Benninghoff to Introduce Bill Removing State Right-to-Know Law Exemption for Penn State
HARRISBURG – In the wake of the alleged child sex abuse scandal at Penn State University, state Rep. Kerry Benninghoff (R-Centre/Mifflin) today announced he is planning to introduce a bill removing an exemption in the state’s Right-to-Know Law provisions currently enjoyed by the school.

“Creating a more open climate could help prevent scandals in the future,” Benninghoff said. “It’s human nature. People tend to act differently when they know there’s a chance someone else is watching them. This bill would empower the public to know more about what goes on at Penn State University.”

Penn State and three other schools categorized as “state-related” universities are currently exempt from some provisions of the state’s Right-to-Know Law. State-related universities, which also include the University of Pittsburgh, Temple University and Lincoln University, must file an annual report with the governor, the General Assembly, the auditor general and the State Library disclosing the salaries of their officers and the 25 highest salaries paid to employees of each institution.

In comparison, State System of Higher Education (SSHE) schools must comply with the comprehensive provisions of Pennsylvania’s Right-to-Know Law, allowing the public considerably more access to their records.

“Taxpayers are supporting all of these schools,” Benninghoff said. “They should have the same access to records from all of the schools.”

Under Benninghoff’s bill, records of state-related universities would be presumed to be public records and treated in a manner similar to the records of many other state and local agencies.

“Adopting this change could actually help Penn State,” Benninghoff said. “The basis of any strong relationship is openness and honesty. As Penn State seeks to strengthen relationships with current and prospective students, alumni, supporters and others across the nation and around the world, the culture of openness this new bill would create could help to build bridges to those individuals. This bill may be able to help restore some trust that has been lost due to the perceived secrecy surrounding Penn State.”

Benninghoff is currently seeking co-sponsors for his legislation and plans to introduce the language of the bill in the near future.

State Representative Kerry Benninghoff
171st District, Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Contact: Dan Massing 
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