Right to Know

Matt Rourke / AP

The state House on Tuesday voted for a proposal to let governments charge additional fees when they get Right-to-Know Law requests for records intended to be used for commercial purposes.

State representatives voted 177 to 15 to send the Senate a bill that outlines how the additional search, review and duplication fees would be established.

Nonprofit Funds Lawyers To Defend News Media In Pennsylvania, Other States

Jan 21, 2020
Marc Levy / AP

A nonprofit press freedom group announced on Tuesday that it would provide pro bono legal services in five states to help local news organizations defend their right to gather and report the news.

The Local Legal Initiative of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press will fund attorneys in Colorado, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Tennessee, the group said in a news release.

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

The Pittsburgh Bureau of Police said it is conducting an internal investigation of policies around drinking alcohol while doing undercover police work. According to the city’s open records officer, no formal policy currently exists.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Judge Terrence O’Brien ruled that the City of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County failed to justify the nondisclosure of the region’s bid for Amazon’s second headquarters, or HQ2. City and county officials say they intend to appeal the decision to Commonwealth Court.

Margaret J. Krauss

The city of Pittsburgh continues to resist calls to release its bid for Amazon’s second headquarters, or HQ2. At a protest Thursday skeptics said they worry about Amazon’s potential impact on housing, transit and existing inequities. 

An-Li Herring / 90.5 WESA

Amazon, one of the world’s most successful businesses, started out as an online bookseller. But an effort to lure its second corporate headquarters--and 50,000 jobs--to Pittsburgh has not exactly been an open book.

Ted S. Warren / AP

The City of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County are appealing a decision from Pennsylvania’s Office of Open Records, which on Jan. 24 ordered them to release their proposal to become Amazon’s second headquarters, or HQ2. 

Elaine Thompson / AP

Pennsylvania’s Office of Open Records ordered the City of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County on Wednesday to release the region’s bid for Amazon’s second headquarters, or HQ2, ruling that the document belongs in the public domain.

Keith Srakocic / AP

Details of Pittsburgh’s Amazon headquarters proposal won’t be released to the public because the city signed non-disclosure agreements with private developers.

A spokesman for state Attorney General Kathleen Kane says he doesn’t know when she will follow through on her latest promise to release all uncovered pornographic e-mails exchanged with current and former employees of the Office of Attorney General.

Officials debated in state court Wednesday whether pornographic e-mails exchanged by state employees on state computers should be released to the public.

Lawyers for the state Office of Attorney General told a panel of Commonwealth Court judges that the sought-after smutty exchanges among current and former OAG employees are not public records because they don’t document official agency activity.

“The question is: Was it sent in connection with commonwealth business?” said John Knorr III, Chief Deputy Attorney General, who argued on behalf of the office in court.

The Impact of the Open Records Law, Five Years Later

Mar 14, 2014
Jenni C / Flickr

Five years ago Pennsylvania's Open Records law was changed, with the promise of ensuring more information would be made more easily available to the public. The new law is generally seen as a positive for the Commonwealth, but open records officials and some people who use the law see room for improvement.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reporter, Rich Lord, says, “When the new law took effect in the beginning of 2009, there was an opening up, there was a feeling in agencies that, 'hey now the presumption is that I've got to give it over, so I may as well give it over' that has gradually shifted over the last five years. Agencies have been looking, I think, or at least focusing less on that presumption of openness than on the 30 exemptions in the law. Agencies have appeared to view the law in recent years as a tool for coming up with reasons not to disclose rather than a requirement to disclose or an encouragement to disclose."