A change to the state’s Sunshine Act aimed at increasing transparency in government takes effect Sunday.

The changes are the result of Act 65 of 2021, a piece of legislation championed by state Rep. Aaron Bernstine and signed in June by Gov. Tom Wolf.

It requires public agencies, including municipalities and school districts, to post public meeting agendas at least 24 hours prior to the start of a meeting.

“With heated school board and local government meetings taking place across the state on issues impacting the daily lives of parents, students and communities, it’s especially important for citizens to be aware of this change and for elected officials to think twice about letting important business fly under the taxpayer’s radar,” Bernstine said Wednesday.

Under the change, public agencies are prohibited from taking official action on items not on the meeting agenda unless added by a majority vote, with an included exception for emergency situations and de minimis actions. This ensures those who vote to add an action item to the agenda at the last moment are held accountable to the public.

Agendas must be posted at the location of the meeting and on the agency’s public website. Paper copies must be available to those in attendance.

“Since I was elected in 2016, I have been on a mission to increase transparency and accountability and end the assaults on taxpayers that happen in broad daylight and in the dark,” Bernstine said. “I’m proud we were able to get this critical piece of the puzzle across the finish line.”

For additional information on Pennsylvania’s Sunshine Law, including instructions on how to file a complaint, visit openrecords.pa.gov.

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