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House Co-Sponsorship Memoranda

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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: January 25, 2019 11:58 AM
From: Representative Kerry A. Benninghoff
To: All House members
Subject: Strengthening the Right to Know Law for State-related Institutions
In the near future I will be introducing legislation to bring greater transparency to the records of our state-related universities (Penn State, Pittsburgh, Temple, and Lincoln).

Specifically, my legislation will significantly increase the amount of university personnel salary information that must be disclosed. The bill will also provide access to budgetary and contract information in user-friendly, searchable online databases. The legislation will not affect existing, statutory exclusions related to privacy or similar legal protections required under the state’s Right to Know Law.

It is important to note that Pennsylvania is one of only three states in the nation that explicitly exempts such universities from open records provisions. For most of the nation, state-funded universities’ records are presumed open or have been judicially confirmed as open.

Our institutions of higher learning are powerful engines for the state’s economy. They are world class institutions and we need to ensure they remain so. My measure to expand the extent to which the state-related institutions are subject to the Right-to-Know Law will not undermine key and important elements of their operations or mission and they are not intended to undermine their competitive position or economic impact. There is, however, plenty of room for improvement in the level of transparency and accountability we can expect from these institutions.

Introduced as HB431