COLUMBUS — Representatives Rick Perales (R-Beavercreek) and Candice Keller (R-Middletown) announced the House passage of their jointly-sponsored House Bill 139, legislation that will open certain public records 100 years after creation.
House Bill 139 will allow adoption records, county home registers, children’s home registers, juvenile court cases, witness dockets, lunacy records, inheritance tax records, and veterans relief records to be accessed 100 years after their creation. Access to these records would provide genealogists and other interested parties access to records that tell a vibrant history of Ohio’s citizens.
Records protected by the attorney-client privilege, trial preparation records, and certain adoption records are excluded from disclosure.
“Opening up these permanently retained and currently inaccessible public records will allow for a tremendous amount of information about our past, both personally and as a community, to be available for future generations,” Perales said. “This information could help residents learn more about their ancestors, or better understand some of the challenges and successes in the early years of their community.”
The 100 year time-frame allows adequate time to pass before sensitive personal information is released, providing both privacy and access to important records for purposes of genealogical and other research.
“I am proud to be the joint sponsor of this piece of legislation. Now awaiting consideration by the Senate, House Bill 139 is a step forward for Ohioans seeking to know their own history,” Keller said. “This not only helps academics and researchers, but it helps the everyday Ohioan learn about their families and their histories. I hope the Senate will take up HB 139 for consideration soon.”
House Bill 139 now moves to the Ohio Senate for further consideration.