LBFC Report: Highlights

Open records_logo stackedHere are highlights from the report released today by the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee entitled “Costs to Implement the Right-to-Know Law.”

The report found that “most of Pennsylvania’s state and local government agencies receive few RTKL requests, most of the requests are easily fulfilled at a relatively low cost, and only a small percentage of the requests are appealed.”

Annual Costs to Agencies

  • Almost 54 percent of agencies reported an annual cost of $500 or less to comply with the Right-to-Know Law (RTKL).
  • About 92 percent of agencies reported an annual cost of $10,000 or less.
  • The total cost of responding to RTKL requests by all agencies in 2016 is estimated at $5.7 million to $9.7 million. With more than 6,000 agencies across the state, that’s an average cost of just $950 to $1,617 per agency.

Number of RTKL Requests

  • An estimated 109,000 RTKL requests were received by all state and local agencies, combined, in 2016.
  • The median number of RTKL requests received per individual agency in 2016 was 10.

Number of RTKL Appeals

  • Fewer than 3 percent of RTKL requests are appealed.
  • A relatively small number of agencies make up a significant portion of the appeals.

Commercial Requests

  • Almost 35 percent of RTKL requests received in 2016 were identified as being for a commercial purpose.
  • 69 percent of agencies received at least one commercial request.

Inmate Requests

  • 7 percent of RTKL requests received in 2016 were identified as being from inmates.
  • The Department of Corrections received more than half of all inmate requests.

Burdensome Requests

  • There is little consensus among agencies on what makes a RTKL request “burdensome.”
  • The issue of burdensome requests appears to be highly dependent on what the agency perceives to be burdensome.

The full report includes a great deal of information for anyone interested in Pennsylvania’s Right-to-Know Law and issues of government transparency in general. The staff of LBFC did an excellent job of compiling and analyzing a tremendous amount of data.

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One thought on “LBFC Report: Highlights

  1. Pingback: Presentation to CCAP Solicitors’ Conference | Open Records in Pennsylvania

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