Pennsylvania

1. Character of exemptions. M2A1

(This section is blank. See the subpoints below.)

FOREWORD

Open Records. The Pennsylvania Open Records Law (popularly known as the “Right to Know” Act) was originally enacted in 1957. In 2002, the Pennsylvania Assembly amended the Act, setting forth for the first time a number of procedures and requirements governing, inter alia, requests, the agency’s response and appellate review.

d. Language

Although this largely depends on the applicable local court rules, the motion should briefly give the background of the motion, state the argument and relief requested, and include a proposed order and memorandum of law. Because trial court judges are usually unfamiliar with these privileges, it is important to educate the court as to their nature, scope and underlying public policies.

12. Settlement, pros and cons.

For a number of reasons, including the lack of an expedited hearing mechanism, viable settlements should be pursued.

4. Investigatory records.

(This section is blank. See the subpoints below.)

3. Are certain records available for inspection but not copying?

The Act requires agencies to make public, legislative and financial records “accessible for inspection and duplication...” 65 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 66.2(a). This is consistent with prior case law. See City of Philadelphia v. Ruczynski, 24 Pa. D. & C.2d 478 (Phila. Cty. C.P. 1961) (interpreting old act).

Round-the-clock access is not required: “Public records, legislative records or financial records shall be available for access during the regular business hours of an agency.” Section 701(a).

H. Grand jury testimony by public employees. M3H

Closed. See Pa. R. Crim. P. 209; see also 42 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 4549. Grand jury sessions are not meetings under the Act.

5. Nongovernmental groups whose members include governmental officials. M1C5

No cases under the Act, although the definition of “agency” is arguably broad enough to cover such an organization if it performs “an essential governmental function.”