Sunday, February 1, 2009

Pennsylvania “Right to Know” law goes into effect

Those of you involved in Pennsylvania research may find this interesting.

The state of Pennsylvania has a new “Right-to-Know” law, effective January 1, 2009. The main point of this law is its presumption of openness. Citizens no longer have to prove that a record is public and that it should be released. Instead, a government agency must presume that the record is a public record unless there is legal citation why that record should not be available to the public.

In other words, vital statistics records are subject to the Right to Know Law unless there are statutory provisions enacted to the contrary. For instance, there are statutes protecting adoption records and birth records from disclosure and the Right to Know act would not pre-empt those. Also, the Right to Know act has an exception for any record that identifies the name, home address or date of birth of a child 17 years or younger.

Here are a couple of places you can go for detailed information:

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