On June 30, 2013, House Bill (HB) 59, also known as the budget bill, was signed by Governor Kasich. Effective September 29, 2013, the bill added a new topic to the topics that may be discussed during an executive session of a public body.

Under current law, RC 121.22 (G) provides seven topics, six of which are applicable to school boards, which allow public bodies to remove themselves from public view to engage in discussion regarding certain matters.

As a result of HB 59, school boards will be able to discuss an eighth topic during executive session. This new topic deals with applications for economic development assistance. Specifically, school boards may discuss confidential information that is related to marketing plans, specific business strategy, production techniques, trade secrets or personal financial statements of an applicant for economic development assistance. However, the following conditions must be met for the discussion to occur:

-The information must be directly related to a request for economic development assistance that is to be provided or administered under the statutes listed in RC 121.22(G)(8)(1) or involves public infrastructure improvement or the extension of utility services that are directly related to an economic development project; and

-There must be a unanimous quorum of the board that determines, by a roll call vote, that the executive session is necessary to protect the interests of the applicant or the possible investment or expenditure of public funds to be made in connection with the economic development project.

The bill did not make any changes to the procedures that school boards must follow in order to go into executive session. In addition, boards still are prohibited from taking any official action during executive session.

OSBA has updated its Sunshine Law fact sheet to reflect these changes. A copy of the fact sheet may be found here. If you have any questions, please contact OSBA's division of legal services at (614) 540-4000.

Posted by Candice Christon on 9/16/2013