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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session

MEMORANDUM

Posted: March 2, 2017 09:20 AM
From: Representative Michael K. Hanna
To: All House members
Subject: Excluding all home addresses from disclosure under the Right-to-Know Law
 
In the near future, I will be reintroducing legislation to exempt all home addresses from disclosure under the Right-to-Know Law (RTKL).

As many of you know, home addresses are not specifically exempt from disclosure under the RTKL except for the home addresses of law enforcement officers, judges and minors. Other personal identifying information is exempt from access by a requester including a person's Social Security number, driver's license number, personal financial information, home, cellular or personal telephone numbers, personal e-mail addresses, employee number or other confidential personal identification number, a spouse’s name, marital status and beneficiary or dependent information. My legislation would simply add home addresses to this list of personal identifying information, ensuring that all or part of a person’s home address is also exempt from access by a requester.

On October 18, 2016, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued an opinion in the case PSEA v. Commonwealth, which dealt with the release of school employees’ home addresses under the RTKL. The Supreme Court held that there is a constitutional right to privacy in one’s home address in connection with RTKL requests. The Court ruled that in order to determine whether or not a home address may be disclosed, the individual’s privacy interest would have to be weighed against the public interest of disclosure of the home address. This means that the agency must make a decision whether to release a home address based on this balancing test.

This case started a statewide conversation about information that should and should not be publicly available under the RTKL. I hold the opinion that home addresses should fall under a person’s constitutional right to privacy. No one in this Commonwealth should fear for their safety or the safety of their loved ones as a result of an unnecessary provision of the RTKL. However, I acknowledge that there may be circumstances where the release of a home address is in the public interest. For example, the public availability of a candidate’s home address to verify residency requirements under the Election Code is in the public interest. My legislation would not alter the public availability of home addresses under any other statute in which the General Assembly has deemed release of such information to be in the public interest.

Please join me in co-sponsoring this important legislation. Thank you in advance for your consideration.

If you have any questions, please contact Lynette Perkins via e-mail at LMPerkins@pahouse.net or via phone at 717-772-2283.



Introduced as HB1229