Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Spanier Can't be Happy

Today the Pennsylvania Senate is poised to pass a new open records law, Senate Bill 1. Here is the press release from the PNA, via PASSOPENRECORDS.ORG
HARRISBURG, Pa., Jan. 30, 2008 — The Pennsylvania Newspaper Association urges the Legislature to pass Senate Bill 1 today saying the legislation will give state citizens far greater access to government documents.

The Senate and then the House are poised to vote on the open records bill today and Tim Williams, president of PNA, said passage of the measure will be historic and finally mean Pennsylvania does not hold the distinction of being one of the worst states when comparing access to government records.

“We thank legislators, especially Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi, for their hard work and dedication on moving this important piece of legislation,” said Williams, “and now that it goes to the full Senate today and hopefully the House we ask members to continue the reform movement sweeping through the General Assembly and pass the bill.”

Among its provisions, the measure will provide greater access to legislative records; defines “public record” broadly; creates the presumption of access; puts the burden on denying access to records on the government agency; and creates the Office of Public Records.

Nearly two years ago, with its Brighter Pennsylvania Campaign, PNA set out to advocate for reforms related to public information. The passage of an open records bill would mean many of its goals have been met.

Just last year PNA launched a blog,, to call attention to the need to change the state’s open records law to provide greater access. The blog has provided a statewide forum for journalists and others to discuss the aspects surrounding the open records issue.

PNA will continue to be involved in the debate surrounding open records to provide citizens, government entities and journalists a better understanding of the issues.
This is not a perfect bill, but it flips the presumption and it covers Penn State. That is good news.

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