Experts to Evaluate PA’s Right-to-Know Law which marks its 10th Anniversary this Year

June 12th, 2018

For Immediate Release                                                                         Contact:               Pete Peterson, 215-990-8928

June 12, 2018                                                                                             ppeterson@bellevuepr.com       

Neumann University Center for Leadership to Host Panel Discussion on Pennsylvania’s Open Record / Right-to-Know Law

Event will feature panel discussions featuring former Governor Ed Rendell, former Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi, Harrisburg and Philadelphia news reporters 

ASTON, PA – Neumann University’s Center for Leadership will host a program tomorrowWednesday June 13 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. exploring the impact of Pennsylvania’s groundbreaking Right to Know Law, which is marking its 10th Anniversary this year.  The program will feature panel discussions by former Governor Ed Rendell and former Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi, Harrisburg and Philadelphia news reporters, and representatives of local government associations, as well as presentations Erik Arneson, Executive Director of the Office of Open Records, and staff from the Pennsylvania Legislative Budget and Finance Committee.  CLE and CPE credits are available.

The event, which is free and open to the public, will take place in the Meagher Theatre located in the Thomas A. Bruder, Jr. Life Center on the Neumann University campus.  The address for the campus is 1 Neumann Drive, Aston, PA, 19014.

Rendell and Pileggi, now a judge on the Delaware County Court of Common Pleas, will discuss the history of the law, which flipped the presumption that government documents were not public information on its head. Prior to the adoption of the law, the burden was on the requester to establish why a government record should be public. Under the Open Records law, the burden is now on state and local agencies to establish why a record should not be released.

A media panel will provide views from the fourth estate on the positive impacts of the right to know law. This panel will be moderated by John Baer, political columnist for the Philadelphia Daily News. Panelists will include Philip Heron, editor of the Delaware County Daily Times; Kristen Johanson, reporter for KYW Newsradio; Joe Conti, President of the Pennsylvania Association of Broadcasters; and Melissa Melewsky, legal counsel for the Pennsylvania News Media Association.

Staff members for the Pennsylvania Legislative Budget and Finance Committee, Executive Director Patricia Berger and Analyst Louis Day, will provide an overview of a recent state report examining the financial impact of the law.

An additional panel of representatives of local governmental entities will share information on their experience with the law, including possible misuse of the law. Panelists will include Doug Hill, Executive Director of the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania; Elam Herr, Assistant Executive Director of the PA State Association of Township Supervisors, and Frank Catania, Esq., who has served as a solicitor for local governments and school districts. The panel will be moderated by Danielle McNichol, General Counsel for Neumann University and director of the Center for Community Leadership Development & Entrepreneurship.

Finally, Erik Arneson, Executive Director of the Office of Open Records, will provide information on some of the key rulings from the Pennsylvania Open Records Office, as well as an update on foreseen improvements to the state’s open records law.

CLE and CPE credits will be available for this free program.  Individuals are asked to kindly RSVP at http://neumannpublicsafety.com/.

WHO:                   Former Governor Ed Rendell & Judge Dominic Pileggi, journalists, the Executive Director of Pennsylvania’s Office of Open Records and other experts

WHAT:                 A program looking at the Commonwealth’s right-to-know law, which is marking its 10 year anniversary this year.

WHERE:               Neumann University, Thomas A. Bruder Life Center (Building #3 on Campus Map: https://www.neumann.edu/about/directions.asp

                                1 Neumann Drive, Aston, PA 19014

WHEN:                                 Wednesday, June 13th from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

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