Many residents of Northeastern Ohio--like me--have ancestors who were born and/or died in Pennsylvania. Compared to Ohio, accessing birth and death records for ancestors in Pennsylvania has been something of a problem.
There's light at the end of the tunnel in this situation. When Pennsylvania Vital Records Bill SB-361 (Act 110 of 2011) goes into effect law on February 13th, 2012 it will make death certificates over 50 years old and birth certificates over 105 years old OPEN records. It will also transfer certificates to the Pennsylvania State Archives once they become open records.
This means that researchers will have access to these records at one place: the Pennsylvania State Archives. No longer will it be necessary to traipse across Pennsylvania to county records offices to obtain these records.
If you want to study up on this developing situation, go to the website for People for Better Pennsylvania Historical Records Access or PaHR-Access.
You might also want to go to the FAQs page where more detail is provided.