Pennsylvania Public Record Laws

Citations

Act 3 of 2008 (65 P.S.§67.101 et seq.)
(https://www.dced.state.pa.us/public/oor/pa_righttoknowlaw.pdf)

Exemptions to Disclosure

The following records are exempt from disclosure:

  • Draft of a bill, resolution, regulation, statement of policy, management directive, ordinance or amendment thereto prepared by or for an agency;
  • Inter-agency or intra-agency pre-decisional deliberations relating to a budget recommendation, legislative proposal, legislative amendment, contemplated or proposed policy or course of action or any research, memos or other documents used in the pre-decisional deliberations;
  • Strategy to be used to develop or achieve the successful adoption of a budget, legislative proposal or regulation;
  • Records that constitute or reveal a trade secret;
  • Notes and working papers prepared by or for a public official or agency employee used solely for that official’s or employee’s own personal use, including telephone message slips, routing slips and other materials that do not have an official purpose;
  • Unpublished lecture notes, unpublished manuscripts, unpublished articles, creative works in progress, research-related material and scholarly correspondence of a community college or an institution of the State System of Higher Education or a faculty member, staff employee, guest speaker or student thereof.

Access Rights

Section 506(a): Disruptive requests. — (1) An agency may deny a requester access to a record if the requester has made repeated requests for that same record and the repeated requests have placed an unreasonable burden on the agency.

Destruction of Public Records

  • Laws regarding destruction of Pennsylvania records are complicated. The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, in conjunction with the Secretary of Administration, is responsible for administering all aspects of the Commonwealth’s records management program.Currently, the law is the Administrative Code of 1929, but the state has been criticized for its outmoded practices. State servers only retain deleted emails for five days, and employees are encouraged to clean out their emails every day.
  • Subject to retention schedule
  • Subject to specific agency retention schedule