Transparency Zone, May/June 2024
Open Records in Pennsylvania
by Liz Wagenseller
2w ago
2024-0939: The clearance procedures of a prison x-ray body scanner are exempt, but the testing/maintenance records of a prison x-ray machine are accessible under the RTKL. 2024-1033: A list of property addresses and corresponding terminology used by a city councilmember are not exempt under the RTKL as personal notes or working papers. 2024-0921: A county was not required to contact a nonprofit tourism promotion agency for relevant information when responding to a RTKL request because there was no contractual relationship. 2024-1269: Agency did not show that information regarding the amount an ..read more
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Exemptions, Explained: 708 (b)(8), Labor Relations and Collective Bargaining Agreements
Open Records in Pennsylvania
by Liz Wagenseller
3w ago
In this post, we discuss records related to labor relations and collective bargaining agreements, covered in section 708(b)(8).  Senior Appeals Officer Kelly Isenberg provided the legal analysis.  As of June 24, 2024, this exemption has been cited in 99 OOR appeals.   Section 708(b)(8) exempts: A record pertaining to strategy or negotiations relating to labor relations or collective bargaining and related arbitration proceedings. This subparagraph shall not apply to a final or executed contract or agreement between the parties in a collective bargaining procedure. in the c ..read more
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Attention Open Records Officers
Open Records in Pennsylvania
by Liz Wagenseller
1M ago
Good afternoon. Earlier today, we sent all agency open records officers registered with our office a link to a survey. Understanding the challenges facing agencies who are subject to the Right-to-Know Law (RTKL) is an important goal of the Office of Open Records (OOR); this survey project is a critical way to gather that information. The survey should take about five minutes, asking basic information regarding your agency’s experiences with Right-to-Know requests, helping inform the OOR and policy makers. We’re also asking if the Open Records Officer is willing and interested in being contacte ..read more
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FOIA Buddy
Open Records in Pennsylvania
by Liz Wagenseller
2M ago
The OOR has been contacted by numerous agencies who have received Right-to-Know Law requests from requesters using FOIA Buddy. Please read this for more information ..read more
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Transparency Zone, April 2024
Open Records in Pennsylvania
by Liz Wagenseller
2M ago
The Liquor Control Board demonstrated that granting access to bourbon whiskey delivery schedule records to different County liquor stores would threaten the security of an individual. This decision has been appealed to Commonwealth Court. 2024-0251 The applications of unsuccessful applicants for a position, including those applicants’ names, are exempt records. 2024-0539 The Copyright Act may prohibit the reproduction of copyrighted works, but the agency must permit the requester to inspect the responsive records. 2024-0443 A Zoom recording of a cyber charter school public meeting is not ..read more
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Transparency Zone, March 2024
Open Records in Pennsylvania
by Liz Wagenseller
3M ago
A requester is entitled to a refund of duplication fees paid for records produced by the agency that are not responsive to the request. 2023-2227 The identity of the requester and motivation for the request are irrelevant in determining whether records are exempt from disclosure. 2024-0266 The RTKL’s exemption for trade secrets or confidential, proprietary information does not apply to financial records. 2024-0272 Responsive records may not be subject to the Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act (“FERPA”) if the records can be redacted such that the student’s identity cannot be ascertain ..read more
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The Demand for Election Records
Open Records in Pennsylvania
by Liz Wagenseller
4M ago
The 2020 presidential election will go down in history as one of Pennsylvania’s most memorable. The impact on Right-to-Know Law (RTKL) requests was swift, prolonged, and intense. Requesters sought records related to mail-in ballots, voting machines, and security policies. More than three years later, election related RTKL appeals still remain above pre-November 2020 levels. With the 2024 Presidential election just eight months away, seeing where the dust has settled after this wave of requests and appeals helps give some insight into the current status of a number of important legal issues. A ..read more
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2023 Annual Report
Open Records in Pennsylvania
by Liz Wagenseller
4M ago
The Office of Open Records is proud to present its 2023 Annual Report. Read it here. Highlights from this year’s annual report include: Another record-breaking year, with 3,147 appeals filed with the Office of Open Records, a 14 percent increase in three years and a 41 percent increase in five years. Of those, 2,366 appeals involved local agencies and 670 involved state agencies. Top 10 issues most raised on appeal and addressed by OOR. Ten examples of records accessed via the RTKL. Top OOR accomplishments in 2023. 90 mediations to resolve appeals and 49 training sessions conducted acros ..read more
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Transparency Zone, February 2024
Open Records in Pennsylvania
by Liz Wagenseller
5M ago
An agency may enforce a policy that requires use of the “standard statewide RTK form” for all requests. 2024-0292 An agency may respond to a request by directing a requester to a publicly accessible website that contains all of the data points. 2024-0196 Bridge inspection reports are exempt from access under the Vehicle Code. 2024-0329 Children and Youth Services records are protected under the Child Protective Services Law. 2023-3111 ..read more
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Sunshine Week Summit 2024 (In-Person and Virtual)
Open Records in Pennsylvania
by Liz Wagenseller
5M ago
In celebration of Sunshine Week 2024, the Office of Open Records is joining other stakeholders on March 13 from 9-12 for a great discussion: Sunshine Act Update. Learn more about the state’s open meetings law, the Sunshine Act. This discussion will include a review of recent Commonwealth Court decisions.  Valuable tips and trends essential for both legal practitioners and news organizations will be shared. Investigative Journalists & the Right-to-Know Law. We’ll hear from seasoned investigative reporters who explain the challenges they’ve had in obtaining records as well as best ..read more
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