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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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


Today at 2 p.m. – RTKL Webinar for Requesters

11 January 2021

Today (Mon., Jan. 11, 2021) at 2 p.m., I will host 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. This webinar will be held via Zoom. You can find all the details you need to join on the OOR’s training … Continue reading Today at 2 p.m. – RTKL Webinar for Requesters


New Citizens’ Guide to the RTKL and Sunshine Act

8 January 2021

The OOR’s Citizens’ Guide to the Right-to-Know Law and Sunshine Act is an introduction to these two laws, both of which promote government transparency. The Citizens’ Guide has been completely rewritten and the new version is available now. The RTKL, also known as the open records law, grants access to public records. The Sunshine Act, … Continue reading New Citizens’ Guide to the RTKL and Sunshine Act


2 New Draft Sample Forms for Public Comment

7 January 2021

The Office of Open Records has posted two new draft sample forms and is seeking public comment on both. The Right-to-Know Law and other statutes make various records public, including certain records from law enforcement agencies and county coroners. The OOR often dockets appeals involving these types of records. In an effort to help these … Continue reading 2 New Draft Sample Forms for Public Comment


OOR to Post Final Determinations from District Attorneys

6 January 2021

Pennsylvania’s Right-to-Know Law gives county District Attorneys the responsibility of appointing an appeals officer to decide RTKL appeals “relating to access to criminal investigative records in possession of a local agency of that county.” District Attorneys have been doing this since the RTKL went into effect at the start of 2009. Until now, there has … Continue reading OOR to Post Final Determinations from District Attorneys


Court Filings Update – New Email Newsletter

5 January 2021

I’m exited to announce that the Office of Open Records will soon start sending a new email newsletter called Court Filings Update — and you you can sign up for it now. The newsletter will be sent regularly, generally multiple times each week, and it will include information about appeals and associated documents filed in … Continue reading Court Filings Update – New Email Newsletter


Docket Date Title County Status
20210615 04/14/2021 Marie Albiges and Spotlight PA v. Pennsylvania Department of State Commonwealth Withdrawn
20210596 04/14/2021 Allison Rapoport and Different Places Inc. v. Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development Commonwealth Withdrawn
20210554 04/14/2021 Carter Walker and LNP News v. Jefferson County Jefferson Withdrawn
20210539 04/14/2021 Brian Budd v. Owen J Roberts School District Chester Withdrawn
20210289 04/14/2021 Antoine Hunter v. Franklin County District Attorney's Office Franklin Transferred
20210251 04/14/2021 Terrence Graham v. Pennsylvania State Police Commonwealth Consolidated
20210250 04/14/2021 Terrence Graham v. Pennsylvania State Police Commonwealth Consolidated
Date Organization
April 14, 2021, 10:00 AM Laws That Protect Information Webinar
April 21, 2021, 10:00 AM Basics of the Right-to-Know Law Webinar
April 28, 2021, 10:00 AM Basics of the Sunshine Act Webinar
April 28, 2021, 12:00 PM PSAB Right-to-Know Law for Law Enforcement Webinar
May 5, 2021, 10:00 AM RTKL for Law Enforcement Webinar
May 26, 2021, 10:00 AM Records Management and Electronic Best Practices for State Government Webinar