It’s A Secret


What businesses applied for ‘life-sustaining’ waivers? Wolf administration agency won’t release list

Posted Apr 01, 11:43 AM / By Ed Mahon | PA Post

Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration says the state Department of Community and Economic Development will not respond to open records requests for the foreseeable future, including ones related to the administration’s decision to grant waivers to thousands of businesses amid the coronavirus outbreak.

PA Post received an emailed response on Tuesday from the department, saying a Right-to-Know request emailed on March 24 “will be received and processed upon our offices reopening.”

PennLive/The Patriot-News has also filed a request for those who received waivers and received a similar response. Pennsylvania Capital-Star reported on Tuesday it received a similar response to a separate open records request it submitted related to waivers.

[snip]

In response to the coronavirus outbreak and the disruptions of many normal state and local government operations, the open records office issued guidelines, saying that if an agency is closed on a given day, it does not count as a “business day” for the Right-to-Know timeline. The guidelines also say the state’s disaster emergency declaration allows agencies to temporarily not comply with certain laws and regulations.

[snip]

The department’s position stands in contrast to three agencies run by independently elected officials, the treasurer, auditor general and attorney general.

[snip]

As of the end of the day Sunday, DCED had received 29,495 requests for exemptions from Pennsylvania businesses, Smith said.

Of those, 4,730 had been approved, 7,040 had been denied, and 5,409 were submitted for activities for which no waiver was required, Smith said.

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