The Ohio Revised Code contains more than 400 separate statutory provisions addressing public records. Many of them make specific kinds of records exempt from the mandatory public access requirements of the public records statute. Many of those exemptions are listed below.
1. Citizen reward programs. Private organizations receiving public funds and named as official county programs to reward citizens who provide tips leading to the solving of crimes. Ohio Rev. Code § 9.92.
2. Securities. Records of the ownership, registration, transfer, and exchange of securities are not public records, nor are the records of the financial institution or person who issued the securities. Ohio Rev. Code § 9.96. Information obtained by the division of securities is not available except to those having a direct economic interest in the information. Ohio Rev. Code § 1707.12; State ex rel. Cincinnati Enquirer, Div. of Gannett Satellite Info. Network Inc. v. Joyce, 97 Ohio St. 3d 192, 777 N.E.2d 253 (2002) (complaints lodged with the Ohio Division of Securities are not public records).
3. Ohio ethics commission complaints, investigations. All papers relating the proceedings of the Ohio ethics commission are private and confidential, except where the accused person also requests that the evidence and record of a hearing before the commission be made public. Ohio Rev. Code § 102.06
4. Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation ("BCI") records. Information and material furnished to or procured by the superintendent of BCI concerning persons convicted of crimes, and known and habitual criminals. Information acquired by the superintendent as part of the Ohio Law Enforcement Gateway which is a data processing system for the storage and retrieval of information, data, and statistics regarding criminals. Information acquired by the superintendent of BCI in investigation of potential employees of other governmental agencies is confidential. Ohio Rev. Code § 109.57(D).
5. Investigatory records of the Ohio Attorney General generated in the course of investigations to enforce consumer protection laws or investigations of charitable foundations. Ohio Rev. Code §§ 1345.05(A)(7); 109.28.
6. Preliminary audits by the Auditor of the State. Until the state auditor files an audit report with certain officials of other state agencies, the audit reports produced by the auditor are not public records. Ohio Rev. Code §§ 117.14, 117.15, 117.26.
7. Attorney-client privilege. All statements covered by the attorney-client privilege held by a public defender are not public records. All information obtained by the public defender in determining if a person is indigent is not public record. Ohio Rev. Code § 120.38. The attorney-client privilege applies to records containing communications between members of a public office and its counsel about the legal advice given. State ex rel. Thomas v. Ohio State Univ., 71 Ohio St. 3d 245, 643 N.E.2d 126 (1994). Preliminary drafts of public documents reflecting information provided by an attorney and the legal advice flowing from that information are protected. State ex rel. Benesch Friedlander, Coplan & Arnoff LLP v. City of Rossford, 140 Ohio App. 3d 149, 746 N.E.2d 1139 (Wood App. 2000). The attorney-client privilege applies to in-house counsel at state agencies, even if they do not serve under the Office of the Attorney General. State ex rel. Leslie v. Ohio Hous. Fin. Agency, 105 Ohio St.3d 261, 824 N.E.2d 990 (2005). Further, the privilege does not except the fee charged or time spent by a government attorney. State ex rel. Beacon Journal Publishing Company v. Bodiker, 134 Ohio App. 3d 415, 731 N.E.2d 245 (Franklin App. 1999).
8. Minority business loan financial data. Financial statements and data submitted for minority business enterprise loans are not public records. Ohio Rev. Code § 122.74(C)(2).
9. Retirement benefits for individual retirees. The amount of a monthly allowance or benefit paid to a retiree, beneficiary, or survivor from the public employees retirement board is not a public record, along with specified other information related to public employment retirement benefits. Ohio Rev. Code §§ 145.27, 3307.20 (teachers), 3309.22 (school employees), 5505.04 (state highway patrol).
10. Personal history record (name, address, telephone, Social Security number, etc.) of any member of the Ohio Police and Firemen's Pension Fund. Ohio Rev. Code § 742.41.
11. Organized crime task force records. Information gathered by the organized crime task force is a confidential law enforcement investigatory record for purposes of the public records statute. Ohio Rev. Code § 177.03.
12. Income, estate, and property tax returns. Except pursuant to judicial order, tax returns are confidential. Ohio Rev. Code §§ 718.13 (municipal), 5703.21 (audits), 5711.10 (submission of verified federal income tax return in lieu of listing income yielding investments), 5711.101 (financial statement or balance sheet of a business required to be filed), 5731.90 (estate taxes).
13. Geological investigations. The chief of the division of geological survey may treat as confidential the records of his investigation of geological or mineralogical conditions of the state. Ohio Rev. Code § 1505.03.
14. Mining test borings. Results of test boring submitted by applicants to engage in surface mining are confidential, except in legal actions in which the truthfulness of the information is material. Ohio Rev. Code § 1514.02.
15. Credit union proceedings. All conferences and administrative proceedings of the superintendent of credit unions regarding credit unions are confidential. Ohio Rev. Code § 1733.327.
16. Information acquired by an agent of the Public Utilities Common of Ohio with respect to the "transaction, property, or business" of any public utility. Ohio Rev. Code § 4901.16.
17. Records of employer's annual report to the Ohio Industrial Commission of the number of employees employed and their aggregate wages. Ohio Rev. Code § 4123.27.
18. Antitrust investigation. Materials provided to the Attorney General pursuant to an investigative demand under Ohio's antitrust law. Ohio Rev. Code § 1331.16(L).
19. Records pertaining to mentally retarded or other developmentally disabled person for whom the Ohio Department of Mental Retardation is acting as guardian. Ohio Rev. Code § 5123.57.
20. Information that would identify a person who provides to a board of education information about theft of or damage to school property. Ohio Rev. Code § 3313.173.
21. School pupils. Personally identifiable information concerning any pupils attending public school. Ohio Rev. Code § 3319.321.
22. Farmer information. Information furnished annually to the Ohio Director of Agriculture by farmers. Ohio Rev. Code § 917.17.
23. Arrested juveniles. Records of the arrest of juveniles and their photos are not public records unless the act alleged to have been committed by the arrested juvenile would be a felony if committed by an adult. Ohio Rev. Code § 2151.313.
24. Juvenile probation reports. Reports and records of the probation department of juvenile courts are not public. Ohio Rev. Code 2151.14.
25. Juvenile court records. Juv. R. P. 37(B). But see State ex rel. Scripps Howard Broad. Co. v. Cuyahoga Common Pleas Court, Juv. Div., 73 Ohio St. 3d 19, 652 N.E.2d 179 (1995) (Juv. R. 37(B) violates state and federal constitutions by allowing juvenile court to withhold transcript of proceeding that was open to the public).
26. Victim impact statements. Statements filed with the court about the impact of a crime are not available to the public. Ohio Rev. Code §§ 2947.051.
27. Child abuse records. Records of complaints and investigations of child abuse and neglect are confidential. Ohio Rev. Code § 2151.421(H).
28. Hospital quality assurance and peer review records. Information made available to a quality assurance committee or utilization committee of a hospital is confidential, as are records of hospital boards or committees reviewing professional qualifications of present or prospective members of the hospital medical staff. Ohio Rev. Code §§ 2305.24, 2305.252; State ex rel. Fostoria Daily Review Co. v. Fostoria Hosp. Ass'n, 44 Ohio St. 3d 111, 541 N.E.2d 587 (1989).
29. Search warrant hearing. Any transcript or recording of a hearing over whether the statutory precondition for nonconsensual entry by a law enforcement officer may be waived is not public until the search warrant is returned. Ohio Rev. Code § 2933.231.
30. Tuition credits. Records identifying the purchaser or beneficiary of tuition credits or college savings bonds are not public records. Ohio Rev. Code § 3334.11.
31. HIV test results. Identities of those being tested for HIV and results of an HIV test are not available to the public. Ohio Rev. Code §§ 3701.243, 3701.241.
32. Donor for artificial insemination. Records related to the non-spousal donor for artificial insemination are available only to the recipient and the recipient's husband. Ohio Rev. Code § 3111.94.
33. Trade secrets. Air pollution control processes and water pollution control processes for which confidentiality has been maintained are trade secrets. Ohio Rev. Code §§ 3704.08, 3706.20, 6111.05, 6123.20.
The Ohio Uniform Trade Secrets Act, Ohio Rev. Code §§ 1333.61 - 1333.69, defines a "person" who can have trade secrets to include "governmental entities." Ohio Rev. Code § 1333.61(C). Accordingly, the court has held that governmental entities can have their own trade secrets, such as financial information generated by a government-owned medical system. State ex rel. Besser v. Ohio State Univ., 87 Ohio St. 3d 535, 721 N.E.2d 1044 (2000).
34. Birth records. Where a birth record is changed and a new birth record issued, the original birth record is not available for inspection except by court order. Following adoption, a new birth record is issued and the original birth record ceases to be a public record. Ohio Rev. Code §§ 3705.09, 3705.12.
35. Foundling [child whose parents are unknown] records. A record of a foundling child ceases to be a public record if the foundling is later identified. Ohio Rev. Code § 3705.11.
36. Prescriptions, orders, and records of dangerous drugs. Prescriptions, orders, and records of dangerous drugs and controlled substances are open only to specific officials who have duties to enforce laws relating to those drugs. Ohio Rev. Code § 3719.13.
37. Nursing home records. Personal and medical records of nursing home, adult care resident patients, and residents of community alternative homes are confidential except as provided by contract or law. Ohio Rev. Code §§ 3721.13, 3722.12.
38. Nursing home/long term care facilities/nursing facilities — violations of law. Identity of person reporting a violation of law at a nursing home/long term care/nursing facility is not available to the public. Ohio Rev. Code §§ 3721.25, 5111.61.
39. Exams, tests used by Ohio Health Director. Test material, exams, evaluative tools used in a competency evaluation program by the director of health is not a public record. Ohio Rev. Code § 3721.31.
40. Radon test results. Any information required to be reported to the director of a public health council regarding radon test results are not public records. Ohio Rev. Code § 3723.09.
41. Social Security numbers of public employees or others. The federal constitutional right to privacy bars the public records statute from requiring public offices to permit inspection or copying of the Social Security numbers of public employees or other individuals. State ex rel. Beacon Journal Publishing Co. v. City of Akron, 70 Ohio St. 3d 605, 640 N.E.2d 164 (1994).
42. State lottery commission meetings. Records of the meetings of the state lottery commission are available only on a showing of good cause. Ohio Rev. Code § 3770.02.
43. Drug treatment programs. Records, except judicial records, pertaining to the identity, diagnosis, or treatment of any patient maintained in connection with the performance of any drug treatment program are confidential, and the names of any pregnant women and their children in drug or alcohol treatment programs are not public records. Ohio Rev. Code §§ 3793.12 - 3793.15.
44. Insurance fraud investigations. All records in the possession of the division of insurance fraud of the state insurance department that pertain to an authorized investigation are confidential law enforcement investigatory records under the public records statute until the expiration of the statute of limitations applicable to the particular offense that was investigated. Ohio Rev. Code § 3901.44.
45. Insurance audits. The audit reports of CPAs conducting insurance audits are not public records. Ohio Rev. Code § 3901.48.
46. Work papers of superintendent of insurance. The work papers of the superintendent of insurance are not public record. Ohio Rev. Code § 3901.48.
47. Insurance trade association reports. Any reports of the Ohio commercial insurance joint underwriting association in connection with an action taken are not public record. Ohio Rev. Code § 3930.10.
48. Worker's compensation claims. No employee may divulge information regarding any claim being made to the worker's compensation board except to members of the worker's compensation commission or to the employee's superior except with the authorization of the administrator of the worker's compensation board or upon authorization of the claimant or employer. Ohio Rev. Code § 4123.88.
49. Information furnished to the Ohio Bureau of Employment Services by employers or employees. Ohio Rev. Code § 4141.21.
50. Accountant work papers. Records and work papers of a CPA or public accountant generated in the course of performing an audit of a public office or private entity, except reports submitted by the accountant to the client, are not public records. Ohio Rev. Code § 4701.19.
51. Patient identities revealed in the course of health care regulatory investigations. Patient identities contained in the records of the state medical board and the board of nursing are confidential. Ohio Rev. Code §§ 4723.28, 4731.22.
52. Applications for motor vehicle salvage licenses. Applications for motor vehicle salvage licenses are not public records. Ohio Rev. Code § 4738.14.
53. Investigations by board regulating physical therapy. Records of complaint investigations made by the board regulating occupational and physical therapists and athletic trainers are confidential. Ohio Rev. Code § 4755.61.
54. Child daycare centers. Records of enrollment, health, and attendance of children at child daycare centers is not available for public inspection and copying, but may be furnished to parents, guardians, and for administration purposes. Ohio Rev. Code § 5104.011.
55. Mental health care facilities — job applicants. The investigatory crime reports of potential employees is not a public record. Ohio Rev. Code § 5119.072.
56. Mental hospital, residents of institutions/ patients. Except in specified circumstances, the identities of patients of mental hospitals and residents of institutions for the mentally retarded are confidential. Ohio Rev. Code §§ 5122.31, 5123.89, 5123.62.
57. Reports of abuse or neglect of mentally retarded. Reports of abuse or neglect in mental retardation homes, and reports of abuse and neglect prepared by the mental retardation and disabilities board are not public records, and are available only to specified persons in specified circumstances. Ohio Rev. Code §§ 5123.61, 5126.31.
58. Prison records. Most prison records are not available to the public, including records about inmates, architectural or construction drawings of a prison, hostage negotiation plans, statements by inmate informants, records of individuals under the supervision of the adult parole authority. Ohio Rev. Code § 5120.21; State ex rel. Harris v. Rhodes, 54 Ohio St. 2d 41, 374 N.E.2d 641 (1978).
59. Children in custody of department of youth services. Records pertaining to children in the custody of the state department of youth services are not public record. Ohio Rev. Code § 5139.05.
60. Investigations of foster homes. Records of investigations of foster homes by county boards or departments for human services are confidential. Ohio Rev. Code § 5153.17.
61. Grand jury records. Transcripts of grand jury proceedings. Ohio R. Crim. P. 6(E); State ex rel. Collins v. O'Farrell, 61 Ohio St. 3d 142, 573 N.E.2d 113 (1991).
62. Grand jury subpoenas. Ohio R. Crim. P. 6(E); State ex rel. Beacon Journal Publishing Co. v. Waters, 67 Ohio St. 3d 321, 617 N.E.2d 1110 (1993).
63. Applications to Veterans Service Commission and related financial records. Financial statements and applications for financial assistance submitted to the Veterans Service Commission, and documents used to affect whether to grant or change financial assistance. Ohio Rev. Code § 5901.09.