State Rep. Babette Josephs


Josephs: Right-to-know long overdue regarding Pitt, Temple, Penn State, Lincoln; asks Metcalfe to bring up the legislation


HARRISBURG, Dec. 13 State Rep. Babette Josephs, D-Phila., is asking House State Government Committee Chairman Daryl Metcalfe to move legislation that would allow access to information from the state-related universities in Pennsylvania.


Committee Democratic Chairman Josephs has signed on to bills introduced by Reps. Kerry Benninghoff (H.B. 2066) and Eugene DePasquale (H.B. 2051), and has introduced her own that would place the four state-related institutions Temple University, University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania State University and Lincoln University under the state's Right-to-Know Law. Currently, the four are exempt from that law.


"These four universities are supported by the state, so it makes sense for them to abide by the same rules and obligations as public officials and other entities supported by public dollars," Josephs said.


"I have written to Mr. Metcalfe asking that the committee consider this legislation. The measures have bipartisan support and the idea is founded in good public policy. It is a proposal that should be considered, regardless of the party of the person who introduced it."


Josephs' H.B. 2076 would address the schools with regard to the Right-to-Know Law, while H.B. 2075 would include the four colleges in the recent Pennsylvania Web Accountability and Transparency Act, so their financial and expenditure information is available to the public via the PennWATCH website.


"The events that occurred at Penn State have riveted the public's attention and have made imperative the need for the legislature to amend the open records law to demand that state-related institutions make timely reports of such incidents to a responsible official," Josephs wrote in her letter.


"All of us have heard from outraged constituents on this matter. Without exception, they are surprised that Penn State and institutions like it are not already required to report on such occurrences. I believe that we need to show leadership on this issue, and soon, by debating Representative Benninghoff's or Representative DePasquale's open records legislation or my two bills."