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.



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

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Right-to-Know Law Roundtable – Sept. 5 in Harrisburg

15 August 2019

The Office of Open Records has put together an event we’re calling the Right-to-Know Law Rountable. The RTKL Roundtable is the first event of its kind — a half-day session of panels and speakers filled with topics specifically of interest to people who use the RTKL as requesters. It’s taking place in Harrisburg on Sept. … Continue reading Right-to-Know Law Roundtable – Sept. 5 in Harrisburg


OOR Defends Constitutionality of the RTKL

15 August 2019

As a general rule, the Office of Open Records does not participate in any appeals beyond the OOR itself. Occasionally, however, we are compelled to. In the case of Lehighton Area School District v. Campbell, stemming from OOR Dkt. No.: AP 2018-2187, the District’s trial brief included a claim that the Right-to-Know Law is unconstitutional. … Continue reading OOR Defends Constitutionality of the RTKL


Judge: Agency Had a “Mandatory Duty” to Preserve Records

14 August 2019

Judge James A. Gibbons of Lackawanna County has ordered the City of Scranton to pay $3,484 in legal fees to the Scranton Times-Tribune, finding that the agency had not preserved records requested under the Right-to-Know Law. The decision, which came after an appeal of the Office of Open Records’ final determination in Lockwood v. City … Continue reading Judge: Agency Had a “Mandatory Duty” to Preserve Records


Presentation – RTKL Training for Requesters

24 July 2019

Earlier today at the Office of Open Records in Harrisburg, I hosted a training session designed for requesters, including members of the media and members of the public. The session focused on the Right-to-Know Law, and I appreciate everyone who attended. Here’s the PowerPoint presentation I used: RTKL Training for Requesters – July 24, 2019 … Continue reading Presentation – RTKL Training for Requesters


Webinar – Basics for Agency Open Records Officers

22 July 2019

The Office of Open Records is hosting a webinar tomorrow (Tuesday, July 23) at 10:00 a.m. titled Basics for Agency Open Records Officers (AOROs). This session focuses on what new AOROs need to know to respond accurately and efficiently to Right-to-Know Law requests, including agency obligations, prohibitions, deadlines, payment issues, and tips on managing an … Continue reading Webinar – Basics for Agency Open Records Officers


Pennsylvania’s Right-to-Know Law and Discovery

20 July 2019

Earlier today, I was part of a panel discussion about the Right-to-Know Law as part of the Dauphin County Bar Association’s Bench Bar Conference. The session was entitled The Right-to-Know Law: Its Use and Abuse as a Discovery Tool. The discussion was moderated by Craig J. Staudenmaier of Nauman Smith Shissler & Hall. It also … Continue reading Pennsylvania’s Right-to-Know Law and Discovery


Presentation to District Attorneys

15 July 2019

Earlier today, I spoke to a group of District Attorneys at a conference organized by the Pennsylvania State Association of Elected County Officials. The conversation focused on the Right-to-Know Law and the unique role played by District Attorneys in terms of hearing appeals filed which are related to law enforcement records held by local agencies … Continue reading Presentation to District Attorneys


Presentation to County Treasurers

12 June 2019

Earlier today, I spoke to a gathering of Pennsylvania’s elected county treasurers, hosted by the Pennsylvania State Association of Elected County Officials. The session, part of a conference running June 11-14, was held in Cranberry Township, Butler County, and it focused on the Right-to-Know Law. I very much appreciate the invitation. Here’s the PowerPoint presentation … Continue reading Presentation to County Treasurers


Corporations Not “Individuals” Under RTKL

11 June 2019

The Commonwealth Court recently upheld an Office of Open Records decision finding that corporations are not “individuals” under the Right-to-Know Law exception allowing agencies to withhold donor identities (Section 708(b)(13)). The specific case at issue involved California University of Pennsylvania and a request for records related to donations from Manheim Corporation to the Foundation for … Continue reading Corporations Not “Individuals” Under RTKL


Sunshine Act Webpage Updated

11 June 2019

The Office of Open Records webpage about Pennsylvania’s Sunshine Act was updated recently. We added four new sections: What’s considered deliberation? Can agency members participate in a meeting via telephone or video conference? Can official action be taken at a closed meeting? Can agency members discuss agency business via email and/or social media? And made … Continue reading Sunshine Act Webpage Updated


Docket Date Title County Status
2019-1289 09/17/2019 Calefati v. Philadelphia School District Philadelphia Denied
2019-1234 09/17/2019 Dutkus v. Behavioral Health Services of Somerset and Bedford Counties Somerset Withdrawn
2019-1218 09/17/2019 Palustre v. Berks County Berks Denied
2019-1092 09/17/2019 Cartee-Haring v. Central Bucks School District Bucks Granted
2019-1088 09/17/2019 Cartee-Haring v. Central Bucks School District Bucks Granted
2019-1573 09/16/2019 Wisor v. Pennsylvania Continuing Legal Education Board Dauphin Dismissed: Lack of Jurisdiction
2019-1558 09/16/2019 Thompkins v. Cumberland County Domestic Relations Cumberland Dismissed: Lack of Jurisdiction
Date Organization
September 24, 2019, 10:20 AM PA State Association of Township Supervisors-Regional Conference (Indiana)
October 1, 2019, 9:00 AM Right-to-Know Law Training
October 1, 2019, 10:00 AM RTKL For Law Enforcement
October 3, 2019, 12:00 AM Cumberland County Association of Township Officials
October 7, 2019, 1:40 PM PA State Association of Township Supervisors-Regional Conference (Lewisburg)
October 10, 2019, 11:00 AM Requester and Media Training