Public ''Record'' Definition Ohio

The purpose of the Ohio Public Records Act "is to expose government activity to public scrutiny, which is absolutely essential to the proper working of a democracy." State ex rel. Gannett Satellite Network, Inc. v. Petro (1997), 80 Ohio St.3d 261, 264, 685 N.E.2d 1223, citing State ex rel. WHIO-TV-7 v. Lowe (1997), 77 Ohio St.3d 350, 355, 673 N.E.2d 1360. Furthermore, the Ohio Supreme Court has held that R.C. 149.43 must be liberally construed in favor of broad access, with any doubt resolved in favor of disclosure of public records. State ex rel. Wadd v. Cleveland (1998), 81 Ohio St.3d 50, 51-52, 689 N.E.2d 25. The Ohio Supreme Court has established an actual use standard in determining whether an item constitutes a "record" for purposes of Ohio's public records law. State ex. rel. Beacon Journal Publishing Co. v. Whitmore (1998), 83 Ohio St.3d 61, 697 N.E.2d 640. The definition of "records" in R.C. 149.011(G) has been construed to encompass "anything a governmental unit utilizes to carry out its duties and responsibilities." State ex rel Mazzaro v. Ferguson (1990), 49 Ohio St.3d 37, 39, 550 N.E.2d 464, quoting State ex rel. Jacobs v. Prudoff (1986), 30 Ohio App.3d 89, 92, 506 N.E.2d 927. The fact that a public office could use the document to carry out its duties and responsibilities is not enough to bring a document within the scope of the definition of records. Id.