Monday, December 21, 2009

Pennsylvania Revised open records law gets tested statewide

HARRISBURG-- A wealth of information about the actions and decisions of Pennsylvania public officials has been pried loose in the year since a broad expansion of the state's Right-to-Know Law took effect.
There are signs, including a recent spot check of government agencies, that the state is shedding its long-standing reputation as a public-access backwater.

Whole categories of records that previously were difficult and sometimes impossible to obtain are being exposed to public scrutiny -- from internal e-mails and once-secret details in personnel files to 911 call logs and records in the hands of government contractors.

"It is night and day from the old law," said Mary Catherine Roper, an American Civil Liberties Union lawyer in Philadelphia who has been involved in cases this year seeking access to police and prison records. "This is a huge step forward for openness and accountability in government."

Read more from Associated Press, Public Opinion Online

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