The PA Constitution Is Not a Public Record

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John Micek says the Department of State has a very strange definition of “public record”:

The Department Of State has denied a state prison inmate’s request for a copy of the state Constitution, the Patriot-News reports this morning.

This isn’t actually a joke.

Offering an explanation only a bureaucrat could love, the agency tells the newspaper that the freaking state Constitution isn’t considered a public record that falls under the Department of State’s purview because it is not a record that the agency made because of an action it took.

The department also claimed that it assigns act numbers to records and that the request by inmate Michael Baynard, who’s now serving time for sex offenses, failed to cite an act number and year.
Terry Mutchler, executive director of the state’s Open Records Office, said she was gobsmacked by the action. The story comes just a couple of days after state Republicans celebrated Constitution Day at their fall meeting.

Every member of the statewide GOP was given a free copy of the document at that meeting. Mr. Baynard is serving time at the state prison in Coal Township. Any of you GOPers want to send him your copy? Let us know and we’ll hook you up.

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