Right to Know Law
Pennsylvania's Right to Know Law took effect on Jan. 1, 2009. The law concerns public access to records at public institutions and government agencies.
What does the Right to Know Law do?
Under the Right to Know Law, agencies are to ensure that citizens are provided access to records to which they are entitled. Equally important, requesters are to use good judgment in seeking records from the public body and not use this law to harass or overburden a public body from performing its other functions. The Pennsylvania Office of Open Records encourages patience and a spirit of cooperation among all parties.
The law dictates that the burden of proof is on the institution or agency to show why a record should not be released.
The law does not overrule existing laws such as the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) or the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) that limits access to certain records.
Are there exemptions?
There are 31 categories of records that are exempt under the law. To find the exemptions, visit PA Right to Know Sheet (pdf) and then go to "Chapter 7, Procedure, Section 708, Exceptions" for public records.
How can I make a request under the Right to Know Law?
Before submitting a request under the Right to Know Law, please note:
- Requests must be in writing via either hard copy or email. Download the request form (pdf).
- Requests for information must be specific as to the record(s) desired. A reason for the request is not required.
- Requests must be submitted to HACC's Open Records Officer:
Linnie S. Carter, Ph.D., APR
Vice President of College Advancement, HACC
Executive Director, HACC Foundation
One HACC Drive
Harrisburg, PA 17110
- A response to the request will be issued within five business days from the time it is received by the Open Records Officer.
- The requester may be charged duplication and postage fees in keeping with standards set by the Office of Open Records. Prepayment may be required if fees are expected to exceed $100.
Does the Right to Know Law cover transcripts?
The Right to Know Law does not cover transcripts.
How can I get more information?