Ohio Open Records Bill Signed Into Law Becomes Effective April 7

The following announcement was written by Jan Meisels Allen, Chairperson of the IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee:

Former [Ohio] Governor John Kasich signed HB 139 into law on January 7, that lifts public access restrictions on records for permanent retention 75 years after their creation. It also permits a birth parent to have their name redacted from an original birth certificate. Certain types of records are excepted from the 75-year rule. Some records are subject to court rulings statewide, such as adoption records, probation and parole proceedings, confidential law enforcement investigatory records, DNA records stored in the DNA database, and court lunacy records. The current ruling by the Ohio Supreme Court says that it is up to each county judge as to whether or not the records are open in the respective county.

The law may be found at: https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislation/legislation-summary?id=GA132-HB-139 (click on view current version and a pdf will download to your computer.)

Note: There are no waiting periods for birth and death records ordered through the Ohio Department of Health. Marriage records may be ordered through the specific county probate court. See: https://odh.ohio.gov/wps/portal/gov/odh/know-our-programs/vital-statistics/vital-statistics

One Comment

The Ohio law on “lunacy records,” which as indicated in your post, was not touched by this new statute is itself “loony.” I have a g2aunt who died at the Athens Lunatic Asylum in the 1890s. I can not legally get access to the records, because I’m not a direct lineal descendant. Luckily, I now have contact with a direct lineal descendant who can legally request copies of the records. I was able to find, through other means, her admitting diagnosis — “senile dementia.”


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