Public Records Policy

EXLG 06-01 A.1
Revised October 2007

It is the Ohio Lottery’s (hereinafter “Lottery”) policy to provide convenient, prompt and open access to all public records maintained by the Lottery in accordance with Ohio Revised Code Section 149.43 (Public Records Act) and the Ohio Attorney General’s Model Public Records Policy. The Lottery is dedicated to responding to all public records requests in a timely and efficient manner, and this policy applies to all of the Lottery’s public records regardless of who created the records, how they are distributed, or how they are maintained, unless otherwise exempt. All exemptions to openness are to be construed in their narrowest sense and any denial of public records in response to a valid request must be accompanied by an explanation, including legal authority, as outlined in the Ohio Revised Code. If the request is in writing, the explanation must also be in writing.

1. Public Record – Unless otherwise exempt, a public record is any “record” kept by a public office, which:

  • (a) Contains information stored on a fixed medium (e.g., paper, computer, film, etc.);
  • (b) Is created, received or sent under the jurisdiction of a public office; and
  • (c) Documents the organization, functions, policies, decisions, procedures, operations or other activities of the office.

2. E-mail as a Public Record – Documents in electronic format are records as defined by the Public Records Act when their content relates to the business of the office, or are used to conduct public business. E-mail is to be treated in the same fashion as records in other formats and should follow the same retention schedule.

  • (a) Private E-mails – The Lottery discourages the use of private e-mail accounts to conduct public business. Any correspondence and/or documents created with or in private e-mail accounts which are used to conduct public business are public records and subject to disclosure. Lottery employees are instructed to retain any private account e-mails that relate to public business and to copy them to their Lottery e-mail accounts and/or to the Lottery’s records custodian. The records custodian is to treat e-mails from private accounts used for public business as records of the public office, filing them in the appropriate way, retaining them per established schedules and making them available for inspection and copying in accordance with the Public Records Act.

1. Maintenance of Records

  • (a) Records will be organized and maintained so that they are readily available for inspection and copying.
  • (b) Record Retention Schedules are to be updated regularly and posted prominently.

2. Request for Public Records

  • (a) Public records requests may be verbal or in writing. While written requests are not required, they are encouraged inasmuch as they help assist the Lottery in properly identifying the records being requested. Public records requests must identify the records requested with sufficient clarity so as to permit the Lottery to identify, retrieve, and review the records. If a request fails to sufficiently identify the records being requested, the Lottery will contact the requester for clarification and will offer assistance in revising the request by informing the requester of the manner in which the Lottery maintains its records.
  • (b) All public records requests should be directed to the Office of Communications for appropriate action. However, any request for personnel files shall be forwarded to the Office of Human Resources for appropriate action.
  • (c) A requester need not provide his or her identity or the intended use of the public record.

3. Response to Requests

  • (a) Request for Inspection – Public records shall be promptly prepared and made available for inspection by any person at all reasonable times during regular business hours. Routine requests should be satisfied immediately, if feasible. “Prompt” and “reasonable” take into account the volume of records requested, the proximity of the location where the records are stored, and the necessity for legal review of the records requested. There will be no charge for the inspection of records.
    Note: No original document will be permitted to leave the control of the Lottery, but may be inspected under supervision.
  • (b) Request for Copies - Upon request, the Office of Communications or the “Holder of Records” shall make copies available within a reasonable period of time and at the actual cost of producing the copy. Routine requests should be satisfied immediately, if feasible. Reasonable time takes into account the volume of records requested, the proximity of the location where the records are stored, and the necessity for any legal review of the records requested.
    Note: The requester will NOT be permitted to make his/her own copies of the requested records.
  • (c) Response Time - All public records requests must be either satisfied or acknowledged in writing by the Lottery within three (3) business days following receipt of the request. If a request is deemed significantly beyond “routine,” e.g., requests seeking a voluminous number of copies or requiring extensive research, the acknowledgement must include the estimated time it will take to satisfy the request, the estimated cost if copies are requested, and any items within the request that may be exempt from disclosure.
  • (d) Copying and Mailing Costs – The charge for paper copies is five cents ($.05) per page. The charge for two-sided copies is ten cents ($.10) per page. The charge for records downloaded to compact disc is one dollar ($1.00) per disc. There is no charge for records sent via e-mail. All copying costs must be paid in full to the Lottery prior to the release of the copied records. Upon request, the Lottery will forward public records to the requester via U.S. mail. The requester must provide the actual cost of postage and mailing supplies to the Lottery prior to mailing. The Ohio State Lottery may choose to waive any and all costs associated with compliance with a public records request. Any waiver of costs should not be construed to waive, and does not in fact waive, any future right of the Ohio State Lottery to request or collect the actual costs of compliance with a public records request.
  • (e) Questions regarding a public records request shall be referred to the Office of Legal Counsel for appropriate action.

4. Denial of Public Records Request – Any denial of a public records request must include an explanation and supporting legal authority. If a record is partially exempt, the exempt portions are to be redacted and the remainder released. Each redaction must be accompanied by an explanation and supporting legal authority.

5. Review of Request – A review of all public records requests is necessary to prevent the disclosure of personal information, confidential information, and other exempt information which may include, but is not limited to:

  • (a) “Security Records” and “Infrastructure Records” – Please refer to Policy EXLG-03-01 regarding such records.
  • (b) Personal Information – Social Security numbers (SSNs), account numbers and medical records are protected under federal and state privacy laws and will be redacted from all records provided pursuant to a public records request. Additionally, confidential records protected by law, e.g., certain investigatory, criminal and education records, will not be provided pursuant to a public records request. Demands for this type of personal information shall be forwarded to the Office of Legal Counsel for appropriate action.
  • (c) Confidential Information and Trade Secrets – The Lottery may possess documents that are considered confidential. Generally, these are records in the drafting phase of projects or information from a vendor which may not be prematurely released. For example, during a bid process, a vendor may submit documents containing trade secrets or proprietary information that the vendor has reasonably attempted to keep confidential. Any public records request for such confidential information or trade secrets shall be forwarded to the Office of Legal Counsel for appropriate action.

EFFECTIVE October 15, 2007