How to File a Request

The first thing to do before filing a RTK request is to determine which Commonwealth or local agency is most likely to have the records you want. Next, determine who the Open Records Officer is (each agency is required to have one). More tips for filing effective RTK requests are available right here on our website.

How to File an Appeal

All appeals must be made in writing and must be submitted to the Office of Open Records within 15 business days from the mailing date of the Agency's response or the date that the request was deemed denied. If that timeframe expires before you provide the required information to the OOR, you lose your right to appeal and may need to file a new RTK request with the Agency.

Regulations Under Development

The Office of Open Records ("OOR") is in the process of promulgating procedural regulations as authorized by Section 504(a) of the Right-to-Know Law ("RTKL"). Through these regulations, the OOR intends to provide greater clarity of the requirements of both agencies and requesters.

Sunshine Act

The Pennsylvania Sunshine Act, 65 Pa.C.S. §§ 701-716, requires agencies to deliberate and take official action on agency business in an open and public meeting. It requires that meetings have prior notice, and that the public can attend, participate, and comment before an agency takes that official action.

Training

The Office of Open Records ("OOR") conducts training on the Right-to-Know Law ("RTKL") at the request of groups that wish to learn about the application of the RTKL, including those seeking records and agencies responding to those requests. In addition, the OOR will often partner with various organizations or associations (such as the Pennsylvania Bar Institute, the Pennsylvania State Associations of Township Supervisors, or the Pennsylvania State Associations of Boroughs) to provide a presenter or panelist.



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LBFC Report: Recommendations

27 February 2018

The report released today by the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee entitled “Costs to Implement the Right-to-Know Law” includes eight recommendations, four for the General Assembly and four for the OOR. I support all eight recommendations (one, as noted below, with some reservations). In more detail: LBFC Recommendations for the General Assembly Recommendation: Require agencies … Continue reading LBFC Report: Recommendations


LBFC Report: Highlights

27 February 2018

Here are highlights from the report released today by the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee entitled “Costs to Implement the Right-to-Know Law.” The report found that “most of Pennsylvania’s state and local government agencies receive few RTKL requests, most of the requests are easily fulfilled at a relatively low cost, and only a small percentage … Continue reading LBFC Report: Highlights


Opening Comments to the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee

27 February 2018

Earlier today, the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee released a report entitled “Costs to Implement the Right-to-Know Law.” The report was prepared pursuant to House Resolution 50 of the 2017-18 legislative session, sponsored by Rep. Kate Harper. I was invited to address the committee prior to the report’s release. Here are my opening comments: Thank … Continue reading Opening Comments to the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee


New Address for the OOR

13 February 2018

The Office of Open Records has moved to a new location: 333 Market St., 16th Floor Harrisburg, PA 17101-2234 That’s also our new mailing address, but our other contact information has not changed: Web: http://www.openrecords.pa.gov/ Email: openrecords@pa.gov Telephone: (717) 346-9903 Fax: (717) 425-5343


First-Ever Survey of AOROs

4 January 2018

The vast majority of government agencies in Pennsylvania — 87.4% — received 1 or fewer Right-to-Know (RTK) requests per week in 2016. Similarly, 72.8% of agencies spent 1 hour or less per week (and 91.8% spent 5 hours or less) responding to RTK requests in 2016. Those are some of the highlights from the first-ever … Continue reading First-Ever Survey of AOROs


Three Recent Home Address Cases

27 December 2017

Last month, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued one decision and the Commonwealth Court issued two decisions addressing issues related to home addresses, the Right-to-Know Law, and the right to privacy found in Article I, Section 1, of the Pennsylvania Constitution. In chronological order, the decisions are: Butler Area School District v. Pennsylvanians for Union Reform … Continue reading Three Recent Home Address Cases


PA Supreme Court: District Attorneys Not Judicial Agencies

28 November 2017

On November 22, 2017, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court held that District Attorneys are not judicial agencies under the Right-to-Know Law (RTKL). In the majority opinion in the case of Stacy Parks Miller v. Centre County, authored by Justice Wecht, the Supreme Court held that: “Examination of the RTKL, the definitional section of the Judicial Code, … Continue reading PA Supreme Court: District Attorneys Not Judicial Agencies


Requesting Police Video and Audio in Pennsylvania

2 November 2017

Act 22 of 2017 (specifically, Chapter 67A of the Act) now governs the process of requesting audio and video recordings in the possession of law enforcement agencies in Pennsylvania. We’ve added a page to the Office of Open Records website which covers the topic in some detail (although it’s always a good idea to review … Continue reading Requesting Police Video and Audio in Pennsylvania


OOR – 2017 Annual Training

1 November 2017

On October 23, the Office of Open Records held its annual training session in Harrisburg. The session included presentations by Erik Arneson, executive director; Charles Brown, chief counsel; Delene Lantz, general counsel; and George Spiess, director of training and outreach. This year, for the first time, the training was available via webinar. We’ve also uploaded … Continue reading OOR – 2017 Annual Training


Presentation to PASBO

31 October 2017

On October 20, I took part in a webinar hosted by the Pennsylvania Association of School Business Officials (PASBO). We discussed a number of issues related to the Right-to-Know Law and the Office of Open Records. I was joined on the webinar by Clarence C. Kegel, Esq., of the law firm Kegel Kelin Almy & … Continue reading Presentation to PASBO


Docket Date Title County Status
2017-1926 05/18/2018 Harmon v. Londonderry Township Dauphin Partially Granted
2018-0700 04/20/2018 Williams v. Pennsylvania Department of Corrections Commonwealth Dismissed: Untimely
2018-0645 04/20/2018 Grove v. Constable John Hickey Bucks Dismissed: Premature
2018-0511 04/20/2018 Kneller v. Schuylkill County Schuylkill Granted
2018-0354 04/20/2018 Lenge v. Clifton Township Lackawanna Granted
2018-0677 04/19/2018 Kennedy v. Schuylkill County District Attorney Schuylkill Dismissed: Premature
2018-0675 04/19/2018 Kennedy v. Lehigh County District Attorney's Office Lehigh Dismissed: Premature
Date Organization
April 23, 2018, 1:20 PM Government Finance Officers Associations
May 3, 2018, 1:00 PM Morrisville Borough
May 4, 2018, 9:35 AM County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania (CCAP) Solicitor's Conference
May 15, 2018, 9:00 AM PA State Association of Boroughs
May 17, 2018, 9:00 AM PA State Association of Boroughs
May 24, 2018, 9:00 AM PA State Association of Boroughs