Smart Talk

Smart Talk is a daily, live, interactive program featuring conversations with newsmakers and experts in a variety of fields and exploring a wide range of issues and ideas, including the economy, politics, health care, education, culture, and the environment.  Smart Talk airs live every week day at 9 a.m. on WITF’s 89.5 and 93.3.

Listen to Smart Talk live online from 9-10 a.m. weekdays and at 7 p.m. (Repeat of 9 a.m. program)

Host: Scott LaMar

Radio Smart Talk: Open records in PA

Written by Scott LaMar, Smart Talk Host/Executive Producer | Apr 3, 2013 8:45 AM

Radio Smart Talk for Wednesday, April 3:

PA capitol from angle w fountain 300 x 170.jpg

The Office of Open Records opened its doors in 2009 as a self-described quasi-judicial, independent agency.  Its responsibility was to decide whether a local or state government record was a public record.  

The office was created during a wave of government reform efforts -- some were successful and others that weren't.

One of the most significant changes in Pennsylvania law was records were considered to be open to the public unless the government agency could prove they weren't.  That was completely opposite from before when the onus was on the person requesting the records to prove they should be made available to the public.

If one goes by the numbers, the Office of Open Records has been very successful.  In 2012, 2,188 appeals of denied records were filed with the Office compared to 1,159 in 2009.  That's an 89% increase.

However, there is concern that 31% of the appeals came from prison inmates. Only 4% were from the media.

Nathan Byerly, the Deputy Director of the Office of Open Records will appear on Wednesday's Radio Smart Talk. Pennsylvanians can contact the office by calling 717-346-9903.

Do you have a question about open records in Pennsylvania? 


Tagged under ,

back to top
  • Radio Smart Talk img 2013-04-03 08:34

    E-mail from Bob:

    "A few minutes ago, you stated 34% of requests were from inmates, but 'let us remember that 56% come from average PA citizens'. My comment is 34% represents a very small percentage of PA citizens. It is also true that most local request also come from a VERY Small percentage of the remaining 56%."