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Pennsylvania Senate Passes Bill To Broaden State Open Records Law

The Pennsylvania Senate passed a bill that would change the Open Records Law affecting Penn State and the three other state universities, as reported by multiple sources.

If passed by the House and signed by the Governor, the law would require a number of additional disclosures, including all salaries above $75,000, mean and median salaries for various types of employees, and all auxiliary expenses above $5,000.

Faculty members would also be required to report how much time is spent preparing the curriculum, teaching in classrooms, and research. All in all, there are about 30 different changes in the bill that would open up more records to the public.

Currently, Penn State, Pittsburgh, Temple, and Lincoln are subject to minimal Open Records requirements per their state-related statuses. Information such as each university’s top 25 paid employees and various crime statistics are currently made public annually, but because each institution only receives a fraction of its budget from the state (Penn State current receives approximately $300 million of its $4.9 billion budget from the state), most of its budget and related records are kept private.

“One of the concerns is the additional stress in terms of cost of collecting the information,” Pitt spokesman Ken Service said. “We divulge a great deal of information already voluntarily and also in compliance with current state regulation.”

“A lot of information that will make it a lot easier for the citizens of Pennsylvania to hold accountable our state-related institutions that are the recipients of a significant amount of state appropriations,” State Senator John Blake said during the floor debate.

We will follow the progress of this bill as it passes through the notoriously slow legislative process in Harrisburg.

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About the Author

Claire Going

Claire is a freshman broadcast journalism major and writer for Onward State. She enjoys reading, running, and a good cup of tea. She's from Emmaus, Pennsylvania and is a dual citizen. (Go Ireland!) You can contact her via email at [email protected] or on Twitter @claire_going.

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