and what constitutes a public record
All of the definitions set forth in the RTKL are
incorporated by reference into this policy. See
65 P.S. § 67.102.
The definition of “public record” excludes
records that are specifically exempt from disclosure under other state laws,
such as section 302.A
of the Department of Banking and Securities Code, 7 P.S. § 733-302.A. This provision
broadly prohibits the Department from disclosing most of the records in its
possession related to depository institutions and non-depository
licensees, including examination reports, licensing and chartering applications,
consumer complaints, investigative materials, and supporting documentation for
the Pennsylvania Securities Act of 1972 requires the Department to treat as
confidential “information which is filed with or obtained by the [D]epartment
and which is not generally available to the public.” 70 P.S. § 1-601(c). This law also contains
provisions that categorize certain administrative files of the Department as
either public or non-public, 70 P.S. § 1-603, and authorizes the promulgation
of regulations that set up a mechanism by which members of the public may
access the documents that are public. These regulations specifically state that
documents relating to investigations and examinations are not public. 10 Pa. Code § 603.031 (d).
a RTKL Request to the Department
A. Open Records Officer.
The Department has designated Mary Beth S. Stringent as its Agency Open Records
Office (“AORO”) to respond to RTKL requests. Her contact information is as
Department of Banking and Securities
North Second Street
Harrisburg, PA 17101
of the request. The RTKL requires a written request to be
submitted to the AORO. See 65 P.S. § 67.703. It is permissible to use the Standard
Right-to-Know Law Request Form that may be found as follows:
a requester chooses not to use the standard request form, the request should
clearly indicate that it is seeking records under the RTKL. 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 clearly indicate the preferred method of access – paper copies,
electronic copies, or by inspection. 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.
C. 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.
A. 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.
B. Requester’s agreement to extend the
response period beyond 30 days. The requester may
agree, in writing, to extend the Department’s response period for a specified
period beyond 30 days. See 65 P.S. §
C. Trade secrets.
If a request involves records provided to the Department by a third party and
the third party previously provided the Department with a written statement
that the record contains a trade secret or confidential proprietary
information, the Department shall provide notice to the third party. See 65 P.S. § 67.707(b).
D. Final response.
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.
1. Granting access to records.
The Department may grant a request for records by issuing a response: (1)
granting access to inspect records during the Department’s regular business
hours; (2) sending copies of the records to the requester; or (3) by notifying
the requester that the records are available on the Department website or other
publicly accessible electronic means. See
65 P.S. §§ 67.701(a), 704.
2. 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,
available at http://www.openrecords.pa.gov/RTKL/FeeStructure.cfm.
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, available at: http://www.openrecords.pa.gov/Appeals/AppealForm.cfm,
or by contacting the OOR at the
of Open Records
Market St., 16th Floor
of an appeal. All appeals must be filed within 15
business days of the mailing date of the Department’s response. All appeals
must be in writing; must state the grounds upon which the requester asserts
that the requested records are public records; must address any grounds stated
by the Department for denying the request; and must include a copy of the
request and the Department’s response, if any. See 65 P.S. § 67.1101(a)(1).
Notification of Third Parties on Appeal
records affect a legal or security interest of an employee of the Department;
contain confidential, proprietary or trademarked records of a person or
business entity; or are held by a contractor or vendor, the Department must
notify such parties of the appeal immediately and provide proof of that notice
to the OOR within 7 business days from the date of the OOR’s Official Notice of
Appeal. Such notice must be made by (1) providing a copy of all documents
included with the appeal to the OOR; and (2) advising that interested persons
may request to participate in the appeal. See
65 P.S. § 67.1101(c).
agencies such as the Department are subject to a record retention and
disposition schedule that mandates destruction of records on a regular basis.
Therefore, depending on the type of record that is being requested, or its age,
the record may no longer exist.
record retention and disposition schedule is a public document that is
available upon request.
Information about the RTKL
information about the RTKL, the request process, and the appeal process is
available on the OOR website at https://www.openrecords.pa.gov.