Pennsylvania

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).

A. In general

Overview

Pennsylvania

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.

2. Deposit of security

There is no requirement under either the Shield Law or the First Amendment privilege that the subpoenaing party deposit any security in order to procure the testimony or materials of the reporter.

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.”

2. Negotiations.

Real estate negotiations are presumptively accessible.

A. Exemptions in the open records statute.

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

A. When to challenge. M4A

Legal challenges under the Act must be filed within 30 days of a closed meeting or within 30 days of discovery of an action that occurred at a closed meeting at which the Act was violated. In the latter case, there is a one-year outside time limit. 65 Pa. Cons. Stat. §  713. See, e.g., Day v. Civil Service Comm’n of the Borough of Carlisle, 931 A.2d 646 (Pa. 2007) (Sunshine Act challenge brought eight months after closed meeting was untimely); Lawrence Cty. v. Brenner, 582 A.2d 79 (Pa. Commw. Ct. 1990), appeal denied, 593 A.2d 426 (Pa.