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What You Need to Know About Public Records and The Right to Know Law in Pennsylvania

Uncertain how public records apply to you? Find out what Pennsylvania law has to say about balancing the public's right to information with the individual's right to privacy. If you're involved with a public entity or if you represent the media, you need to know the ins and outs of the state's Right to Know Law. Purchase these reference materials and get updates on recent developments in the interpretation of this law. These reference materials will get you headed in the right direction to avoid costly mistakes and litigation - order now to stay current and stay in compliance. Benefits for You •Navigate Pennsylvania's new Right to Know Law ... what has changed and what has not •Determine what public records are not subject to disclosure •Get answers to problems regarding creating, retaining and producing public records
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Over 33 years and 1.4 million customers worth of experience providing continuing education. Our passion is providing you world-class training to help you succeed in business and as a professional.


Overview of Major Cases
— Melissa Bevan Melewsky and Craig J. Staudenmaier, Esq.
  • Overview of Significant Cases Over the Past Year From the Supreme and Commonwealth Courts
View From an Open Records Officer
— Jason Hess and Chief Robert A. Martin
Third-Party Records
— Marisa L. Cohan
  • How to Obtain
  • Shifting Burden of Proof
Emails, Electronic Records and Databases
— Craig J. Staudenmaier, Esq.
  • What Emails Are and Are Not Public Records
  • What Is the Obligation of an Open Records Officer re: Emails
  • When Is a Request For Records in an Electronic Database Not a Creation of a Record Under 705 and When Is It
  • Formatting - Mole Hill or Mountain
— Terry Mutchler
  • How Does This Apply in Deemed Denials
Pre-Decisional  Deliberation Exemption
— Melissa Bevan Melewsky
  • Exemption 708(b)(10)
  • The 'Board Packet' Exception
  • Court Decisions
Noncriminal and Criminal Investigations
— Melissa Bevan Melewsky
  • Exemptions 708(b)(16) and (17)
  • Exceptions to the Exemptions
  • Court Decisions
Alternate Routes
— Marisa L. Cohan
Redaction/Formatting Issues
— Steven A. Hann, Esq.
— Terry Mutchler
View From the Bench and the Office of Open Records
— Terry Mutchler and Hon. Terrence R. Nealon
  • Procedure Issues
  • Practice Pointers
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Why Lorman?

Over 33 years and 1.4 million customers worth of experience providing continuing education. Our passion is providing you world-class training to help you succeed in business and as a professional.


Online Manual

This program does NOT qualify, nor meet the National Standard for NASBA accreditation.

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Why Lorman?

Over 33 years and 1.4 million customers worth of experience providing continuing education. Our passion is providing you world-class training to help you succeed in business and as a professional.


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Kim de Bourbon – Moderator

Pennsylvania Freedom of Information Coalition

  • Executive director of the Pennsylvania Freedom of Information Coalition
  • Manages the PaFOIC and answers Open Government Forum questions online
  • Journalist with 30 years of experience in daily community newspapers
  • Past president of the Pennsylvania Associated Press Managing Editors
  • The Pennsylvania Freedom of Information Coalition’s website is
  • Graduate, Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania
  • Can be contacted at 570-994-5748 or [email protected]
No photo available

Melissa Bevan Melewsky

Pennsylvania Newspaper Association

  • Media law counsel for the Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association
  • Provides legal advice and advocacy to newspapers across the commonwealth on a wide range of legal topics affecting the media industry
  • Advocates for newspapers as an amicus curiae in the Pennsylvania judicial system in cases affecting the newspaper industry including access to government records and meetings, First Amendment rights and defamation
  • Frequent guest lecturer throughout the commonwealth for media and civic organizations as well as government agencies and the court system on the Right to Know Law, and the Sunshine Act and other laws that affect the media industry
  • Co-chair of the Pennsylvania Bar Association's Bar Press Committee
  • J.D. degree, Widener University School of Law; B.A. degree in telecommunications, Pennsylvania State University
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Audrey Buglione

Department of Community & Economic Development

No photo available

Marisa Cohan

Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare

Marisa L. Cohan

  • Assistant counsel with the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare
  • Advises on Right to Know Law and record management issues
  • J.D. degree, Villanova University School of Law; B.A. degree in journalism and B.A. in political science, Pennsylvania State University
  • Can be contacted at 717-783-2800 or DPW’s RTKL office at [email protected]
No photo available

Steven A. Hann, Esq.

Hamburg Rubin Mullin Maxwell & Lupin

Steve A. Hann, Esq.

  • Principle with the Pennsylvania regional law firm of Hamburg, Rubin, Mullin, Maxwell & Lupin
  • Focuses his practice on both environmental law and municipal law and chairs the firm’s Environmental Law Department
  • Practice includes environmental litigation, regulatory counseling and transactional matters, and representing clients’ interests before federal and state environmental and administrative agencies
  • Regularly counsels clients on environmental compliance, water quality related issues, NPDES permitting, TMDLs, wet weather concerns, pretreatment, sewage facilities planning and stormwater management
  • Solicitor to the Pennsylvania Municipal Authorities Association (PMAA), where he provides guidance to municipal authorities on a wide variety of legal issues, including water and wastewater matters
  • Represented PMAA in the well publicized Chesapeake Bay TMDL litigation, which case was ultimately appealed to the United States Supreme Court
  • Represents municipal entities as both solicitor and special counsel, and has litigated numerous water quality cases for such entities, including those involving NPDES permits, TMDLs, municipal wasteload management, and the recovery of attorneys’ fees in water quality matters
  • Served on Pennsylvania’s Sewage Advisory Committee and was appointed by the Pennsylvania General Assembly to serve on an advisory committee to a legislative task force addressing wastewater related issues
  • Appointed to the wastewater workgroup for Pennsylvania’s Chesapeake Bay Phase III Watershed Implementation Plan, which workgroup efforts are ongoing in 2019
  • Frequent speaker on environmental and municipal law-related topics and has taught numerous graduate courses at Penn State Great Valley, including environmental law, environmental compliance and engineering law
  • Formerly an environmental consultant to both the government and private industry
  • Received his law degree from Temple University School of Law, where he was articles editor of the Temple Environmental Law and Technology Journal
  • B.S. Degree in meteorology, Penn State; certificate in broadcast meteorology, Mississippi State University
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Jason Hess

City of Harrisburg

  • Acting city solicitor with the City of Harrisburg
  • Manages all legal affairs for the City of Harrisburg, including oversight and supervision of the City's Right to Know officer
  • J.D. degree, University of Pittsburgh School of Law; B.A. degree in history, University of Pittsburgh
  • Can be contacted at 717-255-3065 or [email protected]
No photo available

Robert A. Martin

Susquehanna Township Police Department

Chief Robert A. Martin

  • Chief of police with Susquehanna Township Police Department where he has also served as a detective, traffic safety officer and platoon commander
  • B.A. degree, Elizabethtown College; graduate, Valley Forge Military College
  • Can be contacted at 717-909-9282 or [email protected]
No photo available

Terrence R. Nealon

Court of Common Pleas

Hon. Terrence R. Nealon

  • Trial court judge since 1998
  • Appointed to the Lackawanna County Court of Common Pleas by former Governor Tom Ridge in 1998
  • Was a trial lawyer for 14 years prior, and was board certified as a civil trial specialist by the National Board of Trial Advocacy
  • Writer of several Right to Know Law rulings including SWB Yankees, LLC v. Wintermantel
Craig J. Staudenmaier, Esq.

Craig J. Staudenmaier, Esq.

Nauman, Smith, Shissler & Hall, LLP

  • Managing partner at Nauman, Smith, Shissler & Hall, LLP, a Best Lawyers, Best Law Firm
  • Represents news media, business and private citizen requesters in RTK matters
  • Conducts regular seminars and workshops on RTKL for journalists, businesses, public officials and employees, attorneys and judges
  • Super Lawyer, Best Lawyer
  • Written RTKL articles for publication in The Pennsylvania Lawyer, the Pennsylvania Bar Association Quarterly
  • J.D. degree, Dickinson School of Law; B.A. degree, summa cum laude, Washington & Jefferson College
  • Can be contacted at 717-236-3010 ext. 22 or [email protected]
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Product ID: 390809
Published 2013
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