? Last month, the Pennsylvania Office of Open Records (OOR) ordered the Wolf Administration to comply with a Right-to-Know (RTK) request, filed by Rep. Frank Ryan (R-Lebanon), which seeks justification for the administration’s delay in re-opening Lebanon County businesses, action Ryan said caused unnecessary hardship on the business owners and their employees.
Instead of complying with the order and producing the requested documents, the Pennsylvania Department of Health has appealed its case to Commonwealth Court, further delaying the relief Ryan and his constituents have been seeking since August.
“It makes no sense to me that businesses in densely populated Philadelphia, were permitted to open before businesses in much-smaller Lebanon County under the administration’s three-tier COVID-19 mitigation plan,” said Ryan. “I want to see the public health data and models the administration used to reach its conclusions, but the department has been stonewalling.”
The department claims the Disease Prevention and Control Law of 1955 (DPCL) contains privacy provisions that preclude it from disclosing certain public health information, though it has so far failed to specify which records it deems confidential. For this, the OOR concluded that the department did not meet its burden of proof.
“Act 77 of 2020
, which I co-sponsored, strengthened Pennsylvania’s Right-to-Know Law by clarifying what information shall be considered a public record during a disaster declaration. It further requires disclosure of the process used to collect data and any models produced to establish rules and policies in a disaster declaration,” said Ryan.
“My colleagues and I have been frustrated by the administration’s lack of transparency during this pandemic. The public and our small businesses have been forced to make significant sacrifices, while the administration makes arbitrary decisions and picks winners and losers. Delaying the re-opening of Lebanon County is a prime example. We deserve answers,” he said.
Representative Frank Ryan
101st Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Donna Pinkham