Rep. Bryan Cutler (R-Peach Bottom) lauded the signing of open records legislation by Gov. Ed Rendell."This legislation is a great start to improving accountability in government," said Cutler. "It will open up many areas of the Legislature that were previously not open to public inspection. However, we must not be content with this victory, as there is still much work to be done. As with any new law, there will be areas for improvement that must be addressed in the future."
The new act updates Pennsylvania's Right to Know Law so that all state and local government and court records are presumed to be public, with a few exceptions. It also creates the Office of Open Records to respond to record requests.
Before final passage, House Republicans worked to clean up flaws in the legislation that would have left the public open to identity theft. The names, dates of birth and addresses of minors will be protected, as will the personal information of senior citizens and people with disabilities who use social services. Additionally, the identity of those reporting domestic violence and other crimes to 911 will be protected.
"I was pleased that we were able to amend the bill to protect the privacy of private individuals, such as the identities for victims of domestic violence, 911 security, and identity theft," said Cutler. "Previously, Republicans were accused of blocking open records legislation only to be vindicated when most of our issues were addressed in an amendment that was unanimously supported. Accusations of obstructing the process were strictly partisan, and I was glad to see that the security of the people was placed above politics."