Right to Know
I believe that elected officials and public employees at all levels must be held to the highest legal, ethical and professional standards and all branches and offices of government must be transparent and open to the public.
In order to increase government transparency, I helped pass legislation that revised the Right to Know law, which was signed by Governor Ed Rendell on February 14, 2008. The most significant change the new statute made is that now almost all records are now presumed to be public records. Previously the assumption was that documents and records belonged to the government, and the requester had to jump through hoops to get what he or she wanted. The change ought to mean that citizens, the press, students, any individual can obtain any information requested with a minimum of fuss and wait.
What has happened instead, however, is that the Republican budget of 2010-2011 seriously underfunded the Right to Know office. This is typical behavior of this Administration – they tout a good government concept and then make it difficult, if not impossible, for taxpayers to access the service or program.
We must continue to restore confidence and trust in government by ensuring it works efficiently, effectively, and responsibly for the benefit of all Pennsylvanians. This includes fully funding the Right to Know office so we can continue to increase the transparency of government.