Retrieval of public records in Pennsylvania is now a lot easier to accomplish with the help of online state information websites and the official website of the state of Pennsylvania. Unlike a decade ago when you had to go through a lot of processes and complete many forms before getting access to public documents, you can now retrieve a lot of this information online, without even going outside your home.
The access to public records in Pennsylvania falls under the "right to know" law. Because every person, resident or not, has the right to know about the information held by the government and the state, laws such as the Freedom of Information Act greatly influence how Pennsylvania allows access to public records today.
At present time, most of the information within and created for the government of Pennsylvania is subject to public records. Although many public records are available and can be requested from the specific agencies that house them, there are still limitations and guidelines regarding access to certain records. If you visit the website Cit Media Law, a guideline on what records cannot be accessed is detailed carefully to avoid confusion. Examples of records that can be kept under the decision of the records-keeper are:
If you need help in retrieving a specific public record under the state of Pennsylvania, you can visit websites such as Cit Media Law or Public Record Sources. These websites provide a list of available Pennsylvania public records that have been deemed "open for public". Because individual agencies house specific types of records, it would be good to know what kind of agency possibly holds the record you need to save you time instead of randomly browsing the websites. Payments and instructions on how to request public records are also detailed within individual government agency websites, most of which can be found in the two websites listed above.
If you want to use the official government website of Pennsylvania to do your search, it is also possible. A complete list of Pennsylvania State Agencies is available within the website so if you want to contact the government agency that holds the specific public record that you are looking for, you can get their names and contact information here.
Pennsylvania's list of Open Records Officers and their specific agencies is also available on their official website. Request for retrieval of public records might require some information and processing fees and the turnaround time usually ranges from 3-4 weeks. All requested public records are mailed to the address of the person who made the request.
To lookup Pennsylvania public records information, contact:Pennsylvania Office of Open Records
A Pennsylvania public records search is possible due to the Right-To-Know law of which the state remains quite proud. It allows the media, officials, and citizens to obtain access to information such as statistical data as well as copies of documents, film, books, letters, calendars, tapes, and other forms of information that pertain to the government and will be useful for reaching many kinds of goals.
In the state of Pennsylvania, public records will be subject to a new open records law effective January 1, 2009 that will expand public access to government records greatly when the state's new Office of Open Records begins working. The new law signed on February 14, 2008, states that all records kept by the government are public records in Pennsylvania except in the case of certain exceptions. Additionally, it puts the burden of proof as to why a record cannot be released upon the government agencies instead of on the individuals requesting access to said records.
Known as the Right To Know Law, this legislation will allow individuals to access previously inaccessible public records in Pennsylvania as well as give them a way to petition the court should reasonable access to Pennsylvania public records be refused. As this is a newly created department, the full rules and regulations are currently being drafted and are not yet available.