Speaking to Students at Marywood University

Earlier today, I visited Marywood University to speak to the Wood Word staff about Pennsylvania’s Right-to-Know Law.

It was a great discussion, and I appreciate the invitation by Dr. Lindsey Wotanis very much.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation I used:

Marywood University – Wood Word / Dr. Lindsey Wotanis – Oct. 18, 2019 (PPTX)
Marywood University – Wood Word / Dr. Lindsey Wotanis – Oct. 18, 2019 (PDF)

If you’re a professor in Pennsylvania and you’d like me to speak to your class, let me know and I’ll do my best to make it happen.

Presentation at the Tyrone Daily Herald

Earlier this afternoon at the office of the Tyrone Daily Herald, I led a training session about Pennsylvania’s Right-to-Know Law.

Many thanks to the Daily Herald for allowing me to visit. I appreciate it very much.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation I used:

Tyrone Daily Herald – Oct. 17, 2019 (PPTX)
Tyrone Daily Herald – Oct. 17, 2019 (PDF)

If you’re interested in training about the Right-to-Know Law and/or the Sunshine Act (for agencies or requesters), please let us know.

Presentation to the Pennsylvania Library Association

Yesterday in Erie, I spoke to members of the Pennsylvania Library Association about Pennsylvania’s Right-to-Know Law.

Many thanks to PaLA for the invitation. I very much appreciate it and loved having the chance to speak to librarians. When my family lived in Christiana, PA, in the 1980s, the wonderful Moores Memorial Library was right down the street from my house. (The library has since moved to downtown Christiana.) Today, my wife and I are regular users of the Cumberland County Library System.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation I used:

Pennsylvania Library Association – Oct. 13, 2019 (PPTX)
Pennsylvania Library Association – Oct. 13, 2019 (PDF)

If you’re interested in training about the Right-to-Know Law and/or the Sunshine Act (for agencies or requesters), please let us know.

The RTKL & the SCOTUS Food Marketing Institute Decision

Office of Open Records LogoOn June 24, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its ruling in the case of Food Marketing Institute v. Argus Leader Media, which dealt with trade secrets and other commercial information that may be confidential under the federal Freedom of Information Act.

The Supreme Court held that, “Where commercial or financial information is both customarily and actually treated as private by its owner and provided to the government under an assurance of privacy,” the information is confidential under FOIA.

On Friday, Oct. 4, the Office of Open Records issued a final determination in a case dealing (mostly) with medical marijuana permit applications. The agency in that case argued that the Food Marketing Institute decision should apply to Section 708(b)(11) of Pennsylvania’s Right-to-Know Law, which is designed to protect trade secrets and confidential proprietary information.

The OOR held that the RTKL’s treatment of trade secrets and confidential proprietary information (including its definition of “confidential proprietary information”) is significantly different than FOIA’s treatment of such information.

The OOR concluded that because of the different language in the two laws, the SCOTUS decision in Food Marketing Institute “is of no consequence to the RTKL’s definition of confidential proprietary information” and, thus, does not apply to records sought under the RTKL.

The OOR’s analysis is on pages 24-25 of this decision.

Presentation for Media & Citizen Requesters

Later this morning at the Office of Open Records in Harrisburg, I’ll lead a training session about Pennsylvania’s Right-to-Know Law. This session is designed especially for members of the media and members of the public interested in using the RTKL to request government records.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation I’ll use:

Media & Requester Training – Oct. 10, 2019 (PPTX)
Media & Requester Training – Oct. 10, 2019 (PDF)

If you’re interested in training about the Right-to-Know Law and/or the Sunshine Act (for agencies or requesters), please let us know.

Coffee and the Capitol with PSATS

I recently spoke to Joe Gerdes, Director of Government Relations for the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors, about the Right-to-Know Law and how townships across Pennsylvania can be better equipped to handle requests as efficiently as possible.

It was a great conversation, and I appreciate the invitation. Here’s the complete video from our “Coffee and the Capitol” discussion: