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.


Find an AORO

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

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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


10 Examples of Records the RTKL Provided Access to in 2016

24 March 2017

Here’s a sampling of the types of records which the Right-to-Know Law provided access to in 2016: $2 million paid by Philadelphia School District to defend itself in lawsuits related to a no-bid contract for surveillance cameras. More than $436,000 paid to defend former Attorney General Kathleen Kane in lawsuits filed by former employees. The … Continue reading 10 Examples of Records the RTKL Provided Access to in 2016


7 Top Appellate Court Decisions in 2016

24 March 2017

These are some of the most significant appellate court decisions issued in 2016 regarding Pennsylvania’s Right-to-Know Law. PSEA v. OOR 148 A.3d 142 (Pa. 2016) The Pennsylvania Supreme Court held that Article I, Section 1, of the state constitution protects personal information such as home addresses. When a record contains such personal information, a balancing … Continue reading 7 Top Appellate Court Decisions in 2016


1,077 Appeals Filed by Citizens in 2016

23 March 2017

More than half of the Right-to-Know Law appeals handled by the Office of Open Records last year were filed by everyday citizens, strong evidence that the RTKL is working for people across the state. Citizens filed 51% of last year’s appeals; inmates filed 34%; members of the media, 7.2%; companies, 6.8%; and government officials, 1%. … Continue reading 1,077 Appeals Filed by Citizens in 2016


Docket Date Title County Status
2017-1466 08/23/2017 Rohland v. Pennsylvania Department of Corrections Commonwealth Denied
2017-1575 08/22/2017 Weir v. Spring Garden Township York Withdrawn
2017-1450 08/22/2017 Maas v. York City York Transferred
2017-1182 08/22/2017 Cavacini v. Pennsylvania Department of Transportation Commonwealth Withdrawn
2017-1556 08/21/2017 Pollazzon v. Penn-Trafford School District Westmoreland Withdrawn
2017-1424 08/21/2017 Minor v. Pennsylvania Department of Corrections Commonwealth Denied
2017-1418 08/21/2017 Garland v. Pennsylvania Department of Transportation Commonwealth Denied
Date Organization
August 24, 2017, 9:00 AM Jenkintown Borough AORO Training
September 6, 2017, 12:00 PM Pennsylvania State Association of Boroughs
September 7, 2017, 12:00 AM Delaware County Emergency Management
September 21, 2017, 7:00 PM York County Boroughs Association
September 28, 2017, 11:00 AM York County Municipal Managers Association