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 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 June 5 at 11:30 a.m. *** As of June 5, 2020, all counties are in “yellow” or “green” status pursuant to the latest guidance published by the Pennsylvania Department of Health. Accordingly, all agencies should … Continue reading The RTKL and the Coronavirus (COVID-19)


The Sunshine Act and the Coronavirus (COVID-19)

11 March 2020

The Office of Open Records has issued the following Advisory regarding Pennsylvania’s Sunshine Act and the coronavirus (COVID-19). Last updated June 12 at 6:12 p.m. *** This advisory relates to all meetings governed by the Sunshine Act; it is not limited to emergency meetings. As a starting point, it’s key for agencies to remember that … Continue reading The Sunshine Act and the Coronavirus (COVID-19)


Speaking to Students at Drexel University

3 March 2020

Earlier today, I visited Drexel University in Philadelphia to speak to Dr. Ronald Bishop’s journalism class about Pennsylvania’s Right-to-Know Law. It was a great discussion, and I appreciate the invitation very much. Here’s the PowerPoint presentation I used: Drexel University – Dr. Ronald Bishop – March 3, 2020 (PPTX) Drexel University – Dr. Ronald Bishop … Continue reading Speaking to Students at Drexel University


Speaking to Students at Temple University

28 February 2020

Yesterday afternoon, I visited Temple University in Philadelphia to speak to Dr. Logan Molyneux’s journalism class about Pennsylvania’s Right-to-Know Law. It was a great discussion, and I appreciate the invitation very much. Here’s the PowerPoint presentation I used: Temple University – Dr. Logan Molyneux – Feb. 27, 2020 (PPTX) Temple University – Dr. Logan Molyneux … Continue reading Speaking to Students at Temple University


Speaking to Students at Upland Country Day School

28 February 2020

On Wednesday morning, I visited Upland Country Day School in Kennett Square to speak to two classes (9th grade and 7th grade) about the importance of government transparency and how Pennsylvania’s Right-to-Know Law works. Teacher Judson Morris led the discussions, and I really appreciate the invitation to return to a school I graduated from in … Continue reading Speaking to Students at Upland Country Day School


Docket Date Title County Status
2020-0846 07/13/2020 Spigler v. Pennsylvania Office of Inspector General Commonwealth Dismissed: Premature
2020-0833 07/13/2020 Miller v. Allegheny County Allegheny Denied
2020-0792 07/13/2020 Pontecorvo v. Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Commonwealth Partially Granted/Partially Denied
2020-0778 07/13/2020 Bartholomew v. West Manchester Township York Granted
2020-0777 07/13/2020 Bartholomew v. West Manchester Township York Partially Granted/Partially Denied
2020-0776 07/13/2020 Bartholomew v. West Manchester Township York Denied
2020-0665 07/13/2020 Wright v. Pennsylvania Department of State Commonwealth Dismissed: Incomplete
Date Organization
July 15, 2020, 10:00 AM REQUESTER AND MEDIA TRAINING
July 22, 2020, 10:00 AM Basics for Agency Open Records Officers Webinar
July 29, 2020, 10:00 AM Basics of the Sunshine Act Webinar
August 5, 2020, 10:00 AM RTKL for Law Enforcement Webinar
August 6, 2020, 12:50 PM Legal Update - Pennsylvania State Association of Boroughs
August 12, 2020, 10:00 AM RTKL and Payment Issue Webinar