New Right-to-Know Law is Passed

Governor Rendell signed what now is referred to as Act 3 of 2008, which significantly changes Pennsylvania’s Right to Know Law. The new law (html pdf) applies only to those requests made after December 31, 2008, so there is still time to learn the new law before it will be operational.

One major change is that, while the old version of the law presumed that all records were not public unless they fit one of the statutory definitions of “public records subject to disclosure,” the new version of the law starts from the presumption that all records are public unless they are privileged or meet one of the various statutory exceptions.

Additionally, the law requires that local agencies designate an open-records officer who is responsible for assuring compliance by the agency with the new law.

This is a pretty comprehensive re-write of the law, so there is bound to be confusion about its application. Stay tuned, though, to see how this change really impacts the requesting public, if it does at all.


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