Wednesday, February 13, 2008

PA Legislature subject to New Open Records Law

Major new Open Records Bill passed in PA. This is huge, the PA legislature even made themselves subject to the law. One can only hope that Tennessee Legislators will someday be as open to Tennessee Citizens.

Link HT: FOIA Blog

The open-records bill approved yesterday would declare that all state and local government records will be public unless specifically exempted.

It would also shift the burden onto a government agency to prove why a record should be shielded from public view.

Previously, the state's right-to-know law effectively made all records closed unless specified otherwise. It has long been considered one of the most restrictive laws in the nation.

The new legislation would also create an Office of Open Records with its own independent director and staff, to be housed in the Department of Community and Economic Development.

And for the first time, the legislature would be subject to the open-records law. The House and Senate have historically been excluded from open-records laws, making it difficult to access even basic information.