Sunshine Law course online

Published 10:23 am Tuesday, December 23, 2014


hio’s Sunshine Laws enable citizens to know how their government works. They also help keep government at all levels transparent and accountable.

My office oversees and is involved with most facets of Ohio’s public records and open meetings law through our role as the attorneys for all state agencies and universities. We also engage in outreach to assist local governments in complying with Ohio’s Sunshine Laws.

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For example, our Public Records Unit creates and updates the annual Ohio Sunshine Law Manual — also known as the “Yellow Book” — which serves as a guide for local governments and other parties interested in knowing more about these laws.

In addition, we initiated a free and voluntary public records mediation program which helps resolve, outside of court, disputes between public records requesters and local public offices. Since the program began in June, 2012, we’ve received some 170 mediation requests, resolved close to half of those cases prior to mediation, and fully or partially resolved more than 20 additional cases as a result of mediation.

Finally, the Public Records Unit develops, certifies and presents the three-hour public records training sessions all elected officials in Ohio or their designees are required to attend during each term of service.

We’ve customarily offered our Sunshine Laws Training at regional sites and presented it in person. Since 2011, we’ve conducted some 80 training sessions around the state for almost 5,400 elected officials, public employees, citizens, attorneys, journalists and others. In 2014 alone, we’ve trained nearly 1,200 attendees at our live sessions.

As we’ve conducted these training sessions, however, and answered e-mails and telephone calls – from the public, the media and even representatives from state and local government — we’ve been reminded many interested individuals aren’t necessarily able to travel and attend a three-hour course on Ohio’s Sunshine Laws.

As a result, we’ve made the Ohio Attorney General’s Office’s Sunshine Law Training available as an online video course through our website ( at no cost to the user. It’s convenient, available to anyone on-demand and, for attorneys, approved for three hours of free self-study Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credit.

The online Sunshine Laws Training breaks down the three-hour live training into 13 separate lessons. Each lesson combines a video covering important topics under the Ohio Public Records Act or Ohio Open Meetings Act with a short quiz.  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 and correctly answer the quiz questions concerning the material covered.

The training lessons can be completed at the user’s own pace, at home or in the office, and the entire three-hour training does not need to be finished in a single sitting. Users can return to the videos they’ve already watched if they have a particular interest in a specific topic.

The public’s access to government is the cornerstone of a vital and participatory democracy, and Ohio’s Sunshine Laws are among the most comprehensive open government laws in the nation. My office is dedicated to promoting open and transparent government. The new online format will make our training even more convenient and accessible for those who need or want to know about Ohio’s Sunshine Laws.

For more information about the training or about Ohio’s Sunshine Laws, go to or call 800-282-0515.


Mike DeWine is the attorney general for Ohio.