HARRISBURG – Rep. Frank Ryan (R-Lebanon) expressed relief that the Wolf administration will no longer be able to keep Pennsylvania citizens in the dark during the COVID-19 pandemic – a time when information and answers are sorely needed. Last evening, Gov. Tom Wolf permitted a key government transparency bill to become law without his signature.
In mid-March, Wolf ordered the closing of state offices and told employees to work from home. This effectively suspended Right-to-Know (RTK) requests until further notice, action Ryan called a dereliction of duty.
Both the House and Senate, Republicans and Democrats, who represent all citizens of this Commonwealth, responded by voting unanimously to pass House Bill 2463, which Ryan co-sponsored. Now Act 77 of 2020
, the new law prevents the governor from ordering state agencies to ignore requests for public records and information during an emergency declaration or suspending responses unless additional time is necessary. Under the new law, if a Commonwealth agency fails to respond to a request for records, the requestor can petition Commonwealth Court to compel the agency to respond to the request.
“Lawmakers, Pennsylvania residents and the news media on which many of our citizens rely for information, were being denied answers onthe methods and data the Wolf administration is using in its decision-making during this pandemic,” said Ryan. “Many of these decisions have come with direconsequences for residents and the many businesses operating in the Commonwealth. To deny access to this information is a disgrace. The public has a right to know and now the administration must answer these requests and be held accountable for its actions.”
Representative Frank Ryan
101st Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Donna Pinkham