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Transparency Zone, January 2024

1 February 2024

An inmate was granted access to email communications between prison officials about movies and tv series. 2024-0023 The names of individuals who played golf at a course operated by a township are not public records. 2023-3106 An agency may charge copying fees if it only keeps physical copies of a requested record. 2023-3129 Vehicle crash … Continue reading Transparency Zone, January 2024

Transparency Zone, November/December 2023

8 January 2024

An agency may redact bank account and routing numbers on financial records to prevent unauthorized access. 2023-2422 The Department of Corrections proved that it did not have records related to the price it paid for a certain shampoo. 2023-2231 A request for the “last time [a] robotic stopwatch was calibrated” and the corresponding costs provided … Continue reading Transparency Zone, November/December 2023

Transparency Zone, October 2023

15 November 2023

A fire inspector’s report is found to be related to a noncriminal investigation and can be withheld.  2023-1964 The Department proved that the Request asked questions rather than seeking records, thus properly denying the request.  2023-2460 While fees cannot be assessed for the provision of electronic records, agencies are not required to convert records that … Continue reading Transparency Zone, October 2023

Exemptions, Explained: 708 (b)(5), Medical Records

14 November 2023

With the conclusion of the four security-related exemptions, the “Exemptions, Explained” blog series moves on to the issue of personal information. Section 708(b)(5) protects individual medical information; Deputy Chief Counsel Katie Higgins provided the legal analysis.  As of November 14, 2023, this exemption has been cited in 397 OOR appeals.   Section 708(b)(5) protects a “record … Continue reading Exemptions, Explained: 708 (b)(5), Medical Records

OOR’s 2023 Virtual Annual Training on Tuesday, November 14

7 November 2023

The Office of Open Records (OOR) will conduct its annual Right-to-Know Law (RTKL) and Sunshine Act training on Tuesday, Nov. 14, at 10 a.m. This year’s session, which will be held via Microsoft Teams, will include the following topics: The OOR’s Annual Training is free and open to everyone. Attendees will have ample opportunity to … Continue reading OOR’s 2023 Virtual Annual Training on Tuesday, November 14

2023 Report on Right-To-Know Law Information Posted on Government Agency Websites

3 November 2023

Today the OOR released a report demonstrating that most Pennsylvania government agencies provide Right-to-Know Law (RTKL) information on their websites. However, the compliance rate is lower than in our 2021 review. More encouragingly, all those notified to be out of compliance with this mandate proceeded to post information or pledged to do so in the … Continue reading 2023 Report on Right-To-Know Law Information Posted on Government Agency Websites

Transparency Zone, September 2023

23 October 2023

Bids are exempt prior to the award of a contract; records of an agency proposal evaluation committee are permanently exempt. 2023-1700 A request may be denied if the requester owes fees from a prior RTKL request.  2023-2074 Agency failed to prove that businesses’ contact information can be redacted from mowing bids. 2023-2066 Phone numbers, home … Continue reading Transparency Zone, September 2023

Exemptions, Explained: 708(b)(4)

3 October 2023

The latest “Exemptions, Explained” blog post is the last of the four security-related exemptions. Section 708(b)(4) covers information technology security (or cybersecurity); Appeals Officer Berk Demiral provides the legal analysis. This exemption is rarely utilized, cited in just 108 appeals as of October 3, 2023.  Section 708(b)(4) protects a “record regarding computer hardware, software and … Continue reading Exemptions, Explained: 708(b)(4)

Transparency Zone, August 2023

8 September 2023

A municipality is not required to contact the third-party tax collector for records under Sections 901 or 506(d) of the RTKL. 2023-1553 A school district did not prove that records exchanged between its solicitor and counsel for an entity which purchased real estate are confidential under the Rules of Professional Conduct. 2023-1785 An agency failed … Continue reading Transparency Zone, August 2023

Transparency Zone, June and July 2023

14 August 2023

Employment applications of agency employees are public but certain information may be redacted from them.  2023-1065. A request may lack sufficient specificity if it requires an agency to make judgments as to which records relate to the request’s subject matter.  2023-1121. The OOR can determine the public status of election-related records but access to those … Continue reading Transparency Zone, June and July 2023

Docket Date Title County Status
20240502 02/23/2024 Eric German v. Lehigh County District Attorney's Office Lehigh Dismissed: Untimely
20240499 02/23/2024 Mustafa Ali v. Pennsylvania Department of Corrections Commonwealth Dismissed: Untimely
20240495 02/23/2024 Lesha Knight v. Magisterial District Court 45-1-08 Lackawanna Dismissed: Lack of Jurisdiction
20240387 02/23/2024 Nicole Breland v. Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission (PHRC) Commonwealth Dismissed: Noncompliance
20240375 02/23/2024 Ariel Shapell and American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania v. Luzerne County Luzerne Withdrawn
20240365 02/23/2024 Christopher Ondrus v. Lansford Borough Carbon Granted
20240339 02/23/2024 Kyle Rider v. Pennsylvania Department of Corrections Commonwealth Partially Denied: Partially Moot
Date Organization
February 28, 2024, 10:00 AM [OPEN TO PUBLIC] Basics of the Sunshine Act Webinar
February 28, 2024, 6:30 PM NAHJ Philadelphia Presentation
March 6, 2024, 10:00 AM [OPEN TO PUBLIC] Specificity and the Right-to-Know Law Webinar
March 12, 2024, 1:30 PM New Public Library Directors Orientation
March 13, 2024, 10:00 AM [OPEN TO PUBLIC] Laws that Protect Information Webinar
March 14, 2024, 10:00 AM Allegheny County Sanitary Authority Training