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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Presentation to County Treasurers

12 June 2019

Earlier today, I spoke to a gathering of Pennsylvania’s elected county treasurers, hosted by the Pennsylvania State Association of Elected County Officials. The session, part of a conference running June 11-14, was held in Cranberry Township, Butler County, and it focused on the Right-to-Know Law. I very much appreciate the invitation. Here’s the PowerPoint presentation … Continue reading Presentation to County Treasurers


Corporations Not “Individuals” Under RTKL

11 June 2019

The Commonwealth Court recently upheld an Office of Open Records decision finding that corporations are not “individuals” under the Right-to-Know Law exception allowing agencies to withhold donor identities (Section 708(b)(13)). The specific case at issue involved California University of Pennsylvania and a request for records related to donations from Manheim Corporation to the Foundation for … Continue reading Corporations Not “Individuals” Under RTKL


Sunshine Act Webpage Updated

11 June 2019

The Office of Open Records webpage about Pennsylvania’s Sunshine Act was updated recently. We added four new sections: What’s considered deliberation? Can agency members participate in a meeting via telephone or video conference? Can official action be taken at a closed meeting? Can agency members discuss agency business via email and/or social media? And made … Continue reading Sunshine Act Webpage Updated


Get a Daily Digest of All OOR Final Determinations

10 June 2019

Each morning, Tuesday through Saturday, the Office of Open Records sends an email summarizing every Final Determination issued the prior day. Reading that email each morning is a great way — probably the best way — to keep up to date on what issues are being decided in Right-to-Know Law appeals and how those issues … Continue reading Get a Daily Digest of All OOR Final Determinations


Webinar – RTKL for Law Enforcement

7 June 2019

The Office of Open Records is hosting a webinar titled The Right-to-Know Law for Law Enforcement on Thursday, June 13, at 10 a.m. This session, hosted by George Spiess, our Chief of Training and Outreach, will focus on those aspects of the Right-to-Know Law that are specific to police departments, such as investigatory records, the … Continue reading Webinar – RTKL for Law Enforcement


Presentation to Media Requesters

6 June 2019

This morning at the Office of Open Records in Harrisburg, I hosted a training session for a group of media requesters. The session focused on the Right-to-Know Law. Here’s the PowerPoint presentation I used: Media Requester Training – June 6, 2019 – PPTX Media Requester Training – June 6, 2019 – PDF If you’re interested … Continue reading Presentation to Media Requesters


Commonwealth Court: Present All Evidence to the OOR

5 June 2019

In a ruling earlier this week, the Commonwealth Court made it clear to agencies subject to Pennsylvania’s Right-to-Know Law that when an appeal is filed with the Office of Open Records, the agency should present all of its evidence to the OOR. The case, Pennsylvania Department of Health et al v. Wallace McKelvey and PennLive, … Continue reading Commonwealth Court: Present All Evidence to the OOR


Presentations in Hermitage and Saegertown

3 April 2019

Today, at the invitation of Senator Michele Brooks, I’ll be speaking to groups in Hermitage (10 a.m.) and Saegertown (2 p.m.). The sessions will focus on the Right-to-Know Law and related topics, with plenty of time for Q&A. I’m looking forward to two great events, and I very much appreciate the invitation. Here’s the PowerPoint … Continue reading Presentations in Hermitage and Saegertown


Survey: What Do You Want from OOR Webinars?

1 April 2019

The Office of Open Records is planning more webinars about the Right-to-Know Law, the Sunshine Act, and related topics. It would be a huge help to hear from you: What you would like to see in future webinars, what days of the week are best, what times of day are best, etc. Please help us … Continue reading Survey: What Do You Want from OOR Webinars?


OOR Webinars – Last Week & A Look Ahead

18 March 2019

Prior to last week, the Office of Open Records had hosted precisely one webinar. Last week, which was Sunshine Week 2019, we dove in the deep end with nine webinars. Part of our goal was to see how much interest there might be in this kind of training about the Right-to-Know Law and the Sunshine … Continue reading OOR Webinars – Last Week & A Look Ahead


Docket Date Title County Status
2019-0946 06/19/2019 Eisenhauer v. Tinicum Township, Bucks County Bucks Dismissed: Premature
2019-0945 06/19/2019 Eisenhauer v. Tinicum Township, Bucks County Bucks Dismissed: Premature
2019-0942 06/19/2019 Neal v. Industry Water Authority Beaver Dismissed: Untimely
2019-0941 06/19/2019 McCabe v. New Britain Township Bucks Dismissed: Premature
2019-0707 06/19/2019 Ciavaglia v. New Hope Borough Bucks Partially Granted
2019-0899 06/18/2019 Wilson v. Pennsylvania Department of Corrections Commonwealth Denied
2019-0897 06/18/2019 Wilson v. Pennsylvania Department of Corrections Commonwealth Denied
Date Organization
June 25, 2019, 10:00 AM Basics for Agency Open Records Officers Webinar
July 16, 2019, 2:00 PM Register of Wills and Clerk of the Orphans Court Association of Pennsylvania
July 24, 2019, 11:30 AM Requester and Media Training
September 23, 2019, 12:00 AM PA State Association of Township Supervisors-Regional Conference (Indiana)
October 3, 2019, 12:00 AM Cumberland County Association of Township Officials
October 7, 2019, 12:00 AM PA State Association of Township Supervisors-Regional Conference (Lewisburg)