The report found that “most of Pennsylvania’s state and local government agencies receive few RTKL requests, most of the requests are easily fulfilled at a relatively low cost, and only a small percentage of the requests are appealed.”
Annual Costs to Agencies
- Almost 54 percent of agencies reported an annual cost of $500 or less to comply with the Right-to-Know Law (RTKL).
- About 92 percent of agencies reported an annual cost of $10,000 or less.
- The total cost of responding to RTKL requests by all agencies in 2016 is estimated at $5.7 million to $9.7 million. With more than 6,000 agencies across the state, that’s an average cost of just $950 to $1,617 per agency.
Number of RTKL Requests
- An estimated 109,000 RTKL requests were received by all state and local agencies, combined, in 2016.
- The median number of RTKL requests received per individual agency in 2016 was 10.
Number of RTKL Appeals
- Fewer than 3 percent of RTKL requests are appealed.
- A relatively small number of agencies make up a significant portion of the appeals.
- Almost 35 percent of RTKL requests received in 2016 were identified as being for a commercial purpose.
- 69 percent of agencies received at least one commercial request.
- 7 percent of RTKL requests received in 2016 were identified as being from inmates.
- The Department of Corrections received more than half of all inmate requests.
- There is little consensus among agencies on what makes a RTKL request “burdensome.”
- The issue of burdensome requests appears to be highly dependent on what the agency perceives to be burdensome.
The full report includes a great deal of information for anyone interested in Pennsylvania’s Right-to-Know Law and issues of government transparency in general. The staff of LBFC did an excellent job of compiling and analyzing a tremendous amount of data.