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House of Representatives
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session


Posted: March 3, 2016 09:59 AM
From: Representative Kerry A. Benninghoff
To: All House members
Subject: RTK - Judicial Agencies
Under the Right to Know Law, judicial agencies of the Commonwealth must provide access to financial records, upon request. Judicial agencies do not have an obligation to provide access to any other type of record, under current law.

There are occasions in which judicial agencies perform functions that directly affect other government agencies. For example, vacancies in certain local government elected offices are filled by appointment of the court of common pleas of the county in which the vacancy occurred. Court records relating to such an appointment are not accessible to the public under the Right to Know Law because they are not financial records. This is the case despite the fact that the information in those records directly related to the business and function of a municipality or county.

Given the fact that elected officers are chosen by the voters of Pennsylvania, I believe that vacancies in such offices should be filled in a manner that is both transparent and accountable. That is why I believe that the public should be able to access any records submitted to a judicial agency, such as a court, in the course of filling a vacancy in elected office. My legislation would require a judicial agency to release any such records, upon request, subject to other requirements of and procedures in the Right to Know Law.

I encourage you to consider cosponsoring this important proposal that will ensure that judicial appointments to fill vacancies in elected office are subject to public scrutiny.

Introduced as HB2264