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: Act 77 of 2020 (HB 2463)

Q: What does HB 2463 (Grove), Act 77 of 2020, mean for journalists seeking access to records from Commonwealth agencies during the COVID-19 disaster declaration? A:  The law means that commonwealth agencies…

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Legal Hotline: Right To Know Law Inspection Fees

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

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Legal Hotline: Remote Public Meeting Records

Q:  A local agency has been holding remote public meetings and discussing records and power point presentations during those meeting. Our reporter asked the board secretary for copies of the records and…

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Legal Hotline: RTKL and Law Enforcement Records

Q: What kind of records can we access from law enforcement agencies under the Right to Know Law (RTKL)? A: The RTKL contains an exemption related to criminal investigative records, but the…

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Legal Hotline: Press Access to Polling Places

Q:  What are the rules on access to polling places? A:   The Pennsylvania Elections Code, 25 P.S. 3060, provides, among other things, as follows: (a) Until the polls are closed, no person…

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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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