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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Speaking to Two Journalism Classes at Penn State

14 November 2018

Yesterday, I visited Penn State University to speak to two of Cindy Simmons’ journalism classes about Pennsylvania’s Right-to-Know Law. Both were great sessions, and I very much appreciate the invitation. Here’s the PowerPoint presentation I used: Penn State University – Cynthia Simmons – Nov. 13, 2018 (PPTX) Penn State University – Cynthia Simmons – Nov. … Continue reading Speaking to Two Journalism Classes at Penn State


Speaking to Students at Penn State

06 November 2018

Yesterday, I visited Penn State University to speak to Dr. Ben Cramer’s Telecommunications & the Environment class about Pennsylvania’s Right-to-Know Law. It was a great session, and I very much appreciate the invitation. Here’s the PowerPoint presentation I used: Penn State University – Dr. Benjamin W. Cramer – Nov. 5, 2018 (PPTX) Penn State University … Continue reading Speaking to Students at Penn State


Presentation for OOR’s 2018 Annual Training

01 November 2018

This afternoon at 2:00 p.m., the Office of Open Records will hold its annual training session on Pennsylvania’s Right-to-Know Law and Sunshine Act. The session is taking place in Harrisburg, but you can also join us by webinar. (Get all the details and sign up here.) It’s free, and 2 CLEs (1 substantive, 1 ethics) … Continue reading Presentation for OOR’s 2018 Annual Training


Two Agencies Ordered to Pay Legal Fees to Requesters

31 October 2018

This year, at least two Pennsylvania courts have ordered government agencies to pay a requester’s legal fees after the agency was found to have been acting in bad faith under the Right-to-Know Law. The first case (OOR Docket 2017-0994) began with a March 2017 request for records relating to a waste water plant construction project … Continue reading Two Agencies Ordered to Pay Legal Fees to Requesters


Speaking to Journalism Students at Lock Haven University

31 October 2018

Yesterday, I visited Lock Haven University to speak to a journalism class about Pennsylvania’s Right-to-Know Law. I spoke to Dr. Sharon Stringer’s Communications Law & Ethics class, and it was a great session. I very much appreciate the invitation. (If you’re a journalism professor in Pennsylvania, let me know if you’d like me to speak … Continue reading Speaking to Journalism Students at Lock Haven University


Draft Update to RTKL Flowchart

24 October 2018

Many years ago, the Office of Open Records created a flowchart to help explain Pennsylvania’s Right-to-Know Law process to both agencies and requesters. In response to some suggestions to make the flowchart even more useful, we’re updating it. And we’d love to have your input. Here are two versions of the flow chart, both in … Continue reading Draft Update to RTKL Flowchart


Presentation for Requester Training

11 October 2018

Earlier today, the Office of Open Records hosted a training session designed for requesters here at our office in Harrisburg. Topics covered include how to write a good RTKL request, accessing information in databases, significant deadlines in the RTKL, how to appeal a RTKL denial, and more. Here’s the PowerPoint presentation I used for this … Continue reading Presentation for Requester Training


Annual Training in Harrisburg on Nov. 1

27 September 2018

This year’s Office of Open Records (OOR) Annual Training session will take place on Thursday, Nov. 1, in Harrisburg. Register here for the OOR’s annual training. The training, which will take place from 2:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., will cover Pennsylvania’s Right-to-Know Law (RTKL) and Sunshine Act, including: An overview of important OOR resources available … Continue reading Annual Training in Harrisburg on Nov. 1


Podcast: Law Enforcement Records

24 September 2018

The fifth episode of the Open Records in Pennsylvania podcast is now available. This episode looks at how law enforcement records, including police video and audio recordings, are handled under the Right-to-Know Law. Links: RTKL Guide for Law Enforcement Agencies Requesting Police Recordings Office of Open Records Subscribe: Open Records in Pennsylvania podcast on Apple … Continue reading Podcast: Law Enforcement Records


New URL for This Blog

23 September 2018

The Open Records in Pennsylvania blog has a new URL: https://openrecordspennsylvania.com/ If you use RSS to get updated on new posts, you may need to update your RSS reader.


Docket Date Title County Status
2018-1922 11/15/2018 Brown v. Huntingdon County District Attorney's Office Huntingdon Dismissed: Premature
2018-1635 11/15/2018 Stone v. Pennsylvania State Employees' Retirement System Commonwealth Granted
2018-2012 11/14/2018 Labrum v. Darby Township Delaware Dismissed: Premature
2018-1989 11/14/2018 Madden v. Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture Commonwealth Withdrawn
2018-1885 11/14/2018 Kellner v. City of Philadelphia Police Department Philadelphia Withdrawn
2018-1877 11/14/2018 Anonymous v. Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority Philadelphia Dismissed: Other
2018-1866 11/14/2018 Hussey v. Philadelphia School District Philadelphia Denied
Date Organization
November 16, 2018, 11:00 AM Pennsylvania State Association of County Controllers
November 19, 2018, 2:00 PM Mercer County
December 5, 2018, 10:00 AM RTKL Training for Requesters
March 11, 2019, 10:00 AM RTKL Training for Requesters -- Sunshine Week
April 16, 2019, 9:00 AM Pennsylvania State Association of Boroughs
April 30, 2019, 9:00 AM Pennsylvania State Association of Boroughs