Legal Hotline

LEGAL HOTLINE: (717) 703-3080

One of the PNA’s most popular services to our members is the free Legal PNA Legal HotlineHotline. PNA members may call the hotline with any legal questions.

PNA attorneys routinely provide members with advice on HIPAA, open records, the state Sunshine Act, use of independent contractors, libel, telemarketing, copyrights, the Pennsylvania Shield Law and legal advertising. Many reporters from PNA member newspapers rely on PNA’s attorneys for quotes on stories involving legal issues.

Members may also contact PNA’s Media Law Counsel directly via email.

Legal Hotline: Settlements and Confidentiality Clause

Q:  Are settlement agreements involving public agencies considered public records?  Can an agency rely upon a confidentiality clause in a settlement agreement to deny access? A:  Settlement agreements between public agencies and…

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Legal Hotline: Sunshine Recording Limit

Q: A local agency is considering a policy that would prohibit recording public meetings where no vote is scheduled to take place and would require registration at least 48 hours in advance…

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Legal Hotline: Redaction Fees

Q:  I filed a Right-to-Know request seeking to inspect records.  I want to inspect the records before requesting copies to help me decide which records are most relevant and to reduce copy…

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Legal Hotline: Organizational Meetings

Q:  A local borough council member told me they won’t be holding an organizational meeting in January, and they are the only borough in my area not holding one.  Aren’t boroughs required…

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Legal Hotline: Arrest and Search Warrant Records – Updated

Q: Which rules govern public access to arrest and search warrants and their supporting documentation, like affidavits of probable cause? A: Public access to arrest warrants and search warrants is governing by…

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Legal Hotline: Complex Data Fees Media Exemption

Q: My reporting focuses on data, and I routinely request complex data sets like GIS records from public agencies. Some agencies have given me fee estimates based on market rates, sometimes in…

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Legal Hotline: Law Enforcement Records

Q: My local police department just implemented a policy that requires officers to use body cameras during all interactions with the public. Is the audio and video gathered by law enforcement officers…

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Legal Hotline: Access to Election Returns

Q: What are the rules regarding public access to election returns? A: The Pennsylvania Elections Code makes election returns public records In counties that use electronic voting systems, public access to returns…

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Legal Hotline: Pennsylvania Shield Law 2019

Q: What is the law that protects confidential sources, and what does it mean for journalists in our newsroom? A: Pennsylvania’s Shield Law offers robust protection against compelled disclosure of confidential source…

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Legal Hotline: Last Minute Political Ads

Q: Isn’t there a rule in Pennsylvania or federal law that restricts last-minute political ads? A: There is no federal law or regulation that prohibits last minute political ads in newspapers, and…

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