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House of Representatives
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: December 2, 2021 01:36 PM
From: Representative Frank Burns
To: All House members
Subject: Expediting public records requests for elected officials
As elected officials, we are faced with hundreds of policy decisions each year, often with little time to delve into those topics.  Access to data and information in a timely manner is essential to helping us make the best possible policy decisions for those we represent.
That’s why I will soon introduce legislation to provide an expedited open records process for elected officials who need public information in the course of their daily duties.  My bill would require public agencies to respond to a Right-to-Know Law request by a public official within five days of the request.  If the agency denies the records request, the public official could appeal to the state Office of Open Records, which must rule on the appeal within five days.  In effect, my bill shortens the timeline for records requests and appeals by elected officials from 65 days to as little as 10 days.
This legislation is critical to avoiding experiences like I had with the state Liquor Control Board. The agency drug out a simple records request – prompted by a bill before the House – for nearly two years.  By the time the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled in my favor, the legislation had long since become law.
Please join me in sponsoring this legislation to assure elected officials have the facts they need in a timely manner to make sound public policy decisions for all Pennsylvanians.

Introduced as HB2471