Proposed RTKL Amendments

The PA Legislature is considering some amendments to the current Right to Know Law (RTKL).  From my initial review of the proposed changes, I am not sure what to think of them.  They include some clarifying language as well as some more substantive changes, but mostly, they do not include the big items.

An ongoing problem, and one not addressed in the proposed amendments, has to do with charging for a search. A requestor can submit a request requiring enormous man-hours to fulfil, but the law does not provide any explicit means for the agency to charge the requestor for that search.  When this problem was brought up in an appeal, the OOR essentially said 'too bad.'  In that case, a sheriff's office was told that it had to manually search through every file in the office to see which had documents that were responsive. (See,  Carter v. Phila. Sheriff's Office, OOR Dkt. AP 2009-0175).

Do any other situations where this law is not entirely fair to agencies come to mind for you?  If so, email me or leave a comment.

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