen F. Tilson, president of the foundation, which provided the funding.

Basics covered by the videos include:

  • Which agencies and documents are covered by the laws
  • How to request a public record
  • When a public board or commission can go into executive (private) session
  • How to use the attorney general’s mediation program to resolve disputes involving public records and meetings.

We always tend to think primarily about the rights of the citizens who are on the receiving end of these access laws, as they’re the ones who attend the meetings and request public documents. And when you get right down to it, they’re the owners of the records and the reason the meetings are held.

But the videos will be a service to elected officials and public employees, too — the people who conduct the meetings and maintain the records.

The videos are a great idea with timeless value. You can see them at www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov.

Click on “Ohio Sunshine Laws” under “Legal Community.”