Transparency Zone, February 2023

When filing an appeal, the requestor must include the agency’s response to the original Right-to-Know request. 2023-0252

An agency meets its burden of providing access to public records when it provides a weblink to the responsive records. 2023-0262

Employment applications for an individual who is not hired by an agency are exempt from public access, even when the requester seeks records related to his own application. 2022-2830

An agency failed to justify the costs it charged for duplication and mailing of a granted records request. 2022-2774

Agencies are not required to provide copies of agency hard drives.  2023-0191

Transparency Zone, January 2023

Some records related to an investigation of alleged elder abuse are exempt under the Older Adult Protective Service Act. 2022-2868

The Office of Open Records does not have jurisdiction over appeals of unemployment compensation benefits decisions.  2023-0108

Some libraries are considered a local government agency (2022-2541) while others are not (2022-2853).

A police department failed to establish that it does not possess records related to the mileage of cars in its fleet. 2022-2583

The agency failed to prove that aggregate number of medical marijuana certifications issued by practitioners are exempt under the Medical Marijuana Act. 2022-2635

OOR Adopts RTKL Fee Schedule

Section 1307 of the Right-To-Know Law requires the Office of Open Records to establish a fee schedule for Commonwealth agencies and local agencies. Section 1310 of the RTKL requires the OOR to review that fee schedule every other year. Duplication fees charged under the RTKL must be reasonable and based on “prevailing fees for comparable duplication services provided by local business entities.”

On December 30, 2022, the OOR completed a review of the OOR Fee Schedule based on a regional review of pricing information gathered from a random sampling of local businesses that provide duplication services across the Commonwealth.  After that review, the OOR has decided to maintain the current Official RTKL Fee Schedule that was last updated on December 22, 2020.  However, the OOR is monitoring the increasing prices for supplies and will conduct another limited review of only the per page fee for black and white and color copies in July, 2023 to be completed no later than August 15, 2023.  The limited review will determine whether an adjustment to the fee schedule is warranted based on those increasing costs.

Transparency Zone, December 2022

A government agency must prove that redactions in legal invoices consist of an attorney’s conclusions, legal theories, legal research or opinions. 2022-2709

Proposals related to a canceled bidding process are public records even if those proposals were never formally rejected.  2022-2521

An agency is only required to provide records in the manner in which the currently exist, and not necessarily in the manner preferred by the requester. 2022-2169

An employee’s union affiliation is protected by the constitutional right to freedom of association. 2022-2291

Transparency Zone, November 2022

A list of 9th graders enrolled at Central High broken down by middle school attended is protected by FERPA. 2022-2258

Granted request for data on collisions in the Delaware River as agency failed to prove records are internal/predecisional deliberations, noncriminal investigative records, or subject to a federal confidentiality statute. 2022-1985

A county consortium for school district health insurance proved that it is not an agency under the RTKL. 2022-2279

Engineering and architectural drawings may not be photographed if they are protected by the Federal Copyright Act. 2022-2347

Phase 2 of OOR E-File Appeal Portal Process

During the summer, we shared the exciting news that the OOR is moving forward with our E-File Appeal Portal, with the goal of having all Right-to-Know Law (RTKL) appeals processed through the E-File Portal by spring of 2023.  Use of the E-File Portal will provide a one-stop location for all records involving all appeals, ending the cumbersome practice of individuals keeping track of numerous documents and contact information.

On August 1, 2022, we began Phase 1, of the three-phase process, by electronically processing all appeals involving Commonwealth agencies under the Governor’s jurisdiction, with a few exceptions, through the E-File Appeal Portal system.  Additionally, with the help of numerous volunteers, we have processed many appeals involving a variety of local agencies.  With the exception of few minor issues, the Portal was a success.

Today, we are pleased to announce that, after making minor improvements based on what was learned during Phase 1, the OOR is ready to move into Phase 2.  During Phase 2, in addition to the Commonwealth agencies currently utilizing the E-File Portal, every third appeal received that involves a local agency will be assigned for processing through the E-File Portal.  In this phase, the OOR will not seek permission from the parties prior to assigning the appeal to the E-File Portal.  Phase 2, will begin on Monday, December 5, 2022.  Voluntary use of the E-File Portal is still encouraged.

You may want to refer to the OOR E-File Appeal Portal User Guide available on the OOR website. Please review it with your relevant staff and stakeholders. OOR staff will be available for questions, resolve any user problems, and receive feedback. Information about Phase 2, will also be posted on the OOR website. We are looking forward to working with all of you towards the goal of establishing the E-File Portal as a speedier and more efficient system for processing RTKL appeals across the Commonwealth.

The full rollout will occur in Phase 3, and it is anticipated to occur in the spring of 2023.  A firm date will be provided in early 2023.

Transparency Zone, October 2022

Aggregate data about disability services provided to students may be public information.  2022-1989

Agency proved that it has not promulgated regulations defining “chicken meal” and thus a document responsive to the Request does not exist. 2022-2254

An agency may not be allowed to withhold a surveillance video if sensitive images may be blurred (“redacted”). 2022-1908

The Disease Prevention and Control Law allows the withholding of lead testing results even if the identities of individuals can be redacted. 2022-1724

If an agency has the technical ability to securely redact the responsive records electronically, it may not charge the requester for printing fees. 2022-2098

Annual Training is November 15

The Office of Open Records (OOR) will conduct its annual Right-to-Know Law (RTKL) and Sunshine Act training on Tuesday, Nov. 15, at 10 a.m. This year’s session, which will be held via Microsoft Teams, will include the following topics:

  • Basics of Pennsylvania’s Right-to-Know Law,
  • Best practices and tips for requesting records, and
  • Best practices and tips for agencies when dealing with Right-to-Know requests and appeals.

The OOR’s Annual Training is free and open to everyone. Attendees will have ample opportunity to ask questions.  Visit for information on how to participate in this year’s session.  

OOR Reviewing RTKL Fee Schedule, Seeking Comments

Section 1307 of the Right-To-Know Law requires the Office of Open Records to establish a RTKL Fee Schedule for Commonwealth agencies and local agencies. Section 1310 of the RTKL requires the OOR to review that fee schedule every other year.

The OOR last updated the fee schedule in 2020. Today, our biannual review of the RTKL Fee Schedule officially begins for 2022.

We welcome your input. Please send all comments about the RTKL Fee Schedule to this email address:

The deadline to submit comments is Wednesday, November 30, 2022.

PUBLIC RECORD NOTICE: All comments submitted to the Office of Open Records will be public records and subject to public access with limited exceptions. If you do not want to include personal contact information in a publicly accessible record, please provide alternate contact information.