COLUMBUS—State Representative Stephen Huffman (R-Tipp City) today announced the passage of Amended House Bill 341, legislation he jointly sponsored with Jack Cera (D-Bellaire) that adds judges and magistrates to the list of employees whose residential and familial information is exempted from public records law.
By adding judges and magistrates to the current list of protected employees, this bill installs a safety measure for them and their families. H.B. 341 gives judges and magistrates the ability to request that their personal information be redacted, if it is from a source publicly available on the internet. It also allows them to request that their full name be replaced with initials on county auditor records, the only records in which addresses will not be redacted.
“House Bill 341 provides protections to judges and magistrates that many other public service workers are already afforded under Ohio law,” said Rep. Huffman. “I was proud to help sponsor this legislation that will provide further safeguards for these honorable public servants.”
Under current law, a simple Internet search could reveal a judge’s address, giving a disgruntled litigant the opportunity to cause harm at home. Other incidents have taken place, such as in 2017, when Judge Joseph Bruzzese, Jr. was targeted and shot while walking to work in Jefferson County. Though that specific case would not have been prevented by H.B. 341, the situation illustrates the current lack of protections for these public servants.
For judges and magistrates, public servants who have a high likelihood of interacting with volatile or upset individuals in the course of a workday, H.B. 341 allows for peace of mind and a sense of security, creating a long overdue and common sense safety measure.
House Bill 341 will now go to the Ohio Senate for further consideration.