Presentation to County Treasurers

Office of Open Records LogoEarlier today, I spoke to a gathering of Pennsylvania’s elected county treasurers, hosted by the Pennsylvania State Association of Elected County Officials.

The session, part of a conference running June 11-14, was held in Cranberry Township, Butler County, and it focused on the Right-to-Know Law.

I very much appreciate the invitation.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation I used:

County Treasurers – June 12, 2019 – PPTX
County Treasurers – June 12, 2019 – PDF

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

Sunshine Act Webpage Updated

Office of Open Records LogoThe Office of Open Records webpage about Pennsylvania’s Sunshine Act was updated recently.

We added four new sections:

  1. What’s considered deliberation?
  2. Can agency members participate in a meeting via telephone or video conference?
  3. Can official action be taken at a closed meeting?
  4. Can agency members discuss agency business via email and/or social media?

And made noteworthy updates to three sections:

  1. Can the public comment during public meetings?
  2. Can public meetings be recorded?
  3. Are there penalties for violating the Sunshine Act?

We also clarified that advance public notice is required for agency committee meetings, and that published notice must be in paid newspapers of general circulation (in addition to being posted on site).

The OOR does not have enforcement authority over the Sunshine Act, but Section 1310(a)(3) of the Right-to-Know Law authorizes (and in fact requires) the OOR to provide training on the Act. If you’re interested in training about the Sunshine Act and/or the Right-to-Know Law, please let us know.

Get a Daily Digest of All OOR Final Determinations

Office of Open Records LogoEach morning, Tuesday through Saturday, the Office of Open Records sends an email summarizing every Final Determination issued the prior day.

Reading that email each morning is a great way — probably the best way — to keep up to date on what issues are being decided in Right-to-Know Law appeals and how those issues are being decided.

If you deal with Pennsylvania’s RTKL on a regular basis, or you’re interested in Pennsylvania government transparency generally, I think it’s a must-read.

To subscribe, just head over to the OOR website and fill out this simple form. You can also choose whether or not you want to subscribe to our occasional, more general newsletter about issues related to the RTKL, the Sunshine Act, and government transparency.

Here’s a sample of what the email looks like:

Webinar – RTKL for Law Enforcement

Office of Open Records LogoThe Office of Open Records is hosting a webinar titled The Right-to-Know Law for Law Enforcement on Thursday, June 13, at 10 a.m.

This session, hosted by George Spiess, our Chief of Training and Outreach, will focus on those aspects of the Right-to-Know Law that are specific to police departments, such as investigatory records, the impact of Act 22 of 2017 (which covers police recordings), and CHRIA.

More information about the webinar is available on the OOR’s Training Calendar.

The OOR also has published a RTKL Guide for Law Enforcement Agencies.

Presentation to Media Requesters

This morning at the Office of Open Records in Harrisburg, I hosted a training session for a group of media requesters. The session focused on the Right-to-Know Law.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation I used:

Media Requester Training – June 6, 2019 – PPTX
Media Requester Training – June 6, 2019 – PDF

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

Survey: What Do You Want from OOR Webinars?

Office of Open Records Logo

The Office of Open Records is planning more webinars about the Right-to-Know Law, the Sunshine Act, and related topics.

It would be a huge help to hear from you: What you would like to see in future webinars, what days of the week are best, what times of day are best, etc.

Please help us out by completing this quick survey.

And to be sure you hear about the webinars, subscribe to the OOR’s email newsletter.

Thank you.

OOR Webinars – Last Week & A Look Ahead

Office of Open Records LogoPrior to last week, the Office of Open Records had hosted precisely one webinar. Last week, which was Sunshine Week 2019, we dove in the deep end with nine webinars.

Part of our goal was to see how much interest there might be in this kind of training about the Right-to-Know Law and the Sunshine Act. The OOR has been doing on-site trainings since the law went into effect in 2009, and we don’t intend to stop. But webinars can reach a wider audience more efficiently.

I’m thrilled to report that we had more than 600 people sign up to participate in those nine webinars. (Some of those 600 are repeat customers – people who signed up for more than one.) As a result, we will definitely be scheduling more web-based training sessions.

Of the nine sessions we offered last week, here’s how they ranked in terms of public interest:

  • Sunshine Act Training
  • Basics for New Agency Open Records Officers (AOROs)
  • Recent Court & OOR Decisions of Note
  • About OOR Mediation
  • AOROs: Preparing Affidavits for Appeals
  • OOR Website Resources
  • RTKL Training for Requesters
  • 2019 AORO Survey Results
  • OOR Annual Report

If you’d like to suggest other topics, please let us know. And the best way to be notified of upcoming OOR webinars is to sign up for our email newsletter!