Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Rendell Thinks We Should Have a Right to Know.

From the AP via the Carlisle Sentinel.

HARRISBURG, Pa. - Gov. Ed Rendell will propose legislation designed to significantly widen public access to government records and information, a top policy aide to the governor said Tuesday.

Donna Cooper, Rendell's secretary for policy, said that toward the end of March the governor will produce a draft revision to the Right-to-Know Law that would make all government records _ beyond a list of exceptions _ available to the public.

The current law's 50-year-old language defines public records as accounts, vouchers or contracts; or minutes, orders or decisions. Decades of case law has further restricted the categories, and when an agency refuses to produce a requested record, the law requires the person asking for it to prove that it must be made public.

Cooper said the Democratic governor also wants to expand the scope of the law to encompass the Legislature and other elements of state and local government that are currently not covered, and to establish an ombudsman's office to improve access.

It is not clear from this whether state-aided universities and colleges will be covered by his proposed legislation. We will have to wait and see.

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