Form of the request
The RTKL requires a written request to be submitted to the AORO. See 65 P.S. § 67.703. Please use the Department's Right-To-Know Law Request Form.
To allow the Department to locate requested records and determine whether those records are public, requests should be specific and concise and clearly identify as precisely as possible the records sought. See 65 P.S. § 67.703. Requesters should retain a copy of the request for their file, as a copy of the request is necessary, should a requester appeal the Department's response.
Receipt of the request
The Department is deemed to have received the request on the next business day that the AORO receives the request. See 65 P.S. § 67.901. The Department defines its business day to exclude Saturdays and Sundays and any weekday on which the Department is closed for business, with its regular business hours being from 8:30 a.m. through 5:00 p.m. Any request that the Department receives after the close of regular business hours shall be deemed to have been received on the next business day.
Time for response
The Department has 5 business days to respond to a request for records under the RTKL. If the Department does not respond within that time, the request is considered "deemed denied," and a requester's appeal rights commence. The Department is permitted to take an additional 30 calendar days to respond to any request for the reasons set forth in the RTKL, if it informs the requester in writing about the extension and the reason for it. See 65 P.S. § 67.902.
The Department shall make a final written response in which it may grant the request, partially deny it, or deny it in its entirety, or state the reason why the request cannot be fulfilled. If the Department fails to issue a response within the applicable response period, the request is deemed denied. See 65 P.S. § 67.901.
- Granting access to records. The Department may grant a request for records by issuing a response: (1) sending copies of the records to the requester; or (2) by notifying the requester that the records are available on the Department's website or other publicly accessible electronic means. See 65 P.S. §§ 67.701(a), 704.
- Denying or partially denying access to records. To the extent the Department denies a request for records, through redaction or otherwise, or cannot fulfill the request, the Department will respond in writing. The response will describe the requested records, inform the requester that the Department does not possess the responsive records or, if the records are exempt from public access, provide a citation to the relevant legal basis for withholding the requested records. The response will set forth the procedure to appeal the denial. See 65 P.S. § 67.903.
The Department will charge fees consistent with the RTKL Fee Structure.
Right-To-Know Law Appeals
To challenge the denial, partial denial, or deemed denial of a request for Department records, an appeal may be filed to the Office of Open Records ("OOR") using the OOR Appeal Form,