House votes to exempt fire, rescue agencies from records law

Pennsylvania

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) – The Pennsylvania House is giving its approval to a bill that would exempt the state’s volunteer fire and rescue companies from the Right-to-Know Law.

State representatives voted 166 to 34 on Tuesday to send the proposal to the Senate.

Supporters of the legislation argue the 2008 rewrite of the open records law wasn’t meant to apply to volunteer fire, rescue and ambulance entities, and that records requests puts a burden on entities that are stretched thin.

The Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association says the departments are largely government funded and notes there have been instances of financial wrongdoing.

The status of volunteer companies under the law has been the subject of several court cases, and Commonwealth Court has recently sought more information about how they operate.

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