With move to expand open-records law pending, most Pa. agencies get few requests

The president tried to block a book’s publication. Philadelphia’s district attorney caught criticism for the secrecy surrounding controversial staff changes. New Jersey authorities banned a best-selling book on mass incarceration in two state prisons, prompting the state’s American Civil Liberties Union to intervene. And two Philly journalists recently had to sue to force city officials to release public records on jurors.

You don’t have to look long to find examples of government officials trying to hide facts from the public.

But for anyone disheartened by the trampling of transparency, Erik Arneson has some good news: Pennsylvania’s open-records law is working well, helping thousands of citizens access information that enables them to learn more about their government officials — and hold them accountable.

Arneson heads the state’s Office of Open Records, which recently polled about 1,300 public agencies (of about 5,000 state and local agencies statewide) about their experiences responding to requests filed under Pennsylvania’s Right-to-Know Law. Read more….