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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Speaking to the County Commissioners Association

26 November 2019

Yesterday in Hershey, I spoke to members of the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania at their Newly Elected Officials Workshop & Fall Conference. Not surprisingly, I focused on Pennsylvania’s Right-to-Know Law. More specifically, I encouraged counties (the same would apply to other agencies) to post their most commonly requested records online. For example: County Budgets … Continue reading Speaking to the County Commissioners Association


Article for Pennsylvania County News

19 November 2019

The County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania recently asked me to contribute an article to the Fall 2019 issue of Pennsylvania County News, which I was happy to do. Here’s the complete text of that article. *** Balancing the public’s right to know with confidentiality laws and privacy interests Pennsylvania’s Right-to-Know Law (RTKL) presumes that all … Continue reading Article for Pennsylvania County News


Speaking to Students at the University of Pittsburgh

23 October 2019

Late yesterday, I visited the University of Pittsburgh to speak to Prof. Doug Swanson’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: University of Pittsburgh – Prof. Doug Swanson – Oct. 22, 2019 (PPTX) University of Pittsburgh – Prof. … Continue reading Speaking to Students at the University of Pittsburgh


Speaking to Students at Lock Haven University

22 October 2019

Earlier today, I visited Lock Haven University to speak to Dr. Sharon Stringer’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: Lock Haven University – Dr. Sharon Stringer – Oct. 22, 2019 (PPTX) Lock Haven University – Dr. Sharon … Continue reading Speaking to Students at Lock Haven University


Speaking to Students at Marywood University

18 October 2019

Earlier today, I visited Marywood University to speak to the Wood Word staff about Pennsylvania’s Right-to-Know Law. It was a great discussion, and I appreciate the invitation by Dr. Lindsey Wotanis very much. Here’s the PowerPoint presentation I used: Marywood University – Wood Word / Dr. Lindsey Wotanis – Oct. 18, 2019 (PPTX) Marywood University … Continue reading Speaking to Students at Marywood University


Presentation at the Tyrone Daily Herald

17 October 2019

Earlier this afternoon at the office of the Tyrone Daily Herald, I led a training session about Pennsylvania’s Right-to-Know Law. Many thanks to the Daily Herald for allowing me to visit. I appreciate it very much. Here’s the PowerPoint presentation I used: Tyrone Daily Herald – Oct. 17, 2019 (PPTX) Tyrone Daily Herald – Oct. … Continue reading Presentation at the Tyrone Daily Herald


Presentation to the Pennsylvania Library Association

14 October 2019

Yesterday in Erie, I spoke to members of the Pennsylvania Library Association about Pennsylvania’s Right-to-Know Law. Many thanks to PaLA for the invitation. I very much appreciate it and loved having the chance to speak to librarians. When my family lived in Christiana, PA, in the 1980s, the wonderful Moores Memorial Library was right down … Continue reading Presentation to the Pennsylvania Library Association


Annual RTKL & Sunshine Act Training: Nov. 7

11 October 2019

The Office of Open Records’ Annual Training on Pennsylvania’s Right-to-Know Law and Sunshine Act will take place on Thursday, Nov. 7, at 1:30 p.m. The free event has been approved for 2 CLEs for attorneys. You can join us in person at the Commonwealth Media Center in the State Capitol Building, or via webinar. For … Continue reading Annual RTKL & Sunshine Act Training: Nov. 7


The RTKL & the SCOTUS Food Marketing Institute Decision

10 October 2019

On June 24, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its ruling in the case of Food Marketing Institute v. Argus Leader Media, which dealt with trade secrets and other commercial information that may be confidential under the federal Freedom of Information Act. The Supreme Court held that, “Where commercial or financial information is both customarily and … Continue reading The RTKL & the SCOTUS Food Marketing Institute Decision


Presentation for Media & Citizen Requesters

10 October 2019

Later this morning at the Office of Open Records in Harrisburg, I’ll lead a training session about Pennsylvania’s Right-to-Know Law. This session is designed especially for members of the media and members of the public interested in using the RTKL to request government records. Here’s the PowerPoint presentation I’ll use: Media & Requester Training – … Continue reading Presentation for Media & Citizen Requesters


Docket Date Title County Status
2019-2523 12/13/2019 Linder v. Lower Merion Township Montgomery Dismissed: Untimely
2019-2519 12/13/2019 Dunbar v. Old Forge Borough Lackawanna Dismissed: Premature
2019-2518 12/13/2019 Dunbar v. Old Forge Borough Lackawanna Dismissed: Premature
2019-2225 12/13/2019 Broscious v. Pennsylvania Department of Transportation Commonwealth Denied
2019-2201 12/13/2019 Byrd v. City of Philadelphia Police Department Philadelphia Denied
2019-2113 12/13/2019 Burda v. Adams County Adams Dismissed: Moot
2019-2504 12/12/2019 Spencer v. Fountain Hill Borough Lehigh Withdrawn
Date Organization
January 23, 2020, 12:00 AM Central PA Chiefs of Police
January 28, 2020, 9:00 AM Wrightstown Township
March 9, 2020, 2:00 PM Pennsylvania Association of Sewage Enforcement Officers
May 21, 2020, 12:00 AM PA State Association of Boroughs
May 28, 2020, 12:00 AM PA State Association of Boroughs
September 17, 2020, 12:00 AM PA State Association of Boroughs