While news organizations, good government groups and – hopefully – public-minded citizens were commemorating right-to-know and open-meetings laws during Sunshine Week last month, clouds of obstruction were forming over the Pennsylvania State Capitol in the form of House Bill 1310.
The bill, sponsored by Rep. Maria Donatucci, D-Philadelphia, would prohibit release of so-called "identifying information" in 911 calls. That would include the name, telephone number, address and location associated with any call.
Much of this information is already protected under the state's current Right to Know law, inaccessible unless a court decides there is a compelling reason for public disclosure. But current law allows public access to "time response logs," which document time and location – or, at least, nearby cross streets – of emergency calls, as well as response times. Continue…