2020 was a busy year for records requests in Pa. | The Numbers Racket

By: - April 26, 2021 6:30 am

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2020 was a busy year for the Pennsylvania Office of Open Records, which logged its second busiest year ever during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a report the agency released in April. 

The 10-page report highlights the changes in right-to-know requests and appeals year-over-year. 

Let’s take a look:

Fast Facts

Last year, the Office of Open Records received 2,764 appeals. This is the second highest number of appeals, following 2,926 appeals in 2015. 

OOR received 1,195 citizen appeals. 

547 appeals involved state agencies. 

2,160 appeals involved local agencies. 

Appeal Requesters: 

43.3 … the percentage of requests by citizens. 

37.1 … the percentage of requests by companies. 

11.4 … the percentage of requests by Inmates. 

5.1 … the percentage of requests by members of the press. 

2.1 … the percentage of requests by government officials. 

1.0 the percentage of requests by lawmakers. 

Local Agencies

Of the 2,160 appeals involving local agencies, 1,016 were filed against boroughs, townships and cities. 

Townships … 19.7 percent

Boroughs … 17.2 percent

Counties … 17.1 percent 

Police Departments … 16.9 percent

School Districts … 11 percent

Cities … 10.1 percent

State Agencies

While the Department of Corrections saw a slight decrease in the number of appeals filed from 2019 to 2020, it still accounted for 21 percent of state agency appeals last year. 

Agencies with Increased Appeals

The state agencies that saw an increase in appeals filed from 2019 to 2020 are: 

  • Pennsylvania State Police, increased by 38 appeals in 2020. 
  • Department of Health, increased by 56 appeals in 2020. 
  • Department of Human Services, increased by 32 appeals in 2020. 
  • Department of Community and Economic Development, increased by 16 appeals in 2020. 
  • Office of the Governor, increased by five appeals in 2020. 

Department of Environmental Protection, increased by five appeals in 2020.

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Cassie Miller
Cassie Miller

A native Pennsylvanian, Cassie Miller worked for various publications across the Midstate before joining the team at the Pennsylvania Capital-Star. In her previous roles, she has covered everything from local sports to the financial services industry. Miller has an extensive background in magazine writing, editing and design. She is a graduate of Penn State University where she served as the campus newspaper’s photo editor. She is currently pursuing her master’s degree in professional journalism at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. In addition to her role at the Capital-Star, Miller enjoys working on her independent zines, Dead Air and Infrared. Follow her on Twitter: @Wordsby_CassieM.

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