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.

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RTKL Webinar for Requesters

26 August 2020

This morning, I hosted a webinar about the Right-to-Know Law designed for requesters, including members of the media and anyone interested in accessing government records in Pennsylvania. Thank you to everyone who participated! Here’s the PowerPoint presentation I used: The Right-to-Know Law for Requesters The OOR regularly hosts webinars and in-person training sessions about various … Continue reading RTKL Webinar for Requesters


Act 77 of 2020: Guidelines Published by the Office of Open Records

31 July 2020

NOTE: These guidelines are also available as a PDF. The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has challenged public agencies across Pennsylvania to find a way to continue providing access to public records and public meetings during a time when many offices were physically closed and social distancing requirements prevented large gatherings. Among the many lessons learned are … Continue reading Act 77 of 2020: Guidelines Published by the Office of Open Records


Process for Writing Guidelines Pursuant to HB 2463

27 July 2020

House Bill 2463, which will officially be assigned an act number soon, is now law. This law requires the Office of Open Records to “publish guidelines for a Commonwealth agency specifying how the Commonwealth agency is required to respond to a request for records made during a disaster declaration when the Governor has ordered the … Continue reading Process for Writing Guidelines Pursuant to HB 2463


Statement on House Bill 2463

25 July 2020

The following is a statement from Erik Arneson, Executive Director of the Office of Open Records: House Bill 2463 would require the Office of Open Records to “publish guidelines for a Commonwealth agency specifying how the Commonwealth agency is required to respond to a request for records made during a disaster declaration when the Governor … Continue reading Statement on House Bill 2463


Right-to-Know Law Case Law Index

24 June 2020

The Office of Open Records has published the Right-to-Know Law Case Law Index, which summarizes and organizes major court decisions regarding Pennsylvania’s RTKL. I’m very excited to make the RTKL Case Law Index available to the public and hope that it will be a valuable resource for agencies, requesters, and attorneys. It will be updated … Continue reading Right-to-Know Law Case Law Index


Speaking to Students at Robert Morris University

23 April 2020

Yesterday, I traveled to Robert Morris University near Pittsburgh to speak to Dr. Philip Harold’s journalism class about Pennsylvania’s Right-to-Know Law and Sunshine Act. (Well, “traveled” is not quite accurate… we used Google Meet.) It was a great discussion with fantastic questions, and I appreciate the invitation very much. Here’s the PowerPoint presentation I used: … Continue reading Speaking to Students at Robert Morris University


2020 AORO Survey Results

9 April 2020

Earlier this year, the Office of Open Records conducted the fourth statewide survey of Agency Open Records Officers (AOROs), the people directly responsible for responding to Right-to-Know Law requests in Pennsylvania. Some highlights from this year’s survey: We received 1,433 responses from a wide variety of agency types. (Last year, we received 1,054 responses.) Responses … Continue reading 2020 AORO Survey Results


2019 OOR Annual Report

8 April 2020

2019 was the second-busiest year ever for the Office of Open Records. That’s one of the facts included in the OOR’s newly released 2019 Annual Report. The OOR is required to “annually report on its activities and findings to the Governor and the General Assembly” (Section 1310(a)(9) of the Right-to-Know Law). Typically, the annual report … Continue reading 2019 OOR Annual Report


Sunshine Week Webinars Postponed

16 March 2020

The Office of Open Records webinars scheduled to take place this week will be rescheduled.


The RTKL and the Coronavirus (COVID-19)

12 March 2020

The Office of Open Records has issued the following Advisory regarding Pennsylvania’s Right-to-Know Law and the COVID-19 emergency. Last updated August 12 at 12:08 p.m. *** All counties are in “yellow” or “green” status pursuant to the latest guidance published by the Pennsylvania Department of Health. Accordingly, all agencies should process RTKL requests as they … Continue reading The RTKL and the Coronavirus (COVID-19)


Docket Date Title County Status
2020-2111 10/19/2020 DeSafey v. Washington County Washington Dismissed: Premature
2020-2001 10/19/2020 Holman v. Troy Borough Bradford Withdrawn
2020-1974 10/19/2020 Bradley v. Lehighton Area School District Carbon Dismissed: Incomplete
2020-1956 10/19/2020 Holman v. Womelsdorf Borough Berks Withdrawn
2020-1945 10/19/2020 Mistek v. Ontelaunee Township Berks Denied
2020-1863 10/19/2020 Thompkins v. Pennsylvania Department of Human Services Commonwealth Denied
2020-1852 10/19/2020 Siford v. Pennsylvania State Police Commonwealth Denied
Date Organization
October 21, 2020, 10:00 AM Basics of the Sunshine Act Webinar
October 27, 2020, 10:00 AM Berks County Library System
October 28, 2020, 10:00 AM The Right-to-Know Law for Law Enforcement Webinar
November 4, 2020, 10:00 AM Right-to-Know Law Payment Issues Webinar
December 2, 2020, 10:00 AM Requester and Media Training
December 9, 2020, 10:00 AM Affidavits: Supporting Exemptions Under the RTKL Webinar