In July of this year, Walter Brasch, award-winning journalist and longtime contributor to the old Shared Sacrifice page and politicalcontext.org currently, filed four Right to Know requests with the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors, for documents pertaining to state government issues. The Association fought the requests, and the issue is now in court. Dan Miller of The Patriot-News has the skinny:
The decision by the state’s Open Records office that the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors is a “local agency” and subject to complying with requests for records that are filed by residents, the media and others spurred an appeal in Cumberland County Court by the East Pennsboro Twp.-based association.
Should the Open Records office’s opinion be upheld, it could lead to a host of similar associations that represent the interests of political bodies before state legislators having to open up their records and documents to Right to Know requests, to the extent these documents pertain to communications between these associations and state government, said John L. Gedid, a professor at Widener Law School.
In an email, Brasch told his supporters:
Hopefully . . . it’s a law suit that pushes the envelope to get access to what should be public records that everyone should be able to get access to if they wish . . . In Pennsylvania, the rulings of the state’s Office of Open Records have no teeth, and this huge gap allows public agencies to outlast almost any complaint.
Politicalcontext.org supports both open records and Walter Brasch, and we’ll keep you posted on this case, and hopefully we’ll get to podcast an interview with Walter on this issue soon!