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.

Email Subscriptions

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Greetings from Liz Wagenseller, Executive Director

26 January 2021

Hello, blog readers and fellow supporters of government transparency and accountability, As the newly appointed Executive Director I am honored to lead such a vital office in Pennsylvania. We should be eternally grateful for the work of my predecessor, Erik Arneson. From his critical involvement in the drafting the Right to Know Law to leading … Continue reading Greetings from Liz Wagenseller, Executive Director


Today at 2 p.m. – RTKL Webinar for Requesters

11 January 2021

Today (Mon., Jan. 11, 2021) at 2 p.m., I will host a webinar about the Right-to-Know Law designed for requesters, including members of the media and anyone interested in accessing government records in Pennsylvania. This webinar will be held via Zoom. You can find all the details you need to join on the OOR’s training … Continue reading Today at 2 p.m. – RTKL Webinar for Requesters


New Citizens’ Guide to the RTKL and Sunshine Act

8 January 2021

The OOR’s Citizens’ Guide to the Right-to-Know Law and Sunshine Act is an introduction to these two laws, both of which promote government transparency. The Citizens’ Guide has been completely rewritten and the new version is available now. The RTKL, also known as the open records law, grants access to public records. The Sunshine Act, … Continue reading New Citizens’ Guide to the RTKL and Sunshine Act


2 New Draft Sample Forms for Public Comment

7 January 2021

The Office of Open Records has posted two new draft sample forms and is seeking public comment on both. The Right-to-Know Law and other statutes make various records public, including certain records from law enforcement agencies and county coroners. The OOR often dockets appeals involving these types of records. In an effort to help these … Continue reading 2 New Draft Sample Forms for Public Comment


OOR to Post Final Determinations from District Attorneys

6 January 2021

Pennsylvania’s Right-to-Know Law gives county District Attorneys the responsibility of appointing an appeals officer to decide RTKL appeals “relating to access to criminal investigative records in possession of a local agency of that county.” District Attorneys have been doing this since the RTKL went into effect at the start of 2009. Until now, there has … Continue reading OOR to Post Final Determinations from District Attorneys


Court Filings Update – New Email Newsletter

5 January 2021

I’m exited to announce that the Office of Open Records will soon start sending a new email newsletter called Court Filings Update — and you you can sign up for it now. The newsletter will be sent regularly, generally multiple times each week, and it will include information about appeals and associated documents filed in … Continue reading Court Filings Update – New Email Newsletter


Pageviews on OOR Blog Surged in 2020

4 January 2021

The first post was made to this Office of Open Records blog on June 25, 2015. Since then, as executive director of the OOR, I’ve posted here about a wide variety of topics related to the OOR, court decisions, legislation, RTKL training resources, and much more. Pageviews on this blog have been relatively consistent through … Continue reading Pageviews on OOR Blog Surged in 2020


OOR Posts Updated Draft Regulations

30 December 2020

The Office of Open Records has posted an updated draft of its regulations. The current draft regulations, the previous draft regulations, and information about the regulations and the regulatory process can be found here.


Court Orders Sunshine Act Training

29 December 2020

The Court of Common Pleas in Westmoreland County recently ordered officials from the City of Monessen to attend Sunshine Act training provided by the Office of Open Records. In the opinion and order, Judge Harry F. Smail, Jr., discussed a public meeting held by the City at which “there was absolutely no opportunity for public … Continue reading Court Orders Sunshine Act Training


Federal Court Decision (FOIA) on Information in Databases

28 December 2020

Earlier this month, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit published an interesting decision related to accessing information in government databases. The decision, in the case of The Center for Investigative Reporting v. United State Department of Justice, held that “the use of a query to search for and extract a particular … Continue reading Federal Court Decision (FOIA) on Information in Databases


Docket Date Title County Status
20210340 02/26/2021 Darwin Leuba v. Allegheny County Police Department Allegheny Withdrawn
20210228 02/26/2021 Marissa Bluestine and Quattrone Ctr for the Fair Admin of Justice v. Main Township Police Department Columbia Withdrawn
20210206 02/26/2021 Gerard Grega v. Weatherly Area School District Carbon Granted
20210204 02/26/2021 Gerard Grega v. Weatherly Area School District Carbon Granted
20210199 02/26/2021 David Dixon v. Pennsylvania Office of the Governor Commonwealth Dismissed: Moot
20210198 02/26/2021 Ralph McClain v. Pennsylvania Department of Education Commonwealth Denied
20210169 02/26/2021 Gerard Grega v. Weatherly Area School District Carbon Consolidated
Date Organization
March 3, 2021, 10:00 AM Laws That Protect Information
March 10, 2021, 10:00 AM Records Management and Electronic Records Best Practices Webinar
March 29, 2021, 5:00 PM Pennsylvania State University, Community and Campus Unity
April 28, 2021, 12:00 PM PSAB Right-to-Know Law for Law Enforcement Webinar
June 23, 2021, 12:00 PM PSAB Webinar: Laws that Protect Information
October 13, 2021, 12:00 PM PSAB Open Records Law Webinar