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.

OOR Website Resources – Presentation

This afternoon, the Office of Open Records is hosting a webinar about resources available on our website.

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

OOR Website Resources – March 15, 2019 – PDF
OOR Website Resources – March 15, 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 our final webinar for Sunshine Week 2019. Thank you to everyone who joined us! The best way to be notified of upcoming webinars is to sign up for our email newsletter.

29,746 Pageviews per Month

We’re putting the final touches on the Office of Open Records’ 2017 Annual Report (the full report should be out this week). In the meantime, here’s one statistic that didn’t make the final cut but which may be of some interest.

In 2017, the OOR’s website generated 356,947 pageviews — an average of 29,746 per month.

March was the month with the most pageviews, 33,706.

The five most visited pages were:

New Searchable AORO Database

Last week, the Office of Open Records (“OOR”) launched a searchable online database of Agency Open Records Officer (“AORO”) contact information for every registered agency in the Commonwealth.

The AORO database allows the public to contact the correct AORO to request agency records and ensures that the OOR can contact AOROs in the event an appeal is filed with the OOR.

You can find the database here: http://www.openrecords.pa.gov/RTKL/AOROSearch.cfm

New Website, New Features

Open records_logo stackedToday, the Office of Open Records website was completely revamped.

This post highlights five new features on the website, but first a note: You can continue to find all of the same information that’s always been available on the OOR website. The site has been reorganized, but nothing has been removed.

ONLINE APPEALS FORM

There’s a new online form to fill out when you file an appeal with the OOR.

The goal of this new form is to save everyone time and to help ensure that you submit all of the required information. When you click “submit,” your appeal is instantly transmitted to the Office of Open Records. If you enter a valid email address, you’ll also receive a copy by email for your own records.

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New Office of Open Records Website

I’m pleased to report that the Office of Open Records has a brand new website: http://www.openrecords.pa.gov/

It’s designed to make it easier for everyone — requesters, agencies, media, etc. — to access the information they need as quickly as possible.

The website will always be a work in progress, so if you have an idea for improvement, let us know! Leave a comment here, tweet @ErikOpenRecords or @OpenRecordsPA, or send an email to openrecords@pa.gov.