Tuesday, November 11, 2014

open records - right to know law - request must be addressed to agency open-records officer

Gaming Control Board v. Office of Open Records – Pa. Supreme Court – November 10, 2014

In this open-records matter, we are called upon to construe Section 703 of the Right-to-Know Law (RTKL), 65 P.S. § 67.703 (“Section 703”), setting forth the  requirements for written RTKL requests for access to public records, to determine proper application of the provision which directs that all such requests “must be addressed to the open-records officer.”
For reasons stated below, we hold that in order to establish a valid RTKL request sufficient to trigger appellate rights from a nonresponse under the RTKL, the requestor must address his request to the respective open-records officer as mandated in Section 703.  In the case at bar, the requester addressed his request to a press aide, not the open records officer.
Commonwealth Court 4-3 decision reversed.