Ohio bill would require court proceedings be audio recorded and available to the public & parties

The idea of a “court of record” predates the invention of electronic recording devices, but a bill recently introduced in Ohio may come close to making the old and new understandings of the term synonymous.

Under HB 592 as introduced last month, all “courts of record” in the state would be required to electronically record the audio of “every proceeding before the court.” The bill authorizes the clerk of the court or an employee of the clerk’s office to record the proceeding as needed.

The subsequent recording “is a public record” except where “the recording is a record to which public access is restricted by court rule or statute.” The parties and general public would be able to request the court provide a copy of the recording with the cost of the copy (or access to listening to a copy) to be determined by the court in accordance to the state’s Open Records Law.

The bill is currently in the House but not yet assigned to a committee.