HARRISBURG, Sept. 24, 2014 – Sen. John Blake today applauded the passage of legislation that would make significant reforms to Pennsylvania’s open records law.
Sen. Blake stewarded the discussions with the four state-related universities – Penn State, Pitt, Temple and Lincoln – and crafted the amendment to Senate Bill 444 to bring the schools under enhanced Right to Know disclosure requirements.
If approved by the House and governor, SB 444 would require the state-related universities to publicly disclose and display their top 250 salaries, revenue and expenditure reports, academic and administrative support information, audited financial statements, minutes of any public meeting, information on the expenditure of their non-preferred General Fund appropriations, and detailed information on the goods and services contracts they procure and award. All of this information is required to be posted on-line and must be retained for 20 years.
“This has been many months of work and it has involved six years of learning as the Office of Open Records implemented Pennsylvania’s 2008 Right to Know statute,” Blake said. “The change affecting the state-related universities is an enormous enhancement in disclosures. It assures the public can learn more about how these institutions utilize their significant, annual state appropriations with ease and predictability.”
Blake thanked and commended Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi, State Government Committee chairmen Sens. Lloyd Smucker and Matt Smith and their staffs for their work in ensuring Pennsylvania’s Open Records law be strengthened and enhanced to better serve the public interest.
Additionally, Blake urged Gov. Tom Corbett to reappoint Terry Mutchler as the executive director of the Office of Open Records. Mutchler’s term expired this past April.
“Mutchler shepherded the implementation and management of the Office of Open Records in an exemplary way,” Blake said. “She is recognized nationally as a subject-matter expert in the area of public transparency and accountability. There is no individual who is as qualified and deserving for re-appointment to her current post.”
Sen. Blake also urged his colleagues in the House to adopt Senate Bill 444 as swiftly as possible.