Bill would put universities under state's records law
By The Associated Press
Published: Monday, April 22, 2013, 8:12 p.m.
HARRISBURG — A proposal to fully include Penn State and the other three “state-related” universities under the Pennsylvania Right-to-Know Law passed an early test in a committee vote on Monday, although Democrats were split on the issue.
The State Government Committee approved the bill, which would also pertain to the University of Pittsburgh, Temple University and Lincoln University. The four state-related universities get substantial state funding but are not state-owned, as are the 14 schools in the State System of Higher Education.
A complete rewriting of the Right-to-Know Law that took effect in January 2009 requires the schools to provide some records, including the salaries of their highest-paid employees but exempts a great portion of their information.
All Republicans and three of nine Democrats on the committee voted for it.
Rep. Mark Cohen of Philadelphia, the ranking Democrat on the committee and one of the six no votes, said the four schools were accustomed to operating with more authority. He expressed concern about the cost to establish an open records officer and begin fielding requests.
Other schools, such as the University of Pennsylvania, get state funding but are “untrammeled” by the public records bill, Cohen said.
The state's hundreds of public school districts are covered under the law, said Rep. Fred Keller, R-Union. The state-related universities, Keller said, “need to decide whether or not they want the state money.”
Penn State spokeswoman Lisa Powers said that although the school supports accountability, “we do not support Right-to-Know legislation that treats Penn State as a state agency — because we are not a state agency.”
Cohen said Pitt and Temple had indicated to his staff that they were opposed to the bill, although their representatives did not return messages seeking comment. A spokesman for Lincoln University declined comment.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Corbett seeks approval for Medicaid alternative
- Pa. to vie for Boeing plant
- Grants aren’t the same old payouts, Corbett says
- Lawmakers propose removing state judges from Pennsylvania ballots
- ‘Moving Memorial’ on way to Somerset, drives home dangers of DUI
- Former postmaster pleads guilty
- Pa. higher ed chief Brogan poised to reinvent system
- Older volunteers leave big shoes to fill
- Mother, daughter killed in buggy crash identified