PNA opposes SB444, Right to Know Law amendment

  • Sep 25, 2014

The PNA opposes SB444 in its current form and believes that it represents a significant step backward in terms of public access to government records. Most significantly, the bill eliminates access to records held by government contractors that directly relate to the governmental function performed by those contractors. With the ‘outsourcing of government’ increasing, it is critical that these records are not forever shielded from public view. The bill also eliminates access to records of volunteer fire companies and other service organizations, regardless of the amount of public funding they receive, restricts access to delinquent public utility account information, requires 14-days notice to a public employee any time a request is made for home addresses, expands the deliberative process exemption, and limits requests to “legal residents” of Pennsylvania.

As some media outlets have covered, the bill does expand access in some areas - most notably, it makes public a number of financial records of state-related institutions. PNA members can find the PNA’s description of the bill’s proposed changes behind the ‘members-only’ portion of the PNA website. SB444 can be found here.

The PNA hopes to work with legislators in the coming weeks on possible amendments to protect some of the significant advances made when Pennsylvania’s Right to Know Law was overhauled in 2008.

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