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.
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.
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.
Over the summer, we conducted a survey of Agency Open Records Officers (AOROs) to get a sense of the volume and complexity of the Right-to-Know Law (RTKL) requests they’ve received in 2021 and 2020. We received responses from 983 AOROs across the state.
As in recent years, roughly a third of agencies report receiving more than 20 RTKL requests a year. The biggest change compared to previous years is the average number of hours per week that the agency spends on RTKL requests. In 2021, a majority (41 percent) of AOROs estimated that their agency spent more than two hours a week on RKTL requests; in 2019, just 20 percent said the same.
The complete results are below.