ACLU-PA Position: Opposes
HB 2471 would create a carve-out to require an expedited process for open records requests and appeals made by elected officials. HB 2471 would require public agencies to respond to a Right-to-Know Law request by a public official within five days of the request. If the agency denies the records request, the public official could appeal to the state Office of Open Records, which must rule on the appeal within five days. In effect, this bill would shorten the timeline for records requests and appeals—only by/for elected officials—from 65 days to as little as 10 days.
There is no justifiable public interest reason to give elected officials any special preference in receiving expedited right-to-know (RTK) responses for a request and/or appeal. Legislators have better tools to access public information and as such, are already working at an advantage compared to other Pennsylvanians. Furthermore, HB 2471 proposes an unworkable and reckless time frame for responding to requests by elected officials, a timeline that would all but guarantee sloppy, incomplete, and ill-considered decisions by the Office of Open Records.
Check the bill's status here.