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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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


Presentation to Public Utility Commission CLE

6 June 2017

Last Thursday, I took part in a panel discussion at a CLE organized by the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission. We discussed a number of issues related to the Right-to-Know Law and the Office of Open Records. Among the issues covered were the OOR’s Final Determinations in two cases (both captioned David Hommrich and Sunrise Energy … Continue reading Presentation to Public Utility Commission CLE


Presentation to PA-NENA in Stroudsburg

15 May 2017

Last Friday, I traveled to Stroudsburg and spoke to members of the Pennsylvania Chapter of the National Emergency Number Association (PA-NENA) about the Right-to-Know Law, the Office of Open Records, and related issues. It was a great discussion, and I very much appreciate the invitation. Here’s the presentation I used: PA-NENA – May 12, 2017 … Continue reading Presentation to PA-NENA in Stroudsburg


Presentation to PA-NENA in New Castle

8 May 2017

Last Friday, I traveled to New Castle and spoke to members of the Pennsylvania Chapter of the National Emergency Number Association (PA-NENA) about the Right-to-Know Law, the Office of Open Records, and related issues. It was a great discussion, and I very much appreciate the invitation. Here’s the presentation I used: PA-NENA – May 5, … Continue reading Presentation to PA-NENA in New Castle


Presentation to Allentown Morning Call

8 May 2017

Last Thursday, I spoke to employees of the Allentown Morning Call about the Right-to-Know Law, the Office of Open Records, and related issues. It was a great discussion, and I very much appreciate the invitation. Here’s the presentation I used: Allentown Morning Call – May 4, 2017 – PDF Allentown Morning Call – May 4, … Continue reading Presentation to Allentown Morning Call


Washington County CCP Rules in Holding Cell Camera Case

30 March 2017

President Judge Katherine B. Emery of the Washington County Court of Common Pleas this week ruled that California Borough must release video from a holding cell in response to a Right-to-Know Request. Judge Emery’s decision upholds the Final Determination issued by the OOR in June 2016.


830 Right-to-Know Requests to the OOR in 2016

24 March 2017

In addition to deciding appeals filed under the Right-to-Know Law, the Office of Open Records processes hundreds of Right-to-Know requests every year. In 2016, we responded to 830 requests. Most requests filed with the OOR are misdirected: The requester isn’t really seeking OOR records; rather, they want records from another agency but mistakenly file the … Continue reading 830 Right-to-Know Requests to the OOR in 2016


119 Appeals Involving Agencies in Allegheny County

24 March 2017

More Right-to-Know Law appeals were filed in 2016 involving local agencies in Allegheny County — including the county itself, school districts, municipalities, etc. — than in any other county. This comes as little surprise, since Allegheny County is home to about 130 municipalities and more than 40 school districts. The top five counties by this … Continue reading 119 Appeals Involving Agencies in Allegheny County


Docket Date Title County Status
2017-2136 11/17/2017 Carder v. US District Court, Western District of PA Erie Dismissed: Lack of Jurisdiction
2017-2132 11/17/2017 Burda v. Montgomery County Prothonotary Montgomery Dismissed: Lack of Jurisdiction
2017-2131 11/17/2017 Toye v. Fayette County Fayette Dismissed: Premature
2017-2123 11/17/2017 Burda v. Montgomery County Court Administration Montgomery Petition for Reconsideration
2017-1898 11/17/2017 Haggerty v. Indiana County District Attorney Indiana Denied
2017-1738 11/17/2017 Cherry v. Horsham Township Montgomery Partially Granted/Partially Denied
2017-2126 11/16/2017 Burda v. Montgomery County Montgomery Dismissed: Lack of Jurisdiction
Date Organization
December 6, 2017, 11:00 AM WESA FM
January 9, 2018, 10:00 AM Greater Johnstown Area School District
January 22, 2018, 9:00 AM Berks County Conservation District
February 14, 2018, 9:30 AM PA Department of Community & Economic Development