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.
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Radio Smart Talk for Wednesday, April 3:
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.
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