PA: Township pulls Office of Open Records into legal battle

Londonderry Township has drawn the state Office of Open Records into its legal battle with a persistent Susquehanna River islander. In a petition filed with Dauphin County Court, township officials are seeking to overturn multiple OOR rulings requiring them to hand over information Glenn Harmon requested under Pennsylvania’s Right to Know Law. Londonderry leaders claim…


Pittsburgh Mayor and Allegheny County Executive refused to releasecity’s bid for Amazon’s HQ2

The refusal by Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto and Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald to release the city’s bid for Amazon’s second headquarters shows how little regard officials have for the public’s right to know — and how easily the open-records law can be manipulated by government agencies preferring to operate in secret. Mr. Peduto and…


Bethlehem, PA considers open data dump to lure civic hackers

In Bethlehem, city leaders are considering posting already public information online, hoping data lovers might spin it into something useful.

It's all part of the open data movement, where governments upload records on such things as air quality, crime, finances and traffic for people to digest, analyze and transform. Tech savvy millennials, so-called "civic hackers" and citizen watchdogs are the target audiences, with a hope that they will apply the data in ways that lead to better policies and more efficient governments.


Pa. open records law faces legislative changes

From NBC Philadelphia: Right-to-know requests from a private citizen recently uncovered an alarming lack of accountability and oversight in the finances of the Oley Valley School District.

Among the findings were vague bookkeeping methods, unchecked lines of credit at area stores without district officials’ knowledge and bills for meals at upscale restaurants not being filed properly.

Visit NBC Philadelphia for more.



Pa. state universities continue fight against more transparency

From The Mercury: The four biggest taxpayer-funded universities in Pennsylvania continue to push back against proposed legislation that would give taxpayers to the right to know how hundreds of millions of dollars are spent each year.


Penn State, other state-related schools say Pa. shouldn’t alter status under Right-to-Know Law

From The Republic: HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania — Lawyers for Penn State and Pennsylvania’s three other “state-related” universities said Monday they should not be fully covered by the state Right-to-Know Law, as lawmakers revisited a previously settled question reignited by the Jerry Sandusky child molestation case.

The attorneys said during a four-hour Capitol hearing on proposed changes to the state’s main open-records law that it should not apply to them as it does to the 14 state-owned schools in the State System of Higher Education.


Requests from inmates overwhelm Pa. open records system

From Proposed revisions to Pennsylvania’s open records law appear to require more fine-tuning as lawmakers attempt to address a surging number of requests from prison inmates.

State prisoners are among the most frequent filers when it comes to seeking documents under the state’s open records law with the number of requests rising steadily since 2009. Proposed legislation calls for limiting the scope of those requests.


Daily Local News files Right-to-Know appeal

From Daily Local News: The Daily Local News filed an appeal with the state’s Office of Open Records on Friday regarding three Right-to-Know requests for public documents denied by the Coatesville Area School District.

Requests were made for numbers of all district-issued cell phones and the names of employees associated with those numbers; names, job titles, lengths of stay and salaries for three specific school district employees; and names, job titles, lengths of stay and salaries of all employees in the school district.


Penn. state police take open-records dispute to court

From HARRISBURG — The Pennsylvania State Police are going to court to fight a state lawmaker’s open-records request.

State Rep. Tim Mahoney, D-32, South Union Township, has been seeking the number of troopers assigned to the Uniontown station through the state’s right-to-know law since early June. The lawmaker is concerned the trooper level there is too low, and he wants to use the information to push for more police funding.


Trib wins appeal to open records in settlement with former county inmate

From Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:  The county must obtain and release the settlement between a nonprofit that provides medical services at the Allegheny County Jail and a former inmate because the county created, funds and shares offices with the organization, the state Office of Open Records ruled Monday in response to an appeal filed by the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.