Legal Blog

Pennsylvania Public Records Requesting: The Top Five Weirdly Specific Exemptions to Pennsylvania’s Right to Know Law

Most of the exemptions to public records disclosure in Pennsylvania’s Right to Know Law (RTKL) exist for obvious reasons.  Records that could jeopardize public safety if released are exempt from the RTKL in the name of public safety!  However, there are a few weirdly specific ones:

  1. § 708(b)(25): A record identifying the location of an archaeological site or an endangered or threatened plant or animal species if not already known to the general public.
  2. § 708(b)(21): Library and archive circulation and order records of an identifiable individual or groups of individuals.
  3. § 708(b)(24): Library, archived and museum materials, or valuable or rare book collections or documents contributed by gift, grant, bequest or devise, to the extent of any limitations imposed by the donor as a condition of the contribution.
  4. § 708(b)(15)(i): Academic transcripts.
  5. § 708(b)(15)(ii): Examinations, examination questions, scoring keys or answers to examinations.

You cannot submit a RTKL request to a public university to get a copy of your final exams and the answer key.  But on the bright side – no one else can later request your academic transcript and see how you did!

The library exemptions make me wonder: is there a big library lobbying group in Pennsylvania? If so, bravo to them, because § 708(b)(21) and  § 708(b)(24) are ironclad.

These exemptions are very specific and will not be roadblocks to most RTKL requests, but they’re a reminder to always look at the statute to analyze all possible exemptions!

 

If you have any questions on this topic please contact Megan Shannon at mshannon@offitkurman.com or 267.338.1328.

 

ABOUT MEGAN SHANNON

mshannon@offitkurman.com | 267.338.1328

Megan Shannon is an attorney in the firm’s insurance recovery group.  She represents policyholders in disputes with insurance companies involving a wide range of insurance policies.  She advises clients on the insurance coverage available to them when they suffer a loss or are named as a defendant in litigation.  Ms. Shannon helps clients present claims to their insurance company to efficiently claim all benefits.

 

 

 

 

 

 

ABOUT OFFIT KURMAN

Offit Kurman is one of the fastest-growing, full-service law firms in the mid-Atlantic region. With over 185 attorneys offering a comprehensive range of services in virtually every legal category, the firm is well positioned to meet the needs of dynamic businesses and the people who own and operate them. Our twelve offices serve individual and corporate clients along the I95 corridor in the Virginia, Washington, DC, Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York City regions. At Offit Kurman, we are our clients’ most trusted legal advisors, professionals who help maximize and protect business value and personal wealth. In every interaction, we consistently maintain our clients’ confidence by remaining focused on furthering their objectives and achieving their goals in an efficient manner. Trust, knowledge, confidence—in a partner, that’s perfect.

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