Week 4: Day 1 – Requesting Public Records

If the information/data you’re looking for isn’t available and the agency you’ve requested it from is refusing to give it to you/stalling in handing it over, you can submit either a FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) request or RTKL (Right-to-Know-Law) request, depending on the agency you’re requesting the information from.

FOIA Request

You can make a FOIA request when looking for information from any federal agency unless the information is protected under any of these nine exemptions.

Before making a request, you’ll first want to check if the information you’re requesting is already available via that agency’s website. If not, you can click here and follow the instructions for filing a FOIA request.

This page on the FOIA website provides you with the contact information for each  FOIA representative for each agency. The time it takes for each agency to respond to your request depends on the complexity of the information requested.

RTKL/Open Records Request

You can make a RTKL (Right-to-Know-Law)/Open Records Request when looking for any information from state or local agencies in Pennsylvania. To make a request, visit the Office of Open Records website for more information. A list of open records officers can be found here.

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