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.

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.


Find an AORO

Look up a specific Agency Open Records Officer, or register a new Officer.

Email Subscriptions

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Presentation to Pennsylvania Municipal League

14 February 2017

Yesterday, I spoke to members of the Pennsylvania Municipal League about the Right-to-Know Law, the Office of Open Records, and related issues. It was a great event, and I very much appreciate the invitation to participate. Here’s the presentation I used: Pennsylvania Municipal League – Feb. 13, 2017 – PDF Pennsylvania Municipal League – Feb. … Continue reading Presentation to Pennsylvania Municipal League


Presentation at Body-Worn Cameras CLE

30 January 2017

On Friday, I took part in Forensic Friday, a regular program organized by Duquesne University’s Cyril H. Wecht Institute of Forensic Science and Law. The topic was Balancing Safety, Justice and Privacy: Body-Worn Cameras, Forensic Evidence & the Right to Know. Also taking part in the program were State Senator Randy Vulakovich; State Representative Dom … Continue reading Presentation at Body-Worn Cameras CLE


Body-Worn Cameras, Forensic Evidence & the Right to Know

23 January 2017

On Friday, January 27, I’ll be taking part in Forensic Friday, a regular program organized by Duquesne University’s Cyril H. Wecht Institute of Forensic Science and Law. The topic is Balancing Safety, Justice and Privacy: Body-Worn Cameras, Forensic Evidence & the Right to Know. Also part of the program are State Senator Randy Vulakovich; State … Continue reading Body-Worn Cameras, Forensic Evidence & the Right to Know


Presentation to Doylestown Intelligencer

19 January 2017

Yesterday, George Spiess (Chief of Training & Outreach for the Office of Open Records) and I had the opportunity to discuss the Right-to-Know Law and the Office of Open Records with employees of the Doylestown Intelligencer. We very much appreciate the invitation. Here’s the presentation we used: Doylestown Intelligencer – Jan. 18, 2017 – PDF … Continue reading Presentation to Doylestown Intelligencer


How to Find Government Contracts in Pennsylvania

15 December 2016

At least one state has recently considered legislation which would make it harder for the public to review contacts involving government agencies. Here in Pennsylvania, the Right-to-Know Law makes all state government contracts valued at $5,000 or more easy to review online. The state contract database is maintained by the state Treasurer, and it allows … Continue reading How to Find Government Contracts in Pennsylvania


Updating the Standard RTK Request Form

14 December 2016

Pennsylvania’s Right-to-Know Law gives the Office of Open Records the duty to “develop a uniform [request] form which shall be accepted by all Commonwealth and local agencies” (Section 505(a)). The OOR’s standard Right-to-Know request form hasn’t been updated since 2013. We’re now in the process of reviewing and updating the form — with the goal … Continue reading Updating the Standard RTK Request Form


RTK Request Received by the OOR for Home Addresses

13 December 2016

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s recent decision in Pennsylvania State Education Association vs. The Office of Open Records, 2016 Pa. LEXIS 2337, 41 I.E.R. Cas. (BNA) 1310 (Pa. Oct. 18, 2016), opens with this text: This case involves an examination of the scope of the “personal security” exception to disclosure under the Right to Know Law … Continue reading RTK Request Received by the OOR for Home Addresses


Charter School Leaders Seminar

6 December 2016

Earlier today, I spoke at the Charter School Leaders Seminar in Harrisburg, an event hosted by the Pennsylvania Coalition of Public Charter Schools. I touched on some of the basics of Pennsylvania’s Right-to-Know Law, the Sunshine Act, the functions of the Office of Open Records, and the regulatory process. It was a great event, and … Continue reading Charter School Leaders Seminar


PA NewsMedia Assoc. – Mediation Discussion

16 November 2016

Earlier today, I spoke with members of the Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association about the mediation program offered by the Office of Open Records. It was a great discussion, and I very much appreciate the invitation. Here’s the presentation I used: Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association – Nov. 16, 2016 – PPTX Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association – Nov. 16, 2016 … Continue reading PA NewsMedia Assoc. – Mediation Discussion


Presentation to PA Economic Development Institute

3 November 2016

On Tuesday, I had the opportunity to discuss the Right-to-Know Law and the Office of Open Records with the Pennsylvania Economic Development Institute at a conference in Monroe County. I very much appreciate the invitation. Here’s the presentation I used: Pennsylvania Economic Development Institute – Nov. 1, 2016 – PPTX Pennsylvania Economic Development Institute – … Continue reading Presentation to PA Economic Development Institute


Docket Date Title County Status
2017-0244 02/17/2017 Grace v. Pennsylvania Department of Health Commonwealth Withdrawn
2017-0138 02/17/2017 Yakim v. Monroeville Municipality Allegheny Granted
2017-0133 02/17/2017 Begandy v. Pennsylvania Department of Corrections Commonwealth Denied
2016-2095 02/17/2017 Orlow v. Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry Commonwealth Denied
2016-2040 02/17/2017 Beauge v. Lycoming County Lycoming Granted: Moot
2016-2039 02/17/2017 Lisiecki v. North Huntingdon Township Westmoreland Partially Granted/Partially Denied
2016-1803 02/17/2017 Phillips v. Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Commonwealth Consolidated
Date Organization
February 21, 2017, 1:00 PM Charleroi Area High School
February 24, 2017, 9:00 AM Peters Township AORO Training
March 1, 2017, 12:00 PM Pennsylvania State Association of Boroughs Webinar on RTKL Basics
March 17, 2017, 2:30 PM Berks County
March 30, 2017, 9:00 AM Lower Allen Township AORO Training (Cumberland County)
April 18, 2017, 12:00 AM Lehigh Valley Cooperative Purchasing Council c/o South Whitehall Township