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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NEWS RELEASE: Office of Open Records Releases Report on Right-To-Know Law Information Posted on Government Agency Websites

31 August 2021

News Release FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEAugust 31, 2021 Link to Report HARRISBURG (August 31, 2021) – The Office of Open Records (OOR) released a report finding that while most government agencies in Pennsylvania provide Right-to-Know Law (RTKL) information on their websites, improvements can still be made to increase citizens’ access to public records.  “I am pleased that … Continue reading NEWS RELEASE: Office of Open Records Releases Report on Right-To-Know Law Information Posted on Government Agency Websites


NEWS RELEASE: Office of Open Records Applauds New Law on Meeting Agendas

1 July 2021

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE July 1, 2021   Office of Open Records Applauds New Law on Meeting Agendas HARRISBURG – Yesterday, the Governor signed SB554, sponsored by Senator Pat Stefano, which amends the Sunshine Act, or “Open Meetings Law,” to require state government agencies, local municipalities, and school districts to post an agenda online no later … Continue reading NEWS RELEASE: Office of Open Records Applauds New Law on Meeting Agendas


Presentation to PA State Association of Boroughs

14 June 2021

Last week, I enjoyed presenting about the RTKL during the Pennsylvania State Association of Boroughs‘ conference. PSAB set up a great virtual format. I pre-recorded my presentation at a studio; that recording was played live for conference attendees while I answered questions in the chat that ran along the side of the video. An effective … Continue reading Presentation to PA State Association of Boroughs


Regulations have left the building.

28 May 2021

The OOR is thrilled to announce that earlier this week, it took its first formal step in the regulation promulgation process. Regulations will provide greater clarity of the requirements of both the agencies and the requestors during the RTKL appeal process. The Office of the Budget received the proposed regulations and will commence their review; … Continue reading Regulations have left the building.


Review of RTKL Request Webpages

22 April 2021

Holding government accountable via record access is not possible if the public is not well informed about how to request such information.  The OOR is conducting a review of how agencies post Right-to-Know Law (RTKL) information on their websites. Specifically, the review will look at how an agency provides instructions to request information by reviewing a … Continue reading Review of RTKL Request Webpages


Kyle Applegate Is the OOR’s New Chief Counsel

5 April 2021

OOR is thrilled to share exciting changes. After 10 years with the office, Kyle Applegate is our new Chief Counsel. He replaces Charles Rees Brown, who retired after 10 years at OOR and more than 25 with the Commonwealth. Serving as Assistant Chiefs Counsel are Josh Young (seven years at OOR) and Magdalene Zeppos-Brown (six … Continue reading Kyle Applegate Is the OOR’s New Chief Counsel


OOR’s 2020 Annual Report

18 March 2021

The 2020 Annual Report is now posted. Some highlights: 2020 ranks as the second-busiest year ever for the OOR, with 2,764 appeals filed. Breakdown of who filed appeals in 2020: 43% citizens 37% companies 11% inmates 5% media 2% government officials 1% lawmakers 547 appeals involving state agencies; Department of Corrections tops the list at … Continue reading OOR’s 2020 Annual Report


Video, testimony from House State Government Committee hearing

10 March 2021

On March 9, 2021, the OOR testified at a House State Government Committee hearing regarding how Right-to-Know requests were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Video of hearing OOR’s Written Testimony


RTKL Hearing on March 9, 2021

5 March 2021

On March 9 at 1:00, the OOR will be testifying at a House State Government Committee hearing regarding how RTKL requests were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The live stream should be available here: http://www.repgrove.com/LiveStreams


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


Docket Date Title County Status
20211841 09/17/2021 Scott Doyle v. New Hanover Township Police Department Montgomery Dismissed: Incomplete
20211714 09/17/2021 Eugene Ogozalek v. Throop Borough Lackawanna Withdrawn
20211562 09/17/2021 Michael Simmonds and Local Union 126, IBEW v. Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission Commonwealth Partially Granted: Moot
20211218 09/17/2021 Alfred Brown and Dailey LLP v. Receiver for the City of Chester Dauphin Partially Granted/Partially Denied
20210849 09/17/2021 Matthew Haverstick and Kleinbard LLC v. Pennsylvania Department of Revenue Commonwealth Partially Granted/Partially Denied
20192212 09/17/2021 Brian Bush and American Guardian v. Lawrence County Lawrence Withdrawn
20191819 09/17/2021 Brian Bush and American Guardian v. Upper Macungie Township Lehigh Withdrawn
Date Organization
September 22, 2021, 10:00 AM Basics of the Sunshine Act
September 23, 2021, 6:00 PM RTKL Webinar for Senator Muth
September 29, 2021, 10:00 AM RTKL for Law Enforcement
October 6, 2021, 10:00 AM Records Management and Electronic Records Best Practices Webinar
October 13, 2021, 10:00 AM Submitting Evidence in an OOR Appeal
October 13, 2021, 12:00 PM PSAB Open Records Law Webinar