March 20 in Pittsburgh: Sunshine Week Conference

On Friday, March 20, I’ll be speaking about the Right-to-Know Law as part of the Access, Transparency and Your Right to Know daylong conference taking place at the Kimpton Hotel Monaco in Pittsburgh.

My discussion (and there will be plenty of opportunity for Q&A) will take place during the luncheon, but the entire event kicks off at 9:30 a.m.

Here’s how the organizers describe the event:

A coalition of nonprofit media organizations is holding a one-day conference to explore Pennsylvania’s open government and right-to-know laws. Timed to fall within Sunshine Week 2020, the gathering will feature sessions aimed at professional journalists, students, and individuals who have an interest in accessing government meetings and information.

Sessions will look at the Pennsylvania Right to Know Act, the Clean Slate law, the Sunshine Act and other access and transparency issues and the event will feature a keynote presentation from Erik Arneson, executive director of the Office of Open Records. Additional speakers to include representation from the ACLU, UVA Law School’s First Amendment Clinic, Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, PA Post, PublicSource, Spotlight PA, StateImpactPA, The Caucus and more.

Schedule and session program forthcoming.

More information is available here.

I hope you can join us!

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.

Recent Court and OOR Decisions of Note

This morning, the Office of Open Records is hosting a webinar focusing on recent court and OOR decisions under the Right-to-Know Law and the Sunshine Act.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation that our Chief Counsel, Charles Brown, prepared for this session:

Recent Court and OOR Decisions of Note – March 14, 2019 – PDF
Recent Court and OOR Decisions of Note – March 14, 2019 – PPTX

The OOR regularly provides training on Pennsylvania’s Right-to-Know Law and Sunshine Act. Our training calendar is available here, and we always welcome requests to provide training.

This is Sunshine Week 2019, and we’re hosting a series of webinars. I hope you can join us for some or all of them!

Pennsylvania’s Sunshine Act – Presentation

This morning, the Office of Open Records hosted a webinar all about Pennsylvania’s Sunshine Act, also known as the open meetings law.

Topics covered include providing public notice of meetings, the rules about allowing public comment, executive sessions, and more.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation that our Chief of Training & Outreach, George Spiess, used for this session:

Sunshine Act Webinar – March 13, 2019 – PDF
Sunshine Act Webinar – March 13, 2019 – PPTX

The OOR regularly provides training on Pennsylvania’s Right-to-Know Law and Sunshine Act. Our training calendar is available here, and we always welcome requests to provide training.

This is Sunshine Week 2019, and we’re hosting a series of webinars. I hope you can join us for some or all of them!

9 OOR Webinars Next Week

As part of Sunshine Week 2019, the Office of Open Records is hosting a series of nine webinars addressing various topics related to Pennsylvania’s Right-to-Know Law and Sunshine Act. Some will be of more interest to agencies, some of more interest to requesters, and some will be of interest to both groups.

Here’s the complete schedule, along with links to sign up:

Right-to-Know Law Training for Requesters
Monday, March 11, 2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Basics for New Agency Open Records Officers
Tuesday, March 12, 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.

2019 Agency Open Records Officer Survey Results
Tuesday, March 12, 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Sunshine Act Training
Wednesday, March 13, 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.

About Office of Open Records Mediation
Wednesday, March 13, 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Recent Court and Office of Open Records Decisions of Note
Thursday, March 14, 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.

Preparing Affidavits for Appeals
Thursday, March 14, 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Releasing the 2018 Office of Open Records Annual Report
Friday, March 15, 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.

Office of Open Records Website Resources
Friday, March 15, 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

After you sign up for a webinar, you’ll receive a confirmation email. About 30 minutes prior to the start of each session you sign up for, you’ll receive another email which includes a link to join the webinar. The OOR’s webinars run via Skype, so you may need to download a small app to participate, but in our testing the process has been pretty seamless.

We hope you can join us for one or more of the sessions!

Sunshine Week 2019 – OOR Webinars

As part of Sunshine Week 2019, the Office of Open Records is hosting a series of webinars. Some will be of more interest to agencies, some of more interest to requesters, and some will be of interest to both groups.

(The OOR’s webinars run via Skype, so you may need to download a small app to participate, but in our testing the process has been pretty seamless. Everyone who signs up will receive directions on how to access the webinar a couple days in advance.)

Here’s the schedule of webinars:

Right-to-Know Law Training for Requesters
Monday, March 11, 2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Basics for New Agency Open Records Officers
Tuesday, March 12, 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.

2019 Agency Open Records Officer Survey Results
Tuesday, March 12, 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Sunshine Act Training
Wednesday, March 13, 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.

About Office of Open Records Mediation
Wednesday, March 13, 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Recent Court and Office of Open Records Decisions of Note
Thursday, March 14, 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.

Preparing Affidavits for Appeals
Thursday, March 14, 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Releasing the 2018 Office of Open Records Annual Report
Friday, March 15, 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.

Office of Open Records Website Resources
Friday, March 15, 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

In addition to the webinars, we’re also hosting one in-person training session for requesters at our office in Harrisburg:

In-Person RTKL Training for Requesters
Monday, March 11, 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

We hope you can join us for one or more of the sessions!