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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

Exemptions, Explained: 708(b)(3)

17 July 2023

Another “Exemptions, Explained” blog post, another security-related exemption. This one, Section 708(b)(3), centers on infrastructure and the legal analysis is provided by Appeals Officer Bandy Jarosz. This exemption is sparingly used, cited in just 301 appeals as of June 10, 2023.  Recently, it is offered as a rationale by agencies in denying access requests for … Continue reading Exemptions, Explained: 708(b)(3)

Phase 3, Full Implementation, of OOR E-File Appeal Portal Process

17 July 2023

During the summer of 2022, we shared the exciting news that the OOR is moving forward with our E-File Appeal Portal, with the goal of having all Right-to-Know Law (RTKL) appeals processed through the E-File Portal in 2023.  Use of the E-File Portal will provide a one-stop location for all records involving all appeals, ending … Continue reading Phase 3, Full Implementation, of OOR E-File Appeal Portal Process

Transparency Zone, May 2023

15 June 2023

A requester failed to prove why they needed in-person review of responsive records after the agency provided them via electronic link. 2023-0546 A school district may not redact the names of representatives of organizations in emails exchanged with the board and superintendent. 2023-0468 If an agency fails to respond to an appeal, the records request … Continue reading Transparency Zone, May 2023

Review of Agency RTKL Request Websites

5 June 2023

Holding government accountable via access to records and information is impossible if the public does not know how to request information. The OOR is conducting its second biennial review of how agencies post Right-to-Know Law (RTKL) request information on their websites. This will include looking at a sampling of webpages of Commonwealth agencies, school districts, municipalities, … Continue reading Review of Agency RTKL Request Websites

Exemptions, Explained: 708(b)(2)

22 May 2023

Today’s posting in our “Exemptions, Explained” blog is another of the so-called security-related exemptions: Section 708(b)(2).  Appeals Officer Blake Eilers wrote the legal analysis in this post. This exemption, which was cited in 802 of the OOR’s final determinations as of May 22, 2023, goes hand-in-hand with the exemption discussed in our last post, Section … Continue reading Exemptions, Explained: 708(b)(2)

Transparency Zone, April 2023

8 May 2023

When responding to a request, a school district must inquire with school board members regarding whether they have used personal email accounts for district business and whether those personal email accounts contain records responsive to the request. 2023-0289 Recommendations regarding renewal liquor license renewals made by a hearing examiner to the PA Liquor Control Board … Continue reading Transparency Zone, April 2023

Exemptions, Explained: 708(b)(1)

1 May 2023

Today we begin a new series of posts called, “Exemptions, Explained”. Under the Right-to-Know Law (“RTKL”), thirty categories of records are exempt from mandated access.  These categories are outlined in Section 708(b) of the statute; each blog post will explore the presumed impetus behind the exemption, the types of records for which the exemption is … Continue reading Exemptions, Explained: 708(b)(1)

Transparency Zone, March 2023

6 April 2023

A county’s policy requiring a requester to provide an address is permitted under the Right-to-Know Law. 2023-0495 An unsworn position statement from an agency does not constitute evidence. 2023-0389 Netflix histories from the accounts of correctional institutes are not records of the agency. 2023-0438 An agency can meet its burden to provide records by notifying … Continue reading Transparency Zone, March 2023

Docket Date Title County Status
20232336 09/29/2023 Chris Knepp v. Caln Township Police Department Chester Transferred
20232329 09/29/2023 Anonymous Anonymous and Uwchlan Auditing v. Downingtown Area School District Chester Dismissed: Insufficient (Sec. 1101)
20232328 09/29/2023 Kathleen Ravotti v. Pine-Richland School District Allegheny Dismissed: Untimely
20232155 09/29/2023 Susan Hanlon v. New Hope Borough Bucks Dismissed: Insufficient (Sec. 1101)
20232133 09/29/2023 Allen Metzler v. Lorain Borough Cambria Dismissed: Noncompliance
20232120 09/29/2023 Ed Mahon and Spotlight PA v. Wyoming County Wyoming Denied
20232078 09/29/2023 Lester Younkin v. Somerset County Somerset Denied
Date Organization
October 2, 2023, 2:15 PM PA County Wardens Conference
October 4, 2023, 10:00 AM Pennsylvania Library Association Conference
October 4, 2023, 10:00 AM [OPEN TO PUBLIC] The Right-to-Know Law for Law Enforcement Webinar
October 12, 2023, 11:00 AM Lehigh Valley Cooperative Purchasing Council Training
October 17, 2023, 10:00 AM County Treasurers Association of PA Fall Seminar
October 18, 2023, 10:00 AM [OPEN TO PUBLIC] Basics of the Sunshine Act Webinar