Rapp Says Yes to Advancing Open Records Reform Bill for Full House Consideration
11/29/2007
Representative Kathy Rapp (R-Warren) hailed Tuesday’s unanimous PA House State Government Committee vote to advance legislation (House Bill 2072) to reform Pennsylvania’s 50-year old Open Records Law to the full House for final consideration as another necessary and important step toward making all levels of government more open and accountable to the public. 
 
“Pennsylvania taxpayers have every right to demand and received detailed information used by special interest groups to advance their agendas before state and local agencies, and especially members of the Legislature,” said Rapp. “Just as we did in enacting long-overdue lobbysist disclosure reform last year, I am pleased to see the state House taking the lead to ensure that any tax-payer funded government agency or elected official can no longer deny any reasonable request for public information.”
 
Major open record reforms contained in House Bill 2072 include:
 
  • Streamlining the process for residents to access state and local records. 
  • Establishing an office in the Department of Community and Economic Development to assist residents in disputes over public records requests.
 
In sharp contrast to the Senate’s Open Records Law (Senate Bill 1) that was enacted by a margin of 48 to 1 on Tuesday, House Bill 2072 also fully subjects the General Assembly to the state open records law, while excluding confidential e-mail communications between individual constituents and lawmakers.
 
Although, House Bill 2072 is expected to pass the state House next week, Rapp indicated that major differences between both bills will most likely have to be worked out in a joint Senate and House conference committee so that compromise legislation can be sent to the governor.
 
“Pennsylvania’s Founding Father William Penn, said it best, ‘Right is right, even if everyone is against it, and wrong is wrong, even if everyone is for it.’   As the elected representative of the 65th Legislative district, I have sworn an oath to accurately and honorably uphold the best interests of the people that I represent,” said Rapp. “That means at the end of the day, it is the people of Warren, Forest, McKean counties that I must answer to for every vote I cast, not my fellow legislators, and, especially not, special interest lobbyists in Harrisburg.” 
 
Rep. Kathy Rapp
65th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
(814) 723-5203
(717) 787-1367
www.RepRapp.com
Contact: Ty McCauslin
House Republican Public Relations
(717) 772-9979
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 29, 2007