HARRISBURG - A bill to clarify the confidentiality of a person’s financial information under Pennsylvania’s Right-to-Know law garnered unanimous passage in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, according to the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Brett Miller (R-Lancaster).
House Bill 860
is primarily a technical change that clarifies the language of the Right-to-Know Law in order to further safeguard both personal financial information and also public funds.
Presently under the Right-to Know Law, the definition of “personal financial information” excludes an individual’s personal information as it relates to credit, charge and debit cards; bank accounts and statements; and account numbers. Court challenges have arisen over the vagueness of this definition.
Miller’s legislation, House Bill 860, clarifies that an employee’s individual personal financial information, whether it be with a bank or any other financial institution, or their tax information as required by the state or federal government, is confidential and not a public document.
“Personal financial information down to the level of bank account numbers, account passwords and PIN numbers, and more could be deemed accessible under the present Right-to-Know law,” Miller said. “With the prevalence of identity theft, it’s important to take measures to keep an appropriate level of information still accessible under right-to-know requests, while taking these additional measures to protect the financial well-being of those of whom requests are made.”
Miller's legislation also provides for further safeguards to public funds by specifically outlining that a public agency's financial institution account numbers, routing numbers, credit card numbers, and passwords are exempt from disclosure.
"Since there is no reason for any individual to be in possession of this information, the law needs to be clarified by specifically stating that this information is not a public document so as to protect public funds from theft," Miller stated.
The bill now moves to the state Senate for consideration.
Representative Brett R. Miller
41st Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives