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: Copyright 2020

Q:  A locally run website has been taking content from our newspaper and re-printing it online without our permission.  Is there anything we can do about this? A:  Original newspaper content is…

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Legal Hotline: RTKL and Death Information

Q:  The coroner has refused to provide the names of the recently deceased handled by the coroner’s office. Does the Right to Know Law require public access to this information? A:  Yes….

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Legal Hotline: HIPAA Directory Information

Q: I asked a hospital about the status of a man being treated for COVID.  The hospital refused and said HIPAA prevents the release of all patient information.  Does HIPAA prevent hospitals…

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Legal Hotline: Disease Prevention and Control Law

Q:  What is the Disease Prevention and Control Law? Health department officials often rely on it to deny access to various information about community health issues as well as the ongoing COVID-19…

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Legal Hotline: Remote Notarization

Q:  We have a notary on staff to notarize proofs of publication accompanying legal notice ads. Our staff is working remotely, making it difficult for affidavit witnesses and the notary to be…

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Legal Hotline: RTKL During COVID-19 Crisis

Q:  What is the status of the Right to Know Law under the current disaster declaration?  Has the Office of Open Records issued any guidance? A: The Right to Know Law is…

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Legal Hotline: Remote Public Meetings

Q: We’re familiar with the OOR advice on Sunshine Act compliance during the COVID-19 crisis, but has the Sunshine Act or other law been amended to address this issue? A: The Sunshine…

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Legal Hotline: Governor’s Closure Order

Q: What does the governor’s order requiring “non-life sustaining” businesses to close mean for my news organization?  Do we have to close? What if we are located in one of the counties…

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Legal Hotline: Committee Meetings

Q: A borough council facing budget shortfalls created a committee to offer advice and investigate potential funding streams. Our reporter asked when the first committee meeting will take place, but the borough…

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Legal Hotline: Vacancy in Elected Office

Q:  Are local agencies like boroughs and school boards allowed to hold a personnel executive session to discuss candidates for a vacancy in elected office?  Does the RTKL allow agencies to deny…

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