Law:Title 5. Open Government; Ethics (Texas)

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Subtitle A. Open Government

Contents

Chapter 551. Open Meetings

Subchapter A. General Provisions

Section  551.001.  Definitions.

In this chapter:

(1)  "Closed meeting" means a meeting to which the public does not have access.

(2)  "Deliberation" means a verbal exchange during a meeting between a quorum of a governmental body, or between a quorum of a governmental body and another person, concerning an issue within the jurisdiction of the governmental body or any public business.

(3)  "Governmental body" means:

(A)  a board, commission, department, committee, or agency within the executive or legislative branch of state government that is directed by one or more elected or appointed members;

(B)  a county commissioners court in the state;

(C)  a municipal governing body in the state;

(D)  a deliberative body that has rulemaking or quasi-judicial power and that is classified as a department, agency, or political subdivision of a county or municipality;

(E)  a school district board of trustees;

(F)  a county board of school trustees;

(G)  a county board of education;

(H)  the governing board of a special district created by law;

(I)  a local workforce development board created under Section 2308.253;

(J)  a nonprofit corporation that is eligible to receive funds under the federal community services block grant program and that is authorized by this state to serve a geographic area of the state; and

(K)  a nonprofit corporation organized under Chapter 67, Water Code, that provides a water supply or wastewater service, or both, and is exempt from ad valorem taxation under Section 11.30, Tax Code.

(4)  "Meeting" means:

(A)  a deliberation between a quorum of a governmental body, or between a quorum of a governmental body and another person, during which public business or public policy over which the governmental body has supervision or control is discussed or considered or during which the governmental body takes formal action; or

(B)  except as otherwise provided by this subdivision, a gathering:

(i)  that is conducted by the governmental body or for which the governmental body is responsible;

(ii)  at which a quorum of members of the governmental body is present;

(iii)  that has been called by the governmental body; and

(iv)  at which the members receive information from, give information to, ask questions of, or receive questions from any third person, including an employee of the governmental body, about the public business or public policy over which the governmental body has supervision or control.

The term does not include the gathering of a quorum of a governmental body at a social function unrelated to the public business that is conducted by the body, or the attendance by a quorum of a governmental body at a regional, state, or national convention or workshop, ceremonial event, or press conference, if formal action is not taken and any discussion of public business is incidental to the social function, convention, workshop, ceremonial event, or press conference.

The term includes a session of a governmental body.

(5)  "Open" means open to the public.

(6)  "Quorum" means a majority of a governmental body, unless defined differently by applicable law or rule or the charter of the governmental body.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993. Amended by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 62, Sec. 18.23, eff. Sept. 1, 1999; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 647, Sec. 1, eff. Aug. 30, 1999; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 633, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 2001; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1004, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 2001; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1276, Sec. 9.012, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

Amended by:

Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 165, Sec. 1, eff. May 22, 2007.



Section  551.0015.  Certain Property Owners' Associations Subject To Law.

(a) A property owners' association is subject to this chapter in the same manner as a governmental body:

(1)  if:

(A)  membership in the property owners' association is mandatory for owners or for a defined class of owners of private real property in a defined geographic area in a county with a population of 2.8 million or more or in a county adjacent to a county with a population of 2.8 million or more;

(B)  the property owners' association has the power to make mandatory special assessments for capital improvements or mandatory regular assessments;  and

(C)  the amount of the mandatory special or regular assessments is or has ever been based in whole or in part on the value at which the state or a local governmental body assesses the property for purposes of ad valorem taxation under Section 20, Article VIII, Texas Constitution; or

(2)  if the property owners' association:

(A)  provides maintenance, preservation, and architectural control of residential and commercial property within a defined geographic area in a county with a population of 2.8 million or more or in a county adjacent to a county with a population of 2.8 million or more; and

(B)  is a corporation that:

(i)  is governed by a board of trustees who may employ a general manager to execute the association's bylaws and administer the business of the corporation;

(ii)  does not require membership in the corporation by the owners of the property within the defined area; and

(iii)  was incorporated before January 1, 2006.

(b)  The governing body of the association, a committee of the association, and members of the governing body or of a committee of the association are subject to this chapter in the same manner as the governing body of a governmental body, a committee of a governmental body, and members of the governing body or of a committee of the governmental body.

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1084, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.

Amended by:

Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1367, Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2007.



Section  551.002.  Open Meetings Requirement.

Every regular, special, or called meeting of a governmental body shall be open to the public, except as provided by this chapter.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993.



Section  551.003.  Legislature.

In this chapter, the legislature is exercising its powers to adopt rules to prohibit secret meetings of the legislature, committees of the legislature, and other bodies associated with the legislature, except as specifically permitted in the constitution.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993.



Section  551.0035.  Attendance By Governmental Body At Legislative Committee Or Agency Meeting.

(a) This section applies only to the attendance by a quorum of a governmental body at a meeting of a committee or agency of the legislature. This section does not apply to attendance at the meeting by members of the legislative committee or agency holding the meeting.

(b)  The attendance by a quorum of a governmental body at a meeting of a committee or agency of the legislature is not considered to be a meeting of that governmental body if the deliberations at the meeting by the members of that governmental body consist only of publicly testifying at the meeting, publicly commenting at the meeting, and publicly responding at the meeting to a question asked by a member of the legislative committee or agency.

Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 447, Sec. 1, eff. June 4, 2001.



Section  551.004.  Open Meetings Required By Charter.

This chapter does not authorize a governmental body to close a meeting that a charter of the governmental body:

(1)  prohibits from being closed; or

(2)  requires to be open.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993.



Section 551.005.  Open Meetings Training.

(a) Each elected or appointed public official who is a member of a governmental body subject to this chapter shall complete a course of training of not less than one and not more than two hours regarding the responsibilities of the governmental body and its members under this chapter not later than the 90th day after the date the member:

(1)  takes the oath of office, if the member is required to take an oath of office to assume the person's duties as a member of the governmental body; or

(2)  otherwise assumes responsibilities as a member of the governmental body, if the member is not required to take an oath of office to assume the person's duties as a member of the governmental body.

(b)  The attorney general shall ensure that the training is made available.  The office of the attorney general may provide the training and may also approve any acceptable course of training offered by a governmental body or other entity.  The attorney general shall ensure that at least one course of training approved or provided by the attorney general is available on videotape or a functionally similar and widely available medium at no cost.  The training must include instruction in:

(1)  the general background of the legal requirements for open meetings;

(2)  the applicability of this chapter to governmental bodies;

(3)  procedures and requirements regarding quorums, notice, and recordkeeping under this chapter;

(4)  procedures and requirements for holding an open meeting and for holding a closed meeting under this chapter; and

(5)  penalties and other consequences for failure to comply with this chapter.

(c)  The office of the attorney general or other entity providing the training shall provide a certificate of course completion to persons who complete the training required by this section.  A governmental body shall maintain and make available for public inspection the record of its members' completion of the training.

(d)  Completing the required training as a member of the governmental body satisfies the requirements of this section with regard to the member's service on a committee or subcommittee of the governmental body and the member's ex officio service on any other governmental body.

(e)  The training required by this section may be used to satisfy any corresponding training requirements concerning this chapter or open meetings required by law for the members of a governmental body.  The attorney general shall attempt to coordinate the training required by this section with training required by other law to the extent practicable.

(f)  The failure of one or more members of a governmental body to complete the training required by this section does not affect the validity of an action taken by the governmental body.

(g)  A certificate of course completion is admissible as evidence in a criminal prosecution under this chapter.  However, evidence that a defendant completed a course of training offered under this section is not prima facie evidence that the defendant knowingly violated this chapter.

Added by Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 105, Sec. 1, eff. January 1, 2006.



Subchapter B. Record Of Open Meeting

Section  551.021.  Minutes Or Tape Recording Of Open Meeting Required.

(a) A governmental body shall prepare and keep minutes or make a tape recording of each open meeting of the body.

(b)  The minutes must:

(1)  state the subject of each deliberation; and

(2)  indicate each vote, order, decision, or other action taken.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993.



Section  551.022.  Minutes And Tape Recordings Of Open Meeting: Public Record.

The minutes and tape recordings of an open meeting are public records and shall be available for public inspection and copying on request to the governmental body's chief administrative officer or the officer's designee.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993.



Section  551.023.  Recording Of Meeting By Person In Attendance.

(a) A person in attendance may record all or any part of an open meeting of a governmental body by means of a tape recorder, video camera, or other means of aural or visual reproduction.

(b)  A governmental body may adopt reasonable rules to maintain order at a meeting, including rules relating to:

(1)  the location of recording equipment; and

(2)  the manner in which the recording is conducted.

(c)  A rule adopted under Subsection (b) may not prevent or unreasonably impair a person from exercising a right granted under Subsection (a).

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993.



Subchapter C. Notice Of Meetings

Section  551.041.  Notice Of Meeting Required.

A governmental body shall give written notice of the date, hour, place, and subject of each meeting held by the governmental body.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993.



Section 551.0411.  Meeting Notice Requirements In Certain Circumstances.

(a) Section 551.041 does not require a governmental body that recesses an open meeting to the following regular business day to post notice of the continued meeting if the action is taken in good faith and not to circumvent this chapter.  If an open meeting is continued to the following regular business day and, on that following day, the governmental body continues the meeting to another day, the governmental body must give written notice as required by this subchapter of the meeting continued to that other day.

(b)  A governmental body that is prevented from convening an open meeting that was otherwise properly posted under Section 551.041 because of a catastrophe may convene the meeting in a convenient location within 72 hours pursuant to Section 551.045 if the action is taken in good faith and not to circumvent this chapter.  If the governmental body is unable to convene the open meeting within those 72 hours, the governmental body may subsequently convene the meeting only if the governmental body gives written notice of the meeting as required by this subchapter.

(c)  In this section, "catastrophe" means a condition or occurrence that interferes physically with the ability of a governmental body to conduct a meeting, including:

(1)  fire, flood, earthquake, hurricane, tornado, or wind, rain, or snow storm;

(2)  power failure, transportation failure, or interruption of communication facilities;

(3)  epidemic; or

(4)  riot, civil disturbance, enemy attack, or other actual or threatened act of lawlessness or violence.

Added by Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 325, Sec. 1, eff. June 17, 2005.



Section 551.0415.  Governing Body Of Municipality:  Reports About Items Of Community Interest Regarding Which No Action Will Be Taken.

(a) Notwithstanding Sections 551.041 and 551.042, a quorum of the governing body of a municipality may receive from municipal staff and a member of the governing body may make a report about items of community interest during a meeting of the governing body without having given notice of the subject of the report as required by this subchapter if no action is taken and, except as provided by Section 551.042, possible action is not discussed regarding the information provided in the report.

(b)  For purposes of Subsection (a), "items of community interest" includes:

(1)  expressions of thanks, congratulations, or condolence;

(2)  information regarding holiday schedules;

(3)  an honorary or salutary recognition of a public official, public employee, or other citizen, except that a discussion regarding a change in the status of a person's public office or public employment is not an honorary or salutary recognition for purposes of this subdivision;

(4)  a reminder about an upcoming event organized or sponsored by the governing body;

(5)  information regarding a social, ceremonial, or community event organized or sponsored by an entity other than the governing body that was attended or is scheduled to be attended by a member of the governing body or an official or employee of the municipality; and

(6)  announcements involving an imminent threat to the public health and safety of people in the municipality that has arisen after the posting of the agenda.

Added by Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 1377, Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2009.



Section  551.042.  Inquiry Made At Meeting.

(a) If, at a meeting of a governmental body, a member of the public or of the governmental body inquires about a subject for which notice has not been given as required by this subchapter, the notice provisions of this subchapter do not apply to:

(1)  a statement of specific factual information given in response to the inquiry; or

(2)  a recitation of existing policy in response to the inquiry.

(b)  Any deliberation of or decision about the subject of the inquiry shall be limited to a proposal to place the subject on the agenda for a subsequent meeting.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993.



Section 551.043.  Time And Accessibility Of Notice; General Rule. (a) The No

tice of a meeting of a governmental body must be posted in a place readily accessible to the general public at all times for at least 72 hours before the scheduled time of the meeting, except as provided by Sections 551.044-551.046.

(b)  If this chapter specifically requires or allows a governmental body to post notice of a meeting on the Internet:

(1)  the governmental body satisfies the requirement that the notice must be posted in a place readily accessible to the general public at all times by making a good-faith attempt to continuously post the notice on the Internet during the prescribed period;

(2)  the governmental body must still comply with any duty imposed by this chapter to physically post the notice at a particular location; and

(3)  if the governmental body makes a good-faith attempt to continuously post the notice on the Internet during the prescribed period, the notice physically posted at the location prescribed by this chapter must be readily accessible to the general public during normal business hours.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993.

Amended by:

Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 624, Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2005.



Section  551.044.  Exception To General Rule: Governmental Body With Statewide Jurisdiction.

(a) The secretary of state must post notice on the Internet of a meeting of a state board, commission, department, or officer having statewide jurisdiction for at least seven days before the day of the meeting. The secretary of state shall provide during regular office hours a computer terminal at a place convenient to the public in the office of the secretary of state that members of the public may use to view notices of meetings posted by the secretary of state.

(b)  Subsection (a) does not apply to:

(1)  the Texas Department of Insurance, as regards proceedings and activities under Title 5, Labor Code, of the department, the commissioner of insurance, or the commissioner of workers' compensation; or

(2)  the governing board of an institution of higher education.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993. Amended by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 622, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.

Amended by:

Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 265, Sec. 6.006, eff. September 1, 2005.



Section  551.045.  Exception To General Rule: Notice Of Emergency Meeting Or Emergency Addition To Agenda.

(a) In an emergency or when there is an urgent public necessity, the notice of a meeting or the supplemental notice of a subject added as an item to the agenda for a meeting for which notice has been posted in accordance with this subchapter is sufficient if it is posted for at least two hours before the meeting is convened.

(b)  An emergency or an urgent public necessity exists only if immediate action is required of a governmental body because of:

(1)  an imminent threat to public health and safety; or

(2)  a reasonably unforeseeable situation.

(c)  The governmental body shall clearly identify the emergency or urgent public necessity in the notice or supplemental notice under this section.

(d)  A person who is designated or authorized to post notice of a meeting by a governmental body under this subchapter shall post the notice taking at face value the governmental body's stated reason for the emergency or urgent public necessity.

(e)  For purposes of Subsection (b)(2), the sudden relocation of a large number of residents from the area of a declared disaster to a governmental body's jurisdiction is considered a reasonably unforeseeable situation for a reasonable period immediately following the relocation.  Notice of an emergency meeting or supplemental notice of an emergency item added to the agenda of a meeting to address a situation described by this subsection must be given to members of the news media as provided by Section 551.047 not later than one hour before the meeting.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993.

Amended by:

Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 258, Sec. 3.06, eff. September 1, 2007.

Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1325, Sec. 1, eff. June 15, 2007.



Section  551.046.  Exception To General Rule: Committee Of Legislature.

The notice of a legislative committee meeting shall be as provided by the rules of the house of representatives or of the senate.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993.



Section  551.047.  Special Notice To News Media Of Emergency Meeting Or Emergency Addition To Agenda.

(a) The presiding officer of a governmental body, or the member of a governmental body who calls an emergency meeting of the governmental body or adds an emergency item to the agenda of a meeting of the governmental body, shall notify the news media of the emergency meeting or emergency item as required by this section.

(b)  The presiding officer or member is required to notify only those members of the news media that have previously:

(1)  filed at the headquarters of the governmental body a request containing all pertinent information for the special notice; and

(2)  agreed to reimburse the governmental body for the cost of providing the special notice.

(c)  The presiding officer or member shall give the notice by telephone, facsimile transmission, or electronic mail.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993.

Amended by:

Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 380, Sec. 1, eff. June 15, 2007.



Section  551.048.  State Governmental Body: Notice To Secretary Of State; Place Of Posting Notice.

(a) A state governmental body shall provide notice of each meeting to the secretary of state.

(b)  The secretary of state shall post the notice on the Internet. The secretary of state shall provide during regular office hours a computer terminal at a place convenient to the public in the office of the secretary of state that members of the public may use to view the notice.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993. Amended by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 622, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.



Section  551.049.  County Governmental Body: Place Of Posting Notice.

A county governmental body shall post notice of each meeting on a bulletin board at a place convenient to the public in the county courthouse.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993.



Section  551.050.  Municipal Governmental Body: Place Of Posting Notice.

A municipal governmental body shall post notice of each meeting on a bulletin board at a place convenient to the public in the city hall.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993.



Section  551.051.  School District: Place Of Posting Notice.

A school district shall post notice of each meeting on a bulletin board at a place convenient to the public in the central administrative office of the district.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993.



Section  551.052.  School District: Special Notice To News Media.

(a) A school district shall provide special notice of each meeting to any news media that has:

(1)  requested special notice; and

(2)  agreed to reimburse the district for the cost of providing the special notice.

(b)  The notice shall be by telephone, facsimile transmission, or electronic mail.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993.

Amended by:

Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 380, Sec. 2, eff. June 15, 2007.



Section  551.053.  District Or Political Subdivision Extending Into Four Or More Counties: Notice To Public, Secretary Of State, And County Clerk; Place Of Posting Notice.

(a) The governing body of a water district or other district or political subdivision that extends into four or more counties shall:

(1)  post notice of each meeting at a place convenient to the public in the administrative office of the district or political subdivision;

(2)  provide notice of each meeting to the secretary of state; and

(3)  provide notice of each meeting to the county clerk of the county in which the administrative office of the district or political subdivision is located.

(b)  The secretary of state shall post the notice provided under Subsection (a)(2) on the Internet. The secretary of state shall provide during regular office hours a computer terminal at a place convenient to the public in the office of the secretary of state that members of the public may use to view the notice.

(c)  A county clerk shall post the notice provided under Subsection (a)(3) on a bulletin board at a place convenient to the public in the county courthouse.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993. Amended by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 622, Sec. 3, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.



Section  551.054.  District Or Political Subdivision Extending Into Fewer Than Four Counties: Notice To Public And County Clerks; Place Of Posting Notice.

(a) The governing body of a water district or other district or political subdivision that extends into fewer than four counties shall:

(1)  post notice of each meeting at a place convenient to the public in the administrative office of the district or political subdivision; and

(2)  provide notice of each meeting to the county clerk of each county in which the district or political subdivision is located.

(b)  A county clerk shall post the notice provided under Subsection (a)(2) on a bulletin board at a place convenient to the public in the county courthouse.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993.



Section  551.055.  Institution Of Higher Education.

In addition to providing any other notice required by this subchapter, the governing board of a single institution of higher education:

(1)  shall post notice of each meeting at the county courthouse of the county in which the meeting will be held;

(2)  shall publish notice of a meeting in a student newspaper of the institution if an issue of the newspaper is published between the time of the posting and the time of the meeting; and

(3)  may post notice of a meeting at another place convenient to the public.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 209, Sec. 1, eff. May 23, 1995.



Section 551.056.  Additional Posting Requirements For Certain Municipalities, Counties, School Districts, Junior College Districts, And Development Corporations. (a) This

section applies only to a governmental body or economic development corporation that maintains an Internet website or for which an Internet website is maintained.  This section does not apply to a governmental body described by Section 551.001(3)(D).

(b)  In addition to the other place at which notice is required to be posted by this subchapter, the following governmental bodies and economic development corporations must also concurrently post notice of a meeting on the Internet website of the governmental body or economic development corporation:

(1)  a municipality;

(2)  a county;

(3)  a school district;

(4)  the governing body of a junior college or junior college district, including a college or district that has changed its name in accordance with Chapter 130, Education Code;

(5)  a development corporation organized under the Development Corporation Act (Subtitle C1, Title 12, Local Government Code); and

(6)  a regional mobility authority included within the meaning of an "authority" as defined by Section 370.003, Transportation Code.

(c)  The following governmental bodies and economic development corporations must also concurrently post the agenda for the meeting on the Internet website of the governmental body or economic development corporation:

(1)  a municipality with a population of 48,000 or more;

(2)  a county with a population of 65,000 or more;

(3)  a school district that contains all or part of the area within the corporate boundaries of a municipality with a population of 48,000 or more;

(4)  the governing body of a junior college district, including a district that has changed its name in accordance with Chapter 130, Education Code, that contains all or part of the area within the corporate boundaries of a municipality with a population of 48,000 or more;

(5)  a development corporation organized under the Development Corporation Act (Subtitle C1, Title 12, Local Government Code) that was created by or for:

(A)  a municipality with a population of 48,000 or more; or

(B)  a county or district that contains all or part of the area within the corporate boundaries of a municipality with a population of 48,000 or more; and

(6)  a regional mobility authority included within the meaning of an "authority" as defined by Section 370.003, Transportation Code.

(d)  The validity of a posted notice of a meeting or an agenda by a governmental body or economic development corporation subject to this section that made a good faith attempt to comply with the requirements of this section is not affected by a failure to comply with a requirement of this section that is due to a technical problem beyond the control of the governmental body or economic development corporation.

Added by Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 340, Sec. 1, eff. January 1, 2006.

Amended by:

Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 814, Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2007.

Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 885, Sec. 3.10, eff. April 1, 2009.



Subchapter D. Exceptions To Requirement That Meetings Be Open

Section  551.071.  Consultation With Attorney; Closed Meeting.

A governmental body may not conduct a private consultation with its attorney except:

(1)  when the governmental body seeks the advice of its attorney about:

(A)  pending or contemplated litigation; or

(B)  a settlement offer; or

(2)  on a matter in which the duty of the attorney to the governmental body under the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct of the State Bar of Texas clearly conflicts with this chapter.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993.



Section  551.072.  Deliberation Regarding Real Property; Closed Meeting.

A governmental body may conduct a closed meeting to deliberate the purchase, exchange, lease, or value of real property if deliberation in an open meeting would have a detrimental effect on the position of the governmental body in negotiations with a third person.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993.



Section  551.0725.  Commissioners Courts: Deliberation Regarding Contract Being Negotiated; Closed Meeting.

(a) The commissioners court of a county with a population of 400,000 or more may conduct a closed meeting to deliberate business and financial issues relating to a contract being negotiated if, before conducting the closed meeting:

(1)  the commissioners court votes unanimously that deliberation in an open meeting would have a detrimental effect on the position of the commissioners court in negotiations with a third person; and

(2)  the attorney advising the commissioners court issues a written determination that deliberation in an open meeting would have a detrimental effect on the position of the commissioners court in negotiations with a third person.

(b)  Notwithstanding Section 551.103(a), Government Code, the commissioners court must make a tape recording of the proceedings of a closed meeting to deliberate the information.

Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1287, Sec. 1, eff. June 21, 2003.



Section 551.0726.  Texas Facilities Commission:  Deliberation Regarding Contract Being Negotiated; Closed Meeting.

(a) The Texas Facilities Commission may conduct a closed meeting to deliberate business and financial issues relating to a contract being negotiated if, before conducting the closed meeting:

(1)  the commission votes unanimously that deliberation in an open meeting would have a detrimental effect on the position of the state in negotiations with a third person; and

(2)  the attorney advising the commission issues a written determination finding that deliberation in an open meeting would have a detrimental effect on the position of the state in negotiations with a third person and setting forth that finding therein.

(b)  Notwithstanding Section 551.103(a), the commission must make a tape recording of the proceedings of a closed meeting held under this section.

Added by Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 535, Sec. 1, eff. June 17, 2005.

Amended by:

Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 937, Sec. 3.05, eff. September 1, 2007.

Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 87, Sec. 11.011, eff. September 1, 2009.



Section  551.073.  Deliberation Regarding Prospective Gift; Closed Meeting.

A governmental body may conduct a closed meeting to deliberate a negotiated contract for a prospective gift or donation to the state or the governmental body if deliberation in an open meeting would have a detrimental effect on the position of the governmental body in negotiations with a third person.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993.



Section  551.074.  Personnel Matters; Closed Meeting.

(a) This chapter does not require a governmental body to conduct an open meeting:

(1)  to deliberate the appointment, employment, evaluation, reassignment, duties, discipline, or dismissal of a public officer or employee; or

(2)  to hear a complaint or charge against an officer or employee.

(b)  Subsection (a) does not apply if the officer or employee who is the subject of the deliberation or hearing requests a public hearing.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993.



Section  551.0745.  Personnel Matters Affecting County Advisory Body; Closed Meeting.

(a) This chapter does not require the commissioners court of a county to conduct an open meeting:

(1)  to deliberate the appointment, employment, evaluation, reassignment, duties, discipline, or dismissal of a member of an advisory body; or

(2)  to hear a complaint or charge against a member of an advisory body.

(b)  Subsection (a) does not apply if the individual who is the subject of the deliberation or hearing requests a public hearing.

Added by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 659, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.



Section  551.075.  Conference Relating To Investments And Potential Investments Attended By Board Of Trustees Of Texas Growth Fund; Closed Meeting.

(a) This chapter does not require the board of trustees of the Texas growth fund to confer with one or more employees of the Texas growth fund or with a third party in an open meeting if the only purpose of the conference is to:

(1)  receive information from the employees of the Texas growth fund or the third party relating to an investment or a potential investment by the Texas growth fund in:

(A)  a private business entity, if disclosure of the information would give advantage to a competitor; or

(B)  a business entity whose securities are publicly traded, if the investment or potential investment is not required to be registered under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (15 U.S.C. Section 78a et seq.), and its subsequent amendments, and if disclosure of the information would give advantage to a competitor; or

(2)  question the employees of the Texas growth fund or the third party regarding an investment or potential investment described by Subdivision (1), if disclosure of the information contained in the questions or answers would give advantage to a competitor.

(b)  During a conference under Subsection (a), members of the board of trustees of the Texas growth fund may not deliberate public business or agency policy that affects public business.

(c)  In this section, "Texas growth fund" means the fund created by Section 70, Article XVI, Texas Constitution.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993. Amended by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 647, Sec. 2, eff. Aug. 30, 1999.



Section 551.076.  Deliberation Regarding Security Devices Or Security Audits; Closed Meeting.

This chapter does not require a governmental body to conduct an open meeting to deliberate:

(1)  the deployment, or specific occasions for implementation, of security personnel or devices; or

(2)  a security audit.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993.

Amended by:

Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 258, Sec. 3.07, eff. September 1, 2007.



Section  551.077.  Agency Financed By Federal Government.

This chapter does not require an agency financed entirely by federal money to conduct an open meeting.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993.



Section  551.078.  Medical Board Or Medical Committee.

This chapter does not require a medical board or medical committee to conduct an open meeting to deliberate the medical or psychiatric records of an individual applicant for a disability benefit from a public retirement system.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993.



Section  551.0785.  Deliberations Involving Medical Or Psychiatric Records Of Individuals.

This chapter does not require a benefits appeals committee for a public self-funded health plan or a governmental body that administers a public insurance, health, or retirement plan to conduct an open meeting to deliberate:

(1)  the medical records or psychiatric records of an individual applicant for a benefit from the plan; or

(2)  a matter that includes a consideration of information in the medical or psychiatric records of an individual applicant for a benefit from the plan.

Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 158, Sec. 1, eff. May 27, 2003.



Section 551.079.  Texas Department Of Insurance.

(a) The requirements of this chapter do not apply to a meeting of the commissioner of insurance or the commissioner's designee with the board of directors of a guaranty association established under Chapter 2602, Insurance Code, or Article 21.28-C or 21.28-D, Insurance Code, in the discharge of the commissioner's duties and responsibilities to regulate and maintain the solvency of a person regulated by the Texas Department of Insurance.

(b)  The commissioner of insurance may deliberate and determine the appropriate action to be taken concerning the solvency of a person regulated by the Texas Department of Insurance in a closed meeting with persons in one or more of the following categories:

(1)  staff of the Texas Department of Insurance;

(2)  a regulated person;

(3)  representatives of a regulated person; or

(4)  members of the board of directors of a guaranty association established under Chapter 2602, Insurance Code, or Article 21.28-C or 21.28-D, Insurance Code.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993. Amended by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 628, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 2001.

Amended by:

Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 728, Sec. 11.120, eff. September 1, 2005.



Section 551.080.  Board Of Pardons And Paroles.

This chapter does not require the Board of Pardons and Paroles to conduct an open meeting to interview or counsel an inmate of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993.

Amended by:

Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 87, Sec. 25.071, eff. September 1, 2009.



Section  551.081.  Credit Union Commission.

This chapter does not require the Credit Union Commission to conduct an open meeting to deliberate a matter made confidential by law.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993.



Section  551.0811.  The Finance Commission Of Texas.

This chapter does not require The Finance Commission of Texas to conduct an open meeting to deliberate a matter made confidential by law.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 76, Sec. 5.01(a), eff. Sept. 1, 1995.



Section  551.082.  School Children; School District Employees; Disciplinary Matter Or Complaint.

(a) This chapter does not require a school board to conduct an open meeting to deliberate in a case:

(1)  involving discipline of a public school child; or

(2)  in which a complaint or charge is brought against an employee of the school district by another employee and the complaint or charge directly results in a need for a hearing.

(b)  Subsection (a) does not apply if an open hearing is requested in writing by a parent or guardian of the child or by the employee against whom the complaint or charge is brought.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993.



Section  551.0821.  School Board: Personally Identifiable Information About Public School Student.

(a) This chapter does not require a school board to conduct an open meeting to deliberate a matter regarding a public school student if personally identifiable information about the student will necessarily be revealed by the deliberation.

(b)  Directory information about a public school student is considered to be personally identifiable information about the student for purposes of Subsection (a) only if a parent or guardian of the student, or the student if the student has attained 18 years of age, has informed the school board, the school district, or a school in the school district that the directory information should not be released without prior consent. In this subsection, "directory information" has the meaning assigned by the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (20 U.S.C. Section 1232g), as amended.

(c)  Subsection (a) does not apply if an open meeting about the matter is requested in writing by a parent or guardian of the student or by the student if the student has attained 18 years of age.

Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 190, Sec. 1, eff. June 2, 2003.



Section  551.083.  Certain School Boards; Closed Meeting Regarding Consultation With Representative Of Employee Group.

This chapter does not require a school board operating under a consultation agreement authorized by Section 13.901, Education Code, to conduct an open meeting to deliberate the standards, guidelines, terms, or conditions the board will follow, or instruct its representatives to follow, in a consultation with a representative of an employee group.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993.



Section  551.084.  Investigation; Exclusion Of Witness From Hearing.

A governmental body that is investigating a matter may exclude a witness from a hearing during the examination of another witness in the investigation.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993.



Section  551.085.  Governing Board Of Certain Providers Of Health Care Services.

(a) This chapter does not require the governing board of a municipal hospital, municipal hospital authority, hospital district created under general or special law, or nonprofit health maintenance organization created under Section 534.101, Health and Safety Code, to conduct an open meeting to deliberate:

(1)  pricing or financial planning information relating to a bid or negotiation for the arrangement or provision of services or product lines to another person if disclosure of the information would give advantage to competitors of the hospital, hospital district, or nonprofit health maintenance organization; or

(2)  information relating to a proposed new service or product line of the hospital, hospital district, or nonprofit health maintenance organization before publicly announcing the service or product line.

(b)  The governing board of a health maintenance organization created under Section 281.0515, Health and Safety Code, that is subject to this chapter is not required to conduct an open meeting to deliberate information described by Subsection (a).

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 76, Sec. 5.02(a), eff. Sept. 1, 1995. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 778, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1229, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1999; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 7, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.



Section  551.086.  Certain Public Power Utilities: Competitive Matters.

(a) Notwithstanding anything in this chapter to the contrary, the rules provided by this section apply to competitive matters of a public power utility.

(b)  In this section:

(1)  "Public power utility" means an entity providing electric or gas utility services that is subject to the provisions of this chapter.

(2)  "Public power utility governing body" means the board of trustees or other applicable governing body, including a city council, of a public power utility.

(3)  "Competitive matter" means a utility-related matter that the public power utility governing body in good faith determines by a vote under this section is related to the public power utility's competitive activity, including commercial information, and would, if disclosed, give advantage to competitors or prospective competitors but may not be deemed to include the following categories of information:

(A)  information relating to the provision of distribution access service, including the terms and conditions of the service and the rates charged for the service but not including information concerning utility-related services or products that are competitive;

(B)  information relating to the provision of transmission service that is required to be filed with the Public Utility Commission of Texas, subject to any confidentiality provided for under the rules of the commission;

(C)  information for the distribution system pertaining to reliability and continuity of service, to the extent not security-sensitive, that relates to emergency management, identification of critical loads such as hospitals and police, records of interruption, and distribution feeder standards;

(D)  any substantive rule of general applicability regarding service offerings, service regulation, customer protections, or customer service adopted by the public power utility as authorized by law;

(E)  aggregate information reflecting receipts or expenditures of funds of the public power utility, of the type that would be included in audited financial statements;

(F)  information relating to equal employment opportunities for minority groups, as filed with local, state, or federal agencies;

(G)  information relating to the public power utility's performance in contracting with minority business entities;

(H)  information relating to nuclear decommissioning trust agreements, of the type required to be included in audited financial statements;

(I)  information relating to the amount and timing of any transfer to an owning city's general fund;

(J)  information relating to environmental compliance as required to be filed with any local, state, or national environmental authority, subject to any confidentiality provided under the rules of those authorities;

(K)  names of public officers of the public power utility and the voting records of those officers for all matters other than those within the scope of a competitive resolution provided for by this section;

(L)  a description of the public power utility's central and field organization, including the established places at which the public may obtain information, submit information and requests, or obtain decisions and the identification of employees from whom the public may obtain information, submit information or requests, or obtain decisions; or

(M)  information identifying the general course and method by which the public power utility's functions are channeled and determined, including the nature and requirements of all formal and informal policies and procedures.

(c)  This chapter does not require a public power utility governing body to conduct an open meeting to deliberate, vote, or take final action on any competitive matter, as that term is defined in Subsection (b)(3). Before a public power utility governing body may deliberate, vote, or take final action on any competitive matter in a closed meeting, the public power utility governing body must first make a good faith determination, by majority vote of its members, that the matter is a competitive matter that satisfies the requirements of Subsection (b)(3). The vote shall be taken during the closed meeting and be included in the certified agenda or tape recording of the closed meeting. If a public power utility governing body fails to determine by that vote that the matter satisfies the requirements of Subsection (b)(3), the public power utility governing body may not deliberate or take any further action on the matter in the closed meeting. This section does not limit the right of a public power utility governing body to hold a closed session under any other exception provided for in this chapter.

(d)  For purposes of Section 551.041, the notice of the subject matter of an item that may be considered as a competitive matter under this section is required to contain no more than a general representation of the subject matter to be considered, such that the competitive activity of the public power utility with respect to the issue in question is not compromised or disclosed.

(e)  With respect to municipally owned utilities subject to this section, this section shall apply whether or not the municipally owned utility has adopted customer choice or serves in a multiply certificated service area under the Utilities Code.

(f)  Nothing in this section is intended to preclude the application of the enforcement and remedies provisions of Subchapter G.

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 405, Sec. 45, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.



Section  551.087.  Deliberation Regarding Economic Development Negotiations; Closed Meeting.

This chapter does not require a governmental body to conduct an open meeting:

(1)  to discuss or deliberate regarding commercial or financial information that the governmental body has received from a business prospect that the governmental body seeks to have locate, stay, or expand in or near the territory of the governmental body and with which the governmental body is conducting economic development negotiations; or

(2)  to deliberate the offer of a financial or other incentive to a business prospect described by Subdivision (1).

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1319, Sec. 32, eff. Sept. 1, 1999. Renumbered from Sec. 551.086 by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1420, Sec. 21.001(49), eff. Sept. 1, 2001.



Section  551.088.  Deliberation Regarding Test Item.

This chapter does not require a governmental body to conduct an open meeting to deliberate a test item or information related to a test item if the governmental body believes that the test item may be included in a test the governmental body administers to individuals who seek to obtain or renew a license or certificate that is necessary to engage in an activity.

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 312, Sec. 1, eff. Aug. 30, 1999. Renumbered from Sec. 551.086 by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1420, Sec. 21.001(50), eff. Sept. 1, 2001.



Section 551.089.  Department Of Information Resources.

This chapter does not require the governing board of the Department of Information Resources to conduct an open meeting to deliberate:

(1)  security assessments or deployments relating to information resources technology;

(2)  network security information as described by Section 2059.055(b); or

(3)  the deployment, or specific occasions for implementation, of security personnel, critical infrastructure, or security devices.

Added by Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 183, Sec. 3, eff. September 1, 2009.



Subchapter E. Procedures Relating To Closed Meeting

Section  551.101.  Requirement To First Convene In Open Meeting.

If a closed meeting is allowed under this chapter, a governmental body may not conduct the closed meeting unless a quorum of the governmental body first convenes in an open meeting for which notice has been given as provided by this chapter and during which the presiding officer publicly:

(1)  announces that a closed meeting will be held; and

(2)  identifies the section or sections of this chapter under which the closed meeting is held.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993.



Section  551.102.  Requirement To Vote Or Take Final Action In Open Meeting.

A final action, decision, or vote on a matter deliberated in a closed meeting under this chapter may only be made in an open meeting that is held in compliance with the notice provisions of this chapter.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993.



Section  551.103.  Certified Agenda Or Tape Recording Required. (a)

A governmental body shall either keep a certified agenda or make a tape recording of the proceedings of each closed meeting, except for a private consultation permitted under Section 551.071.

(b)  The presiding officer shall certify that an agenda kept under Subsection (a) is a true and correct record of the proceedings.

(c)  The certified agenda must include:

(1)  a statement of the subject matter of each deliberation;

(2)  a record of any further action taken; and

(3)  an announcement by the presiding officer at the beginning and the end of the meeting indicating the date and time.

(d)  A tape recording made under Subsection (a) must include announcements by the presiding officer at the beginning and the end of the meeting indicating the date and time.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993.



Section  551.104.  Certified Agenda Or Tape; Preservation; Disclosure.

(a) A governmental body shall preserve the certified agenda or tape recording of a closed meeting for at least two years after the date of the meeting. If an action involving the meeting is brought within that period, the governmental body shall preserve the certified agenda or tape while the action is pending.

(b)  In litigation in a district court involving an alleged violation of this chapter, the court:

(1)  is entitled to make an in camera inspection of the certified agenda or tape;

(2)  may admit all or part of the certified agenda or tape as evidence, on entry of a final judgment; and

(3)  may grant legal or equitable relief it considers appropriate, including an order that the governmental body make available to the public the certified agenda or tape of any part of a meeting that was required to be open under this chapter.

(c)  The certified agenda or tape of a closed meeting is available for public inspection and copying only under a court order issued under Subsection (b)(3).

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993.



Subchapter F. Meetings Using Telephone, Videoconference, Or Internet

Section 551.121.  Governing Board Of Institution Of Higher Education; Board For Lease Of University Lands; Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board:  Special Meeting For Immediate Action.

(a) In this section, "governing board," "institution of higher education," and "university system" have the meanings assigned by Section 61.003, Education Code.

(c)  A meeting held by telephone conference call authorized by this section may be held only if:

(1)  the meeting is a special called meeting and immediate action is required; and

(2)  the convening at one location of a quorum of the governing board, the Board for Lease of University Lands, or the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, as applicable, is difficult or impossible.

(d)  The telephone conference call meeting is subject to the notice requirements applicable to other meetings.

(f)  Each part of the telephone conference call meeting that is required to be open to the public shall be audible to the public at the location specified in the notice of the meeting as the location of the meeting and shall be tape recorded. The tape recording shall be made available to the public.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993. Amended by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1266, Sec. 4.05, 4.06, eff. June 20, 2003.

Amended by:

Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 538, Sec. 2, eff. September 1, 2007.

Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 538, Sec. 3, eff. September 1, 2007.

Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 778, Sec. 2, eff. June 15, 2007.

Reenacted by Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 87, Sec. 11.013, eff. September 1, 2009.

Amended by:

Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 87, Sec. 11.014, eff. September 1, 2009.



Section 551.122.  Governing Board Of Junior College District: Quorum Present At One Location.

(a) This chapter does not prohibit the governing board of a junior college district from holding an open or closed meeting by telephone conference call.

(b)  A meeting held by telephone conference call authorized by this section may be held only if a quorum of the governing board is physically present at the location where meetings of the board are usually held.

(c)  The telephone conference call meeting is subject to the notice requirements applicable to other meetings.

(d)  Each part of the telephone conference call meeting that is required to be open to the public shall be audible to the public at the location where the quorum is present and shall be tape-recorded.  The tape recording shall be made available to the public.

(e)  The location of the meeting shall provide two-way communication during the entire telephone conference call meeting, and the identification of each party to the telephone conference shall be clearly stated before the party speaks.

(f)  The authority provided by this section is in addition to the authority provided by Section 551.121.

(g)  A member of a governing board of a junior college district who participates in a board meeting by telephone conference call but is not physically present at the location of the meeting is considered to be absent from the meeting for purposes of Section 130.0845, Education Code.

Added by Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 778, Sec. 1, eff. June 15, 2007.



Section  551.123.  Texas Board Of Criminal Justice.

(a) The Texas Board of Criminal Justice may hold an open or closed emergency meeting by telephone conference call.

(b)  The portion of the telephone conference call meeting that is open shall be recorded. The recording shall be made available to be heard by the public at one or more places designated by the board.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993.



Section  551.124.  Board Of Pardons And Paroles.

At the call of the presiding officer of the Board of Pardons and Paroles, the board may hold a hearing on clemency matters by telephone conference call.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 12.16, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.



Section  551.125.  Other Governmental Body.

(a) Except as otherwise provided by this subchapter, this chapter does not prohibit a governmental body from holding an open or closed meeting by telephone conference call.

(b)  A meeting held by telephone conference call may be held only if:

(1)  an emergency or public necessity exists within the meaning of Section 551.045 of this chapter; and

(2)  the convening at one location of a quorum of the governmental body is difficult or impossible; or

(3)  the meeting is held by an advisory board.

(c)  The telephone conference call meeting is subject to the notice requirements applicable to other meetings.

(d)  The notice of the telephone conference call meeting must specify as the location of the meeting the location where meetings of the governmental body are usually held.

(e)  Each part of the telephone conference call meeting that is required to be open to the public shall be audible to the public at the location specified in the notice of the meeting as the location of the meeting and shall be tape-recorded. The tape recording shall be made available to the public.

(f)  The location designated in the notice as the location of the meeting shall provide two-way communication during the entire telephone conference call meeting and the identification of each party to the telephone conference shall be clearly stated prior to speaking.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 1046, Sec. 1, eff. Aug. 28, 1995.



Section  551.126.  Higher Education Coordinating Board.

(a) In this section, "board" means the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.

(b)  The board may hold an open meeting by telephone conference call or video conference call in order to consider a higher education impact statement if the preparation of a higher education impact statement by the board is to be provided under the rules of either the house of representatives or the senate.

(c)  A meeting held by telephone conference call must comply with the procedures described in Section 551.125.

(d)  A meeting held by video conference call is subject to the notice requirements applicable to other meetings. In addition, a meeting held by video conference call shall:

(1)  be visible and audible to the public at the location specified in the notice of the meeting as the location of the meeting;

(2)  be recorded by audio and video; and

(3)  have two-way audio and video communications with each participant in the meeting during the entire meeting.

Added by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 944, Sec. 1, eff. June 18, 1997.



Section  551.127.  Videoconference Call.

(a) Except as otherwise provided by this section, this chapter does not prohibit a governmental body from holding an open or closed meeting by videoconference call.

(b)  A meeting may be held by videoconference call only if a quorum of the governmental body is physically present at one location of the meeting, except as provided by Subsection (c).

(c)  A meeting of a state governmental body or a governmental body that extends into three or more counties may be held by videoconference call only if a majority of the quorum of the governmental body is physically present at one location of the meeting.

(d)  A meeting held by videoconference call is subject to the notice requirements applicable to other meetings in addition to the notice requirements prescribed by this section.

(e)  The notice of a meeting to be held by videoconference call must specify as a location of the meeting the location where a quorum of the governmental body will be physically present and specify the intent to have a quorum present at that location, except that the notice of a meeting to be held by videoconference call under Subsection (c) must specify as a location of the meeting each location where a majority of the quorum of the governmental body will be physically present and specify the intent to have a majority of the quorum of the governmental body present at that location. In addition, the notice of the meeting must specify as a location of the meeting each other location where a member of the governmental body who will participate in the meeting will be physically present during the meeting. Each of the locations shall be open to the public during the open portions of the meeting.

(f)  Each portion of a meeting held by videoconference call that is required to be open to the public shall be visible and audible to the public at each location specified under Subsection (e).

(g)  The governmental body shall make at least an audio recording of the meeting. The recording shall be made available to the public.

(h)  Each location specified under Subsection (e) shall have two-way communication with each other location during the entire meeting. Each participant in the videoconference call, while speaking, shall be clearly visible and audible to each other participant and, during the open portion of the meeting, to the members of the public in attendance at a location of the meeting.

(i)  The Department of Information Resources by rule shall specify minimum standards for audio and video signals at a meeting held by videoconference call. The quality of the audio and video signals perceptible at each location of the meeting must meet or exceed those standards.

(j)  The quality of the audio and video signals perceptible by members of the public at each location of the meeting must:

(1)  meet or exceed the quality of the audio and video signals perceptible by the members of the governmental body participating in the meeting; and

(2)  be of sufficient quality so that members of the public at each location of the meeting can observe the demeanor and hear the voice of each participant in the open portion of the meeting.

(k)  Without regard to whether a member of the governmental body is participating in a meeting from a remote location by videoconference call, a governmental body may allow a member of the public to testify at a meeting from a remote location by videoconference call.

Added by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1038, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1997. Renumbered from Sec. 551.126 by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 62, Sec. 19.01(50), eff. Sept. 1, 1999. Amended by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 630, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 2001.



Section  551.128.  Internet Broadcast Of Open Meeting.

(a) In this section, "Internet" means the largest nonproprietary cooperative public computer network, popularly known as the Internet.

(b)  Subject to the requirements of this section, a governmental body may broadcast an open meeting over the Internet.

(c)  A governmental body that broadcasts a meeting over the Internet shall establish an Internet site and provide access to the broadcast from that site. The governmental body shall provide on the Internet site the same notice of the meeting that the governmental body is required to post under Subchapter C. The notice on the Internet must be posted within the time required for posting notice under Subchapter C.

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 100, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.



Section  551.129.  Consultations Between Governmental Body And Its Attorney.

(a) A governmental body may use a telephone conference call, video conference call, or communications over the Internet to conduct a public consultation with its attorney in an open meeting of the governmental body or a private consultation with its attorney in a closed meeting of the governmental body.

(b)  Each part of a public consultation by a governmental body with its attorney in an open meeting of the governmental body under Subsection (a) must be audible to the public at the location specified in the notice of the meeting as the location of the meeting.

(c)  Subsection (a) does not:

(1)  authorize the members of a governmental body to conduct a meeting of the governmental body by telephone conference call, video conference call, or communications over the Internet; or

(2)  create an exception to the application of this subchapter.

(d)  Subsection (a) does not apply to a consultation with an attorney who is an employee of the governmental body.

(e)  For purposes of Subsection (d), an attorney who receives compensation for legal services performed, from which employment taxes are deducted by the governmental body, is an employee of the governmental body.

(f)  Subsection (d) does not apply to:

(1)  the governing board of an institution of higher education as defined by Section 61.003, Education Code; or

(2)  the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.

Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 50, Sec. 1, eff. May 7, 2001.

Amended by:

Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 538, Sec. 4, eff. September 1, 2007.



Subchapter G. Enforcement And Remedies; Criminal Violations

Section  551.141.  Action Voidable.

An action taken by a governmental body in violation of this chapter is voidable.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993.



Section  551.142.  Mandamus; Injunction.

(a) An interested person, including a member of the news media, may bring an action by mandamus or injunction to stop, prevent, or reverse a violation or threatened violation of this chapter by members of a governmental body.

(b)  The court may assess costs of litigation and reasonable attorney fees incurred by a plaintiff or defendant who substantially prevails in an action under Subsection (a). In exercising its discretion, the court shall consider whether the action was brought in good faith and whether the conduct of the governmental body had a reasonable basis in law.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993.



Section  551.143.  Conspiracy To Circumvent Chapter; Offense; Penalty.

(a) A member or group of members of a governmental body commits an offense if the member or group of members knowingly conspires to circumvent this chapter by meeting in numbers less than a quorum for the purpose of secret deliberations in violation of this chapter.

(b)  An offense under Subsection (a) is a misdemeanor punishable by:

(1)  a fine of not less than $100 or more than $500;

(2)  confinement in the county jail for not less than one month or more than six months; or

(3)  both the fine and confinement.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993.



Section  551.144.  Closed Meeting; Offense; Penalty.

(a) A member of a governmental body commits an offense if a closed meeting is not permitted under this chapter and the member knowingly:

(1)  calls or aids in calling or organizing the closed meeting, whether it is a special or called closed meeting;

(2)  closes or aids in closing the meeting to the public, if it is a regular meeting; or

(3)  participates in the closed meeting, whether it is a regular, special, or called meeting.

(b)  An offense under Subsection (a) is a misdemeanor punishable by:

(1)  a fine of not less than $100 or more than $500;

(2)  confinement in the county jail for not less than one month or more than six months; or

(3)  both the fine and confinement.

(c)  It is an affirmative defense to prosecution under Subsection (a) that the member of the governmental body acted in reasonable reliance on a court order or a written interpretation of this chapter contained in an opinion of a court of record, the attorney general, or the attorney for the governmental body.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993. Amended by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 647, Sec. 3, eff. Aug. 30, 1999.



Section  551.145.  Closed Meeting Without Certified Agenda Or Tape Recording; Offense; Penalty.

(a) A member of a governmental body commits an offense if the member participates in a closed meeting of the governmental body knowing that a certified agenda of the closed meeting is not being kept or that a tape recording of the closed meeting is not being made.

(b)  An offense under Subsection (a) is a Class C misdemeanor.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993.



Section  551.146.  Disclosure Of Certified Agenda Or Tape Recording Of Closed Meeting; Offense; Penalty; Civil Liability.

(a) An individual, corporation, or partnership that without lawful authority knowingly discloses to a member of the public the certified agenda or tape recording of a meeting that was lawfully closed to the public under this chapter:

(1)  commits an offense; and

(2)  is liable to a person injured or damaged by the disclosure for:

(A)  actual damages, including damages for personal injury or damage, lost wages, defamation, or mental or other emotional distress;

(B)  reasonable attorney fees and court costs; and

(C)  at the discretion of the trier of fact, exemplary damages.

(b)  An offense under Subsection (a)(1) is a Class B misdemeanor.

(c)  It is a defense to prosecution under Subsection (a)(1) and an affirmative defense to a civil action under Subsection (a)(2) that:

(1)  the defendant had good reason to believe the disclosure was lawful; or

(2)  the disclosure was the result of a mistake of fact concerning the nature or content of the certified agenda or tape recording.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993.

Chapter 552. Public Information

Subchapter A. General Provisions

Section  552.001.  Policy; Construction.

(a) Under the fundamental philosophy of the American constitutional form of representative government that adheres to the principle that government is the servant and not the master of the people, it is the policy of this state that each person is entitled, unless otherwise expressly provided by law, at all times to complete information about the affairs of government and the official acts of public officials and employees. The people, in delegating authority, do not give their public servants the right to decide what is good for the people to know and what is not good for them to know. The people insist on remaining informed so that they may retain control over the instruments they have created. The provisions of this chapter shall be liberally construed to implement this policy.

(b)  This chapter shall be liberally construed in favor of granting a request for information.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993.



Section  552.002.  Definition Of Public Information; Media Containing Public Information.

(a) In this chapter, "public information" means information that is collected, assembled, or maintained under a law or ordinance or in connection with the transaction of official business:

(1)  by a governmental body; or

(2)  for a governmental body and the governmental body owns the information or has a right of access to it.

(b)  The media on which public information is recorded include:

(1)  paper;

(2)  film;

(3)  a magnetic, optical, or solid state device that can store an electronic signal;

(4)  tape;

(5)  Mylar;

(6)  linen;

(7)  silk; and

(8)  vellum.

(c)  The general forms in which the media containing public information exist include a book, paper, letter, document, printout, photograph, film, tape, microfiche, microfilm, photostat, sound recording, map, and drawing and a voice, data, or video representation held in computer memory.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 1035, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.



Section  552.003.  Definitions.

In this chapter:

(1)  "Governmental body":

(A)  means:

(i)  a board, commission, department, committee, institution, agency, or office that is within or is created by the executive or legislative branch of state government and that is directed by one or more elected or appointed members;

(ii)  a county commissioners court in the state;

(iii)  a municipal governing body in the state;

(iv)  a deliberative body that has rulemaking or quasi-judicial power and that is classified as a department, agency, or political subdivision of a county or municipality;

(v)  a school district board of trustees;

(vi)  a county board of school trustees;

(vii)  a county board of education;

(viii)  the governing board of a special district;

(ix)  the governing body of a nonprofit corporation organized under Chapter 67, Water Code, that provides a water supply or wastewater service, or both, and is exempt from ad valorem taxation under Section 11.30, Tax Code;

(x)  a local workforce development board created under Section 2308.253;

(xi)  a nonprofit corporation that is eligible to receive funds under the federal community services block grant program and that is authorized by this state to serve a geographic area of the state; and

(xii)  the part, section, or portion of an organization, corporation, commission, committee, institution, or agency that spends or that is supported in whole or in part by public funds; and

(B)  does not include the judiciary.

(2)  "Manipulation" means the process of modifying, reordering, or decoding of information with human intervention.

(3)  "Processing" means the execution of a sequence of coded instructions by a computer producing a result.

(4)  "Programming" means the process of producing a sequence of coded instructions that can be executed by a computer.

(5)  "Public funds" means funds of the state or of a governmental subdivision of the state.

(6)  "Requestor" means a person who submits a request to a governmental body for inspection or copies of public information.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 1035, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1995; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 62, Sec. 18.24, eff. Sept. 1, 1999; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 633, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 2001; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1004, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 2001; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1276, Sec. 9.014, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.



Section  552.0035.  Access To Information Of Judiciary.

(a) Access to information collected, assembled, or maintained by or for the judiciary is governed by rules adopted by the Supreme Court of Texas or by other applicable laws and rules.

(b)  This section does not address whether information is considered to be information collected, assembled, or maintained by or for the judiciary.

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1319, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.



Section 552.0036.  Certain Property Owners' Associations Subject To Law.

A property owners' association is subject to this chapter in the same manner as a governmental body:

(1)  if:

(A)  membership in the property owners' association is mandatory for owners or for a defined class of owners of private real property in a defined geographic area in a county with a population of 2.8 million or more or in a county adjacent to a county with a population of 2.8 million or more;

(B)  the property owners' association has the power to make mandatory special assessments for capital improvements or mandatory regular assessments;  and

(C)  the amount of the mandatory special or regular assessments is or has ever been based in whole or in part on the value at which the state or a local governmental body assesses the property for purposes of ad valorem taxation under Section 20, Article VIII, Texas Constitution; or

(2)  if the property owners' association:

(A)  provides maintenance, preservation, and architectural control of residential and commercial property within a defined geographic area in a county with a population of 2.8 million or more or in a county adjacent to a county with a population of 2.8 million or more; and

(B)  is a corporation that:

(i)  is governed by a board of trustees who may employ a general manager to execute the association's bylaws and administer the business of the corporation;

(ii)  does not require membership in the corporation by the owners of the property within the defined area; and

(iii)  was incorporated before January 1, 2006.

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1084, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1999. Renumbered from Sec. 552.0035 by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1420, Sec. 21.001(51), eff. Sept. 1, 2001.

Amended by:

Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1367, Sec. 2, eff. September 1, 2007.



Section 552.0037.  Certain Entities Authorized To Take Property Through Eminent Domain.

Notwithstanding any other law, information collected, assembled, or maintained by an entity that is not a governmental body but is authorized by law to take private property through the use of eminent domain is subject to this chapter in the same manner as information collected, assembled, or maintained by a governmental body, but only if the information is related to the taking of private property by the entity through the use of eminent domain.

Added by Acts 2005, 79th Leg., 2nd C.S., Ch. 1, Sec. 2, eff. November 18, 2005.



Section  552.004.  Preservation Of Information.

A governmental body or, for information of an elective county office, the elected county officer, may determine a time for which information that is not currently in use will be preserved, subject to any applicable rule or law governing the destruction and other disposition of state and local government records or public information.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 1035, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.



Section  552.005.  Effect Of Chapter On Scope Of Civil Discovery.

(a) This chapter does not affect the scope of civil discovery under the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure.

(b)  Exceptions from disclosure under this chapter do not create new privileges from discovery.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993.



Section  552.0055.  Subpoena Duces Tecum Or Discovery Request.

A subpoena duces tecum or a request for discovery that is issued in compliance with a statute or a rule of civil or criminal procedure is not considered to be a request for information under this chapter.

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1319, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.



Section  552.006.  Effect Of Chapter On Withholding Public Information.

This chapter does not authorize the withholding of public information or limit the availability of public information to the public, except as expressly provided by this chapter.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 1035, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.



Section  552.007.  Voluntary Disclosure Of Certain Information When Disclosure Not Required.

(a) This chapter does not prohibit a governmental body or its officer for public information from voluntarily making part or all of its information available to the public, unless the disclosure is expressly prohibited by law or the information is confidential under law.

(b)  Public information made available under Subsection (a) must be made available to any person.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 1035, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.



Section  552.008.  Information For Legislative Purposes.

(a) This chapter does not grant authority to withhold information from individual members, agencies, or committees of the legislature to use for legislative purposes.

(b)  A governmental body on request by an individual member, agency, or committee of the legislature shall provide public information, including confidential information, to the requesting member, agency, or committee for inspection or duplication in accordance with this chapter if the requesting member, agency, or committee states that the public information is requested under this chapter for legislative purposes. A governmental body, by providing public information under this section that is confidential or otherwise excepted from required disclosure under law, does not waive or affect the confidentiality of the information for purposes of state or federal law or waive the right to assert exceptions to required disclosure of the information in the future. The governmental body may require the requesting individual member of the legislature, the requesting legislative agency or committee, or the members or employees of the requesting entity who will view or handle information that is received under this section and that is confidential under law to sign a confidentiality agreement that covers the information and requires that:

(1)  the information not be disclosed outside the requesting entity, or within the requesting entity for purposes other than the purpose for which it was received;

(2)  the information be labeled as confidential;

(3)  the information be kept securely; or

(4)  the number of copies made of the information or the notes taken from the information that implicate the confidential nature of the information be controlled, with all copies or notes that are not destroyed or returned to the governmental body remaining confidential and subject to the confidentiality agreement.

(b-1)  A member, committee, or agency of the legislature required by a governmental body to sign a confidentiality agreement under Subsection (b) may seek a decision as provided by Subsection (b-2) about whether the information covered by the confidentiality agreement is confidential under law.  A confidentiality agreement signed under Subsection (b) is void to the extent that the agreement covers information that is finally determined under Subsection (b-2) to not be confidential under law.

(b-2)  The member, committee, or agency of the legislature may seek a decision from the attorney general about the matter.  The attorney general by rule shall establish procedures and deadlines for receiving information necessary to decide the matter and briefs from the requestor, the governmental body, and any other interested person.  The attorney general shall promptly render a decision requested under this subsection, determining whether the information covered by the confidentiality agreement is confidential under law, not later than the 45th business day after the date the attorney general received the request for a decision under this subsection.  The attorney general shall issue a written decision on the matter and provide a copy of the decision to the requestor, the governmental body, and any interested person who submitted necessary information or a brief to the attorney general about the matter.  The requestor or the governmental body may appeal a decision of the attorney general under this subsection to a Travis County district court.  A person may appeal a decision of the attorney general under this subsection to a Travis County district court if the person claims a proprietary interest in the information affected by the decision or a privacy interest in the information that a confidentiality law or judicial decision is designed to protect.

(c)  This section does not affect:

(1)  the right of an individual member, agency, or committee of the legislature to obtain information from a governmental body under other law, including under the rules of either house of the legislature;

(2)  the procedures under which the information is obtained under other law; or

(3)  the use that may be made of the information obtained under other law.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 1035, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.

Amended by:

Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 1364, Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2010.

Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 1377, Sec. 2, eff. September 1, 2010.



Section 552.009.  Open Records Steering Committee:  Advice To Attorney General; Electronic Availability Of Public Information.

(a) The open records steering committee is composed of two representatives of the attorney general's office and:

(1)  a representative of each of the following, appointed by its governing entity:

(A)  the comptroller's office;

(B)  the Department of Public Safety;

(C)  the Department of Information Resources; and

(D)  the Texas State Library and Archives Commission;

(2)  five public members, appointed by the attorney general; and

(3)  a representative of each of the following types of local governments, appointed by the attorney general:

(A)  a municipality;

(B)  a county; and

(C)  a school district.

 

Text of subsection as amended by Acts 2005, 79th Leg., R.S., Ch. 329, Sec. 1

 

(b)  The representative of the attorney general designated by the attorney general is the presiding officer of the committee.  The committee shall meet as prescribed by committee procedures or at the call of the presiding officer.

 

Text of subsection as amended by Acts 2005, 79th Leg., R.S., Ch. 716, Sec. 1

 

(b)  The representative of the attorney general is the presiding officer of the committee.  The committee shall meet as prescribed by committee procedures or at the call of the presiding officer.

(c)  The committee shall advise the attorney general regarding the office of the attorney general's performance of its duties under Sections 552.010, 552.205, 552.262, 552.269, and 552.274.

(d)  The members of the committee who represent state governmental bodies and the public members of the committee shall periodically study and determine the types of public information for which it would be useful to the public or cost-effective for the government if the type of information were made available by state governmental bodies by means of the Internet or another electronic format. The committee shall report its findings and recommendations to the governor, the presiding officer of each house of the legislature, and the budget committee and state affairs committee of each house of the legislature.

(e)  Chapter 2110 does not apply to the size, composition, or duration of the committee. Chapter 2110 applies to the reimbursement of a public member's expenses related to service on the committee. Any reimbursement of the expenses of a member who represents a state or local governmental body may be paid only from funds available to the state or local governmental body the member represents.

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1319, Sec. 3, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.

Amended by:

Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 329, Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2005.

Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 716, Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2005.

Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 937, Sec. 3.06, eff. September 1, 2007.

Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 1377, Sec. 3, eff. September 1, 2009.



Section 552.010.  State Governmental Bodies:  Fiscal And Other Information Relating To Making Information Accessible.

(a) Each state governmental body shall report to the attorney general the information the attorney general requires regarding:

(1)  the number and nature of requests for information the state governmental body processes under this chapter in the period covered by the report; and

(2)  the cost to the state governmental body in that period in terms of capital expenditures and personnel time of:

(A)  responding to requests for information under this chapter; and

(B)  making information available to the public by means of the Internet or another electronic format.

(b)  The attorney general shall design and phase in the reporting requirements in a way that:

(1)  minimizes the reporting burden on state governmental bodies; and

(2)  allows the legislature and state governmental bodies to estimate the extent to which it is cost-effective for state government, and if possible the extent to which it is cost-effective or useful for members of the public, to make information available to the public by means of the Internet or another electronic format as a supplement or alternative to publicizing the information only in other ways or making the information available only in response to requests made under this chapter.

(c)  The attorney general shall share the information reported under this section with the open records steering committee.

Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., 3rd C.S., ch. 3, Sec. 27.01, eff. Jan. 11, 2004.

Amended by:

Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 329, Sec. 2, eff. September 1, 2005.

Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 716, Sec. 2, eff. September 1, 2005.



Section  552.011.  Uniformity.

The attorney general shall maintain uniformity in the application, operation, and interpretation of this chapter. To perform this duty, the attorney general may prepare, distribute, and publish any materials, including detailed and comprehensive written decisions and opinions, that relate to or are based on this chapter.

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1319, Sec. 4, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.



Section 552.012.  Open Records Training.

(a) This section applies to an elected or appointed public official who is:

(1)  a member of a multimember governmental body;

(2)  the governing officer of a governmental body that is headed by a single officer rather than by a multimember governing body; or

(3)  the officer for public information of a governmental body, without regard to whether the officer is elected or appointed to a specific term.

(b)  Each public official shall complete a course of training of not less than one and not more than two hours regarding the responsibilities of the governmental body with which the official serves and its officers and employees under this chapter not later than the 90th day after the date the public official:

(1)  takes the oath of office, if the person is required to take an oath of office to assume the person's duties as a public official; or

(2)  otherwise assumes the person's duties as a public official, if the person is not required to take an oath of office to assume the person's duties.

(c)  A public official may designate a public information coordinator to satisfy the training requirements of this section for the public official if the public information coordinator is primarily responsible for administering the responsibilities of the public official or governmental body under this chapter.  Designation of a public information coordinator under this subsection does not relieve a public official from the duty to comply with any other requirement of this chapter that applies to the public official.  The designated public information coordinator shall complete the training course regarding the responsibilities of the governmental body with which the coordinator serves and of its officers and employees under this chapter not later than the 90th day after the date the coordinator assumes the person's duties as coordinator.

(d)  The attorney general shall ensure that the training is made available.  The office of the attorney general may provide the training and may also approve any acceptable course of training offered by a governmental body or other entity.  The attorney general shall ensure that at least one course of training approved or provided by the attorney general is available on videotape or a functionally similar and widely available medium at no cost.  The training must include instruction in:

(1)  the general background of the legal requirements for open records and public information;

(2)  the applicability of this chapter to governmental bodies;

(3)  procedures and requirements regarding complying with a request for information under this chapter;

(4)  the role of the attorney general under this chapter; and

(5)  penalties and other consequences for failure to comply with this chapter.

(e)  The office of the attorney general or other entity providing the training shall provide a certificate of course completion to persons who complete the training required by this section.  A governmental body shall maintain and make available for public inspection the record of its public officials' or, if applicable, the public information coordinator's completion of the training.

(f)  Completing the required training as a public official of the governmental body satisfies the requirements of this section with regard to the public official's service on a committee or subcommittee of the governmental body and the public official's ex officio service on any other governmental body.

(g)  The training required by this section may be used to satisfy any corresponding training requirements concerning this chapter or open records required by law for a public official or public information coordinator.  The attorney general shall attempt to coordinate the training required by this section with training required by other law to the extent practicable.

(h)  A certificate of course completion is admissible as evidence in a criminal prosecution under this chapter.  However, evidence that a defendant completed a course of training offered under this section is not prima facie evidence that the defendant knowingly violated this chapter.

Added by Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 105, Sec. 2, eff. January 1, 2006.



Subchapter B. Right Of Access To Public Information

Section  552.021.  Availability Of Public Information.

Public information is available to the public at a minimum during the normal business hours of the governmental body.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 1035, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.



Section  552.022.  Categories Of Public Information; Examples.

(a) Without limiting the amount or kind of information that is public information under this chapter, the following categories of information are public information and not excepted from required disclosure under this chapter unless they are expressly confidential under other law:

(1)  a completed report, audit, evaluation, or investigation made of, for, or by a governmental body, except as provided by Section 552.108;

(2)  the name, sex, ethnicity, salary, title, and dates of employment of each employee and officer of a governmental body;

(3)  information in an account, voucher, or contract relating to the receipt or expenditure of public or other funds by a governmental body;

(4)  the name of each official and the final record of voting on all proceedings in a governmental body;

(5)  all working papers, research material, and information used to estimate the need for or expenditure of public funds or taxes by a governmental body, on completion of the estimate;

(6)  the name, place of business, and the name of the municipality to which local sales and use taxes are credited, if any, for the named person, of a person reporting or paying sales and use taxes under Chapter 151, Tax Code;

(7)  a description of an agency's central and field organizations, including:

(A)  the established places at which the public may obtain information, submit information or requests, or obtain decisions;

(B)  the employees from whom the public may obtain information, submit information or requests, or obtain decisions;

(C)  in the case of a uniformed service, the members from whom the public may obtain information, submit information or requests, or obtain decisions; and

(D)  the methods by which the public may obtain information, submit information or requests, or obtain decisions;

(8)  a statement of the general course and method by which an agency's functions are channeled and determined, including the nature and requirements of all formal and informal policies and procedures;

(9)  a rule of procedure, a description of forms available or the places at which forms may be obtained, and instructions relating to the scope and content of all papers, reports, or examinations;

(10)  a substantive rule of general applicability adopted or issued by an agency as authorized by law, and a statement of general policy or interpretation of general applicability formulated and adopted by an agency;

(11)  each amendment, revision, or repeal of information described by Subdivisions (7)-(10);

(12)  final opinions, including concurring and dissenting opinions, and orders issued in the adjudication of cases;

(13)  a policy statement or interpretation that has been adopted or issued by an agency;

(14)  administrative staff manuals and instructions to staff that affect a member of the public;

(15)  information regarded as open to the public under an agency's policies;

(16)  information that is in a bill for attorney's fees and that is not privileged under the attorney-client privilege;

(17)  information that is also contained in a public court record; and

(18)  a settlement agreement to which a governmental body is a party.

(b)  A court in this state may not order a governmental body or an officer for public information to withhold from public inspection any category of public information described by Subsection (a) or to not produce the category of public information for inspection or duplication, unless the category of information is expressly made confidential under other law.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 1035, Sec. 3, eff. Sept. 1, 1995; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1319, Sec. 5, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.



Section 552.0221.  Employee Or Trustee Of Public Employee Pension System.

(a) Information concerning the employment of an employee of a public employee pension system is public information under the terms of this chapter, including information concerning the income, salary, benefits, and bonuses received from the pension system by the employee in the person's capacity as an employee of the system, and is not removed from the application of this chapter, made confidential, or otherwise excepted from the requirements of Section 552.021 by any statute intended to protect the records of persons as members, beneficiaries, or retirees of a public employee pension system in their capacity as such.

(b)  Information concerning the service of a trustee of a public employee pension system is public information under the terms of this chapter, including information concerning the income, salary, benefits, and bonuses received from the pension system by the trustee in the person's capacity as a trustee of the system, and is not removed from the application of this chapter, made confidential, or otherwise excepted from the requirements of Section 552.021 by any statute intended to protect the records of persons as members, beneficiaries, or retirees of a public employee pension system in their capacity as such.

(c)  Information subject to Subsections (a) and (b) must be released only to the extent the information is not excepted from required disclosure under this subchapter or Subchapter C.

(d)  For purposes of this section, "benefits" does not include pension benefits provided to an individual by a pension system under the statutory plan covering the individual as a member, beneficiary, or retiree of the pension system.

Added by Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 58, Sec. 1, eff. May 19, 2009.



Section 552.0225.  Right Of Access To Investment Information.

(a) Under the fundamental philosophy of American government described by Section 552.001, it is the policy of this state that investments of government are investments of and for the people and the people are entitled to information regarding those investments.  The provisions of this section shall be liberally construed to implement this policy.

(b)  The following categories of information held by a governmental body relating to its investments are public information and not excepted from disclosure under this chapter:

(1)  the name of any fund or investment entity the governmental body is or has invested in;

(2)  the date that a fund or investment entity described by Subdivision (1) was established;

(3)  each date the governmental body invested in a fund or investment entity described by Subdivision (1);

(4)  the amount of money, expressed in dollars, the governmental body has committed to a fund or investment entity;

(5)  the amount of money, expressed in dollars, the governmental body is investing or has invested in any fund or investment entity;

(6)  the total amount of money, expressed in dollars, the governmental body received from any fund or investment entity in connection with an investment;

(7)  the internal rate of return or other standard used by a governmental body in connection with each fund or investment entity it is or has invested in and the date on which the return or other standard was calculated;

(8)  the remaining value of any fund or investment entity the governmental body is or has invested in;

(9)  the total amount of fees, including expenses, charges, and other compensation, assessed against the governmental body by, or paid by the governmental body to, any fund or investment entity or principal of any fund or investment entity in which the governmental body is or has invested;

(10)  the names of the principals responsible for managing any fund or investment entity in which the governmental body is or has invested;

(11)  each recusal filed by a member of the governing board in connection with a deliberation or action of the governmental body relating to an investment;

(12)  a description of all of the types of businesses a governmental body is or has invested in through a fund or investment entity;

(13)  the minutes and audio or video recordings of each open portion of a meeting of the governmental body at which an item described by this subsection was discussed;

(14)  the governmental body's percentage ownership interest in a fund or investment entity the governmental body is or has invested in;

(15)  any annual ethics disclosure report submitted to the governmental body by a fund or investment entity the governmental body is or has invested in; and

(16)  the cash-on-cash return realized by the governmental body for a fund or investment entity the governmental body is or has invested in.

(c)  This section does not apply to the Texas Mutual Insurance Company or a successor to the company.

(d)  This section does not apply to a private investment fund's investment in restricted securities, as defined in Section 552.143.

Added by Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 1338, Sec. 1, eff. June 18, 2005.



Section  552.023.  Special Right Of Access To Confidential Information.

(a) A person or a person's authorized representative has a special right of access, beyond the right of the general public, to information held by a governmental body that relates to the person and that is protected from public disclosure by laws intended to protect that person's privacy interests.

(b)  A governmental body may not deny access to information to the person, or the person's representative, to whom the information relates on the grounds that the information is considered confidential by privacy principles under this chapter but may assert as grounds for denial of access other provisions of this chapter or other law that are not intended to protect the person's privacy interests.

(c)  A release of information under Subsections (a) and (b) is not an offense under Section 552.352.

(d)  A person who receives information under this section may disclose the information to others only to the extent consistent with the authorized purposes for which consent to release the information was obtained.

(e)  Access to information under this section shall be provided in the manner prescribed by Sections 552.229 and 552.307.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 1035, Sec. 4, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.



Section  552.024.  Electing To Disclose Address And Telephone Number.

(a) Each employee or official of a governmental body and each former employee or official of a governmental body shall choose whether to allow public access to the information in the custody of the governmental body that relates to the person's home address, home telephone number, or social security number, or that reveals whether the person has family members.

(b)  Each employee and official and each former employee and official shall state that person's choice under Subsection (a) to the main personnel officer of the governmental body in a signed writing not later than the 14th day after the date on which:

(1)  the employee begins employment with the governmental body;

(2)  the official is elected or appointed; or

(3)  the former employee or official ends service with the governmental body.

(c)  If the employee or official or former employee or official chooses not to allow public access to the information:

(1)  the information is protected under Subchapter C; and

(2)  the governmental body may redact the information from any information the governmental body discloses under Section 552.021 without the necessity of requesting a decision from the attorney general under Subchapter G.

(c-1)  If, under Subsection (c)(2), a governmental body redacts or withholds information without requesting a decision from the attorney general about whether the information may be redacted or withheld, the requestor is entitled to seek a decision from the attorney general about the matter.  The attorney general by rule shall establish procedures and deadlines for receiving information necessary to decide the matter and briefs from the requestor, the governmental body, and any other interested person.  The attorney general shall promptly render a decision requested under this subsection, determining whether the redacted or withheld information was excepted from required disclosure to the requestor, not later than the 45th business day after the date the attorney general received the request for a decision under this subsection.  The attorney general shall issue a written decision on the matter and provide a copy of the decision to the requestor, the governmental body, and any interested person who submitted necessary information or a brief to the attorney general about the matter.  The requestor or the governmental body may appeal a decision of the attorney general under this subsection to a Travis County district court.

(c-2)  A governmental body that redacts or withholds information under Subsection (c)(2) shall provide the following information to the requestor on a form prescribed by the attorney general:

(1)  a description of the redacted or withheld information;

(2)  a citation to this section; and

(3)  instructions regarding how the requestor may seek a decision from the attorney general regarding whether the redacted or withheld information is excepted from required disclosure.

(d)  If an employee or official or a former employee or official fails to state the person's choice within the period established by this section, the information is subject to public access.

(e)  An employee or official or former employee or official of a governmental body who wishes to close or open public access to the information may request in writing that the main personnel officer of the governmental body close or open access.

(f)  This section does not apply to a person to whom Section 552.1175 applies.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 1035, Sec. 5, eff. Sept. 1, 1995; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 119, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 2001.

Amended by:

Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 283, Sec. 1, eff. June 4, 2009.



Section  552.025.  Tax Rulings And Opinions.

(a) A governmental body with taxing authority that issues a written determination letter, technical advice memorandum, or ruling that concerns a tax matter shall index the letter, memorandum, or ruling by subject matter.

(b)  On request, the governmental body shall make the index prepared under Subsection (a) and the document itself available to the public, subject to the provisions of this chapter.

(c)  Subchapter C does not authorize withholding from the public or limiting the availability to the public of a written determination letter, technical advice memorandum, or ruling that concerns a tax matter and that is issued by a governmental body with taxing authority.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993.



Section  552.026.  Education Records. This Chapter Does No

t require the release of information contained in education records of an educational agency or institution, except in conformity with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, Sec. 513, Pub. L. No. 93-380, 20 U.S.C. Sec. 1232g.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993.



Section  552.027.  Exception: Information Available Commercially; Resource Material.

(a) A governmental body is not required under this chapter to allow the inspection of or to provide a copy of information in a commercial book or publication purchased or acquired by the governmental body for research purposes if the book or publication is commercially available to the public.

(b)  Although information in a book or publication may be made available to the public as a resource material, such as a library book, a governmental body is not required to make a copy of the information in response to a request for public information.

(c)  A governmental body shall allow the inspection of information in a book or publication that is made part of, incorporated into, or referred to in a rule or policy of a governmental body.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 1035, Sec. 12, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.



Section  552.028.  Request For Information From Incarcerated Individual.

(a) A governmental body is not required to accept or comply with a request for information from:

(1)  an individual who is imprisoned or confined in a correctional facility; or

(2)  an agent of that individual, other than that individual's attorney when the attorney is requesting information that is subject to disclosure under this chapter.

(b)  This section does not prohibit a governmental body from disclosing to an individual described by Subsection (a)(1), or that individual's agent, information held by the governmental body pertaining to that individual.

(c)  In this section, "correctional facility" means:

(1)  a secure correctional facility, as defined by Section 1.07, Penal Code;

(2)  a secure correctional facility and a secure detention facility, as defined by Section 51.02, Family Code; and

(3)  a place designated by the law of this state, another state, or the federal government for the confinement of a person arrested for, charged with, or convicted of a criminal offense.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 302, Sec. 1, eff. June 5, 1995. Renumbered from Government Code Sec. 552.027 by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 31.01(44), eff. Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1231, Sec. 6, eff. Sept. 1, 1997. Amended by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 154, Sec. 1, eff. May 21, 1999; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 735, Sec. 1, eff. June 13, 2001; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 283, Sec. 45, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.



Section 552.029.  Right Of Access To Certain Information Relating To Inmate Of Department Of Criminal Justice. Not

withstanding Section 508.313 or 552.134, the following information about an inmate who is confined in a facility operated by or under a contract with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice is subject to required disclosure under Section 552.021:

(1)  the inmate's name, identification number, age, birthplace, department photograph, physical description, or general state of health or the nature of an injury to or critical illness suffered by the inmate;

(2)  the inmate's assigned unit or the date on which the unit received the inmate, unless disclosure of the information would violate federal law relating to the confidentiality of substance abuse treatment;

(3)  the offense for which the inmate was convicted or the judgment and sentence for that offense;

(4)  the county and court in which the inmate was convicted;

(5)  the inmate's earliest or latest possible release dates;

(6)  the inmate's parole date or earliest possible parole date;

(7)  any prior confinement of the inmate by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice or its predecessor;  or

(8)  basic information regarding the death of an inmate in custody, an incident involving the use of force, or an alleged crime involving the inmate.

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 783, Sec. 2, eff. Aug. 30, 1999; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1420, Sec. 21.002(7), eff. Sept. 1, 2001.

Amended by:

Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 1271, Sec. 1, eff. June 18, 2005.



Subchapter C. Information Excepted From Required Disclosure

Section  552.101.  Exception: Confidential Information.

Information is excepted from the requirements of Section 552.021 if it is information considered to be confidential by law, either constitutional, statutory, or by judicial decision.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993.



Section  552.102.  Exception: Personnel Information. (a)

Information is excepted from the requirements of Section 552.021 if it is information in a personnel file, the disclosure of which would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy, except that all information in the personnel file of an employee of a governmental body is to be made available to that employee or the employee's designated representative as public information is made available under this chapter. The exception to public disclosure created by this subsection is in addition to any exception created by Section 552.024. Public access to personnel information covered by Section 552.024 is denied to the extent provided by that section.

(b)  Information is excepted from the requirements of Section 552.021 if it is a transcript from an institution of higher education maintained in the personnel file of a professional public school employee, except that this section does not exempt from disclosure the degree obtained or the curriculum on a transcript in the personnel file of the employee.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 1035, Sec. 6, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.



Section  552.103.  Exception: Litigation Or Settlement Negotiations Involving The State Or A Political Subdivision.

(a) Information is excepted from the requirements of Section 552.021 if it is information relating to litigation of a civil or criminal nature to which the state or a political subdivision is or may be a party or to which an officer or employee of the state or a political subdivision, as a consequence of the person's office or employment, is or may be a party.

(b)  For purposes of this section, the state or a political subdivision is considered to be a party to litigation of a criminal nature until the applicable statute of limitations has expired or until the defendant has exhausted all appellate and postconviction remedies in state and federal court.

(c)  Information relating to litigation involving a governmental body or an officer or employee of a governmental body is excepted from disclosure under Subsection (a) only if the litigation is pending or reasonably anticipated on the date that the requestor applies to the officer for public information for access to or duplication of the information.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993. Amended by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1319, Sec. 6, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.



Section  552.104.  Exception: Information Related To Competition Or Bidding.

(a) Information is excepted from the requirements of Section 552.021 if it is information that, if released, would give advantage to a competitor or bidder.

(b)  The requirement of Section 552.022 that a category of information listed under Section 552.022(a) is public information and not excepted from required disclosure under this chapter unless expressly confidential under law does not apply to information that is excepted from required disclosure under this section.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993. Amended by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1272, Sec. 7.01, eff. June 15, 2001.



Section  552.105.  Exception: Information Related To Location Or Price Of Property.

Information is excepted from the requirements of Section 552.021 if it is information relating to:

(1)  the location of real or personal property for a public purpose prior to public announcement of the project; or

(2)  appraisals or purchase price of real or personal property for a public purpose prior to the formal award of contracts for the property.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993.



Section  552.106.  Exception: Certain Legislative Documents. (a)

A draft or working paper involved in the preparation of proposed legislation is excepted from the requirements of Section 552.021.

(b)  An internal bill analysis or working paper prepared by the governor's office for the purpose of evaluating proposed legislation is excepted from the requirements of Section 552.021.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1437, Sec. 1, eff. June 20, 1997.



Section 552.107.  Exception:  Certain Legal Matters.

Information is excepted from the requirements of Section 552.021 if:

(1)  it is information that the attorney general or an attorney of a political subdivision is prohibited from disclosing because of a duty to the client under the Texas Rules of Evidence or the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct; or

(2)  a court by order has prohibited disclosure of the information.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 1035, Sec. 7, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.

Amended by:

Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 728, Sec. 8.014, eff. September 1, 2005.



Section 552.108.  Exception:  Certain Law Enforcement, Corrections, And Prosecutorial Information.

(a) Information held by a law enforcement agency or prosecutor that deals with the detection, investigation, or prosecution of crime is excepted from the requirements of Section 552.021 if:

(1)  release of the information would interfere with the detection, investigation, or prosecution of crime;

(2)  it is information that deals with the detection, investigation, or prosecution of crime only in relation to an investigation that did not result in conviction or deferred adjudication;

(3)  it is information relating to a threat against a peace officer or detention officer collected or disseminated under Section 411.048; or

(4)  it is information that:

(A)  is prepared by an attorney representing the state in anticipation of or in the course of preparing for criminal litigation; or

(B)  reflects the mental impressions or legal reasoning of an attorney representing the state.

(b)  An internal record or notation of a law enforcement agency or prosecutor that is maintained for internal use in matters relating to law enforcement or prosecution is excepted from the requirements of Section 552.021 if:

(1)  release of the internal record or notation would interfere with law enforcement or prosecution;

(2)  the internal record or notation relates to law enforcement only in relation to an investigation that did not result in conviction or deferred adjudication; or

(3)  the internal record or notation:

(A)  is prepared by an attorney representing the state in anticipation of or in the course of preparing for criminal litigation; or

(B)  reflects the mental impressions or legal reasoning of an attorney representing the state.

(c)  This section does not except from the requirements of Section 552.021 information that is basic information about an arrested person, an arrest, or a crime.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 1035, Sec. 7, eff. Sept. 1, 1995; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1231, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 474, Sec. 6, eff. Sept. 1, 2001.

Amended by:

Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 557, Sec. 3, eff. September 1, 2005.

Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 557, Sec. 4, eff. September 1, 2005.



Section  552.109.  Exception: Certain Private Communications Of An Elected Office Holder. Pri

vate correspondence or communications of an elected office holder relating to matters the disclosure of which would constitute an invasion of privacy are excepted from the requirements of Section 552.021.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993.



Section  552.110.  Exception: Trade Secrets; Certain Commercial Or Financial Information. (a)

A trade secret obtained from a person and privileged or confidential by statute or judicial decision is excepted from the requirements of Section 552.021.

(b)  Commercial or financial information for which it is demonstrated based on specific factual evidence that disclosure would cause substantial competitive harm to the person from whom the information was obtained is excepted from the requirements of Section 552.021.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993. Amended by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1319, Sec. 7, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.



Section  552.111.  Exception: Agency Memoranda. An

interagency or intraagency memorandum or letter that would not be available by law to a party in litigation with the agency is excepted from the requirements of Section 552.021.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993.



Section  552.112.  Exception: Certain Information Relating To Regulation Of Financial Institutions Or Securities.

(a) Information is excepted from the requirements of Section 552.021 if it is information contained in or relating to examination, operating, or condition reports prepared by or for an agency responsible for the regulation or supervision of financial institutions or securities, or both.

(b)  In this section, "securities" has the meaning assigned by The Securities Act (Article 581-1 et seq., Vernon's Texas Civil Statutes).

(c)  Information is excepted from the requirements of Section 552.021 if it is information submitted by an individual or other entity to the Texas Legislative Council, or to any state agency or department overseen by the Finance Commission of Texas and the information has been or will be sent to the Texas Legislative Council, for the purpose of performing a statistical or demographic analysis of information subject to Section 323.020. However, this subsection does not except from the requirements of Section 552.021 information that does not identify or tend to identify an individual or other entity and that is subject to required public disclosure under Section 323.020(e).

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993. Amended by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 918, Sec. 2, eff. June 20, 2003.



Section  552.113.  Exception: Geological Or Geophysical Information.

(a) Information is excepted from the requirements of Section 552.021 if it is:

(1)  an electric log confidential under Subchapter M, Chapter 91, Natural Resources Code;

(2)  geological or geophysical information or data, including maps concerning wells, except information filed in connection with an application or proceeding before an agency; or

(3)  confidential under Subsections (c) through (f).

(b)  Information that is shown to or examined by an employee of the General Land Office, but not retained in the land office, is not considered to be filed with the land office.

(c)  In this section:

(1)  "Confidential material" includes all well logs, geological, geophysical, geochemical, and other similar data, including maps and other interpretations of the material filed in the General Land Office:

(A)  in connection with any administrative application or proceeding before the land commissioner, the school land board, any board for lease, or the commissioner's or board's staff; or

(B)  in compliance with the requirements of any law, rule, lease, or agreement.

(2)  "Basic electric logs" has the same meaning as it has in Chapter 91, Natural Resources Code.

(3)  "Administrative applications" and "administrative proceedings" include applications for pooling or unitization, review of shut-in royalty payments, review of leases or other agreements to determine their validity, review of any plan of operations, review of the obligation to drill offset wells, or an application to pay compensatory royalty.

(d)  Confidential material, except basic electric logs, filed in the General Land Office on or after September 1, 1985, is public information and is available to the public under Section 552.021 on and after the later of:

(1)  five years from the filing date of the confidential material; or

(2)  one year from the expiration, termination, or forfeiture of the lease in connection with which the confidential material was filed.

(e)  Basic electric logs filed in the General Land Office on or after September 1, 1985, are either public information or confidential material to the same extent and for the same periods provided for the same logs by Chapter 91, Natural Resources Code. A person may request that a basic electric log that has been filed in the General Land Office be made confidential by filing with the land office a copy of the written request for confidentiality made to the Railroad Commission of Texas for the same log.

(f)  The following are public information:

(1)  basic electric logs filed in the General Land Office before September 1, 1985; and

(2)  confidential material, except basic electric logs, filed in the General Land Office before September 1, 1985, provided, that Subsection (d) governs the disclosure of that confidential material filed in connection with a lease that is a valid and subsisting lease on September 1, 1995.

(g)  Confidential material may be disclosed at any time if the person filing the material, or the person's successor in interest in the lease in connection with which the confidential material was filed, consents in writing to its release. A party consenting to the disclosure of confidential material may restrict the manner of disclosure and the person or persons to whom the disclosure may be made.

(h)  Notwithstanding the confidential nature of the material described in this section, the material may be used by the General Land Office in the enforcement, by administrative proceeding or litigation, of the laws governing the sale and lease of public lands and minerals, the regulations of the land office, the school land board, or of any board for lease, or the terms of any lease, pooling or unitization agreement, or any other agreement or grant.

(i)  An administrative hearings officer may order that confidential material introduced in an administrative proceeding remain confidential until the proceeding is finally concluded, or for the period provided in Subsection (d), whichever is later.

(j)  Confidential material examined by an administrative hearings officer during the course of an administrative proceeding for the purpose of determining its admissibility as evidence shall not be considered to have been filed in the General Land Office to the extent that the confidential material is not introduced into evidence at the proceeding.

(k)  This section does not prevent a person from asserting that any confidential material is exempt from disclosure as a trade secret or commercial information under Section 552.110 or under any other basis permitted by law.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 1035, Sec. 8, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.



Section  552.114.  Exception: Student Records.

(a) Information is excepted from the requirements of Section 552.021 if it is information in a student record at an educational institution funded wholly or partly by state revenue.

(b)  A record under Subsection (a) shall be made available on the request of:

(1)  educational institution personnel;

(2)  the student involved or the student's parent, legal guardian, or spouse; or

(3)  a person conducting a child abuse investigation required by Subchapter D, Chapter 261, Family Code.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 7.38, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.



Section  552.115.  Exception: Birth And Death Records.

(a) A birth or death record maintained by the bureau of vital statistics of the Texas Department of Health or a local registration official is excepted from the requirements of Section 552.021, except that:

(1)  a birth record is public information and available to the public on and after the 75th anniversary of the date of birth as shown on the record filed with the bureau of vital statistics or local registration official;

(2)  a death record is public information and available to the public on and after the 25th anniversary of the date of death as shown on the record filed with the bureau of vital statistics or local registration official;

(3)  a general birth index or a general death index established or maintained by the bureau of vital statistics or a local registration official is public information and available to the public to the extent the index relates to a birth record or death record that is public information and available to the public under Subdivision (1) or (2);

(4)  a summary birth index or a summary death index prepared or maintained by the bureau of vital statistics or a local registration official is public information and available to the public; and

(5)  a birth or death record is available to the chief executive officer of a home-rule municipality or the officer's designee if:

(A)  the record is used only to identify a property owner or other person to whom the municipality is required to give notice when enforcing a state statute or an ordinance;

(B)  the municipality has exercised due diligence in the manner described by Section 54.035(e), Local Government Code, to identify the person; and

(C)  the officer or designee signs a confidentiality agreement that requires that:

(i)  the information not be disclosed outside the office of the officer or designee, or within the office for a purpose other than the purpose described by Paragraph (A);

(ii)  the information be labeled as confidential;

(iii)  the information be kept securely; and

(iv)  the number of copies made of the information or the notes taken from the information that implicate the confidential nature of the information be controlled, with all copies or notes that are not destroyed or returned remaining confidential and subject to the confidentiality agreement.

(b)  Notwithstanding Subsection (a), a general birth index or a summary birth index is not public information and is not available to the public if:

(1)  the fact of an adoption or paternity determination can be revealed by the index; or

(2)  the index contains specific identifying information relating to the parents of a child who is the subject of an adoption placement.

(c)  Subsection (a)(1) does not apply to the microfilming agreement entered into by the Genealogical Society of Utah, a nonprofit corporation organized under the laws of the State of Utah, and the Archives and Information Services Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

(d)  For the purposes of fulfilling the terms of the agreement in Subsection (c), the Genealogical Society of Utah shall have access to birth records on and after the 50th anniversary of the date of birth as shown on the record filed with the bureau of vital statistics or local registration official, but such birth records shall not be made available to the public until the 75th anniversary of the date of birth as shown on the record.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993. Amended by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 706, Sec. 1, eff. Aug. 30, 1999; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 413, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 2001; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1192, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.



Section  552.116.  Exception: Audit Working Papers. (a)

An audit working paper of an audit of the state auditor or the auditor of a state agency, an institution of higher education as defined by Section 61.003, Education Code, a county, a municipality, a school district, or a joint board operating under  Section 22.074, Transportation Code, including any audit relating to the criminal history background check of a public school employee, is excepted from the requirements of Section 552.021.  If information in an audit working paper is also maintained in another record, that other record is not excepted from the requirements of  Section 552.021 by this section.

(b)  In this section:

(1)  "Audit" means an audit authorized or required by a statute of this state or the United States, the charter or an ordinance of a municipality, an order of the commissioners court of a county, a resolution or other action of a board of trustees of a school district, including an audit by the district relating to the criminal history background check of a public school employee, or a resolution or other action of a joint board described by Subsection (a) and includes an investigation.

(2)  "Audit working paper" includes all information, documentary or otherwise, prepared or maintained in conducting an audit or preparing an audit report, including:

(A)  intra-agency and interagency communications; and

(B)  drafts of the audit report or portions of those drafts.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1122, Sec. 10, eff. Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1319, Sec. 8, eff. Sept. 1, 1999; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 379, Sec. 1, eff. June 18, 2003.

Amended by:

Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 202, Sec. 1, eff. May 27, 2005.

Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 202, Sec. 2, eff. May 27, 2005.

Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1372, Sec. 24, eff. June 15, 2007.

Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1372, Sec. 25, eff. June 15, 2007.



Section  552.117.  Exception: Certain Addresses, Telephone Numbers, Social Security Numbers, And Personal Family Information.

(a) Information is excepted from the requirements of  Section 552.021 if it is information that relates to the home address, home telephone number, or social security number of the following person or that reveals whether the person has family members:

(1)  a current or former official or employee of a governmental body, except as otherwise provided by  Section 552.024;

(2)  a peace officer as defined by  Article 2.12, Code of Criminal Procedure, or a security officer commissioned under  Section 51.212, Education Code, regardless of whether the officer complies with  Section 552.024 or  552.1175, as applicable;

(3)  a current or former employee of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice or of the predecessor in function of the department or any division of the department, regardless of whether the current or former employee complies with  Section 552.1175;

(4)  a peace officer as defined by  Article 2.12, Code of Criminal Procedure, or other law, a reserve law enforcement officer, a commissioned deputy game warden, or a corrections officer in a municipal, county, or state penal institution in this state who was killed in the line of duty, regardless of whether the deceased complied with  Section 552.024 or  552.1175;

(5)  a commissioned security officer as defined by  Section 1702.002, Occupations Code, regardless of whether the officer complies with  Section 552.024 or  552.1175, as applicable; or

(6)  an officer or employee of a community supervision and corrections department established under Chapter 76 who performs a duty described by Section 76.004(b), regardless of whether the officer or employee complies with Section 552.024 or 552.1175.

(b)  All documents filed with a county clerk and all documents filed with a district clerk are exempt from this section.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 1035, Sec. 9, eff. Sept. 1, 1995; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 512, Sec. 1, eff. May 31, 1997; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1318, Sec. 1, eff. June 18, 1999; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 119, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 2001; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 947, Sec. 1, eff. June 20, 2003.

Amended by:

Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 621, Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2007.



Section 552.1175.  Confidentiality Of Addresses, Telephone Numbers, Social Security Numbers, And Personal Family Information Of Peace Officers, County Jailers, Security Officers, And Employees Of The Texas Department Of Criminal Justice Or A Prosecutor's Office.

(a) This section applies only to:

(1)  peace officers as defined by Article 2.12, Code of Criminal Procedure;

(2)  county jailers as defined by Section 1701.001, Occupations Code;

(3)  current or former employees of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice or of the predecessor in function of the department or any division of the department;

(4)  commissioned security officers as defined by Section 1702.002, Occupations Code;

(5)  employees of a district attorney, criminal district attorney, or county or municipal attorney whose jurisdiction includes any criminal law or child protective services matters;

(6)  officers and employees of a community supervision and corrections department established under Chapter 76 who perform a duty described by Section 76.004(b);

(7)  criminal investigators of the United States as described by Article 2.122(a), Code of Criminal Procedure; and

(8)  police officers and inspectors of the United States Federal Protective Service.

(b)  Information that relates to the home address, home telephone number, or social security number of an individual to whom this section applies, or that reveals whether the individual has family members is confidential and may not be disclosed to the public under this chapter if the individual to whom the information relates:

(1)  chooses to restrict public access to the information; and

(2)  notifies the governmental body of the individual's choice on a form provided by the governmental body, accompanied by evidence of the individual's status.

(c)  A choice made under Subsection (b) remains valid until rescinded in writing by the individual.

(d)  This section does not apply to information in the tax appraisal records of an appraisal district to which Section 25.025, Tax Code, applies.

(e)  All documents filed with a county clerk and all documents filed with a district clerk are exempt from this section.

(f)  A governmental body may redact information that must be withheld under Subsection (b) from any information the governmental body discloses under Section 552.021 without the necessity of requesting a decision from the attorney general under Subchapter G.

(g)  If, under Subsection (f), a governmental body redacts or withholds information without requesting a decision from the attorney general about whether the information may be redacted or withheld, the requestor is entitled to seek a decision from the attorney general about the matter.  The attorney general by rule shall establish procedures and deadlines for receiving information necessary to decide the matter and briefs from the requestor, the governmental body, and any other interested person.  The attorney general shall promptly render a decision requested under this subsection, determining whether the redacted or withheld information was excepted from required disclosure to the requestor, not later than the 45th business day after the date the attorney general received the request for a decision under this subsection.  The attorney general shall issue a written decision on the matter and provide a copy of the decision to the requestor, the governmental body, and any interested person who submitted necessary information or a brief to the attorney general about the matter.  The requestor or the governmental body may appeal a decision of the attorney general under this subsection to a Travis County district court.

(h)  A governmental body that redacts or withholds information under Subsection (f) shall provide the following information to the requestor on a form prescribed by the attorney general:

(1)  a description of the redacted or withheld information;

(2)  a citation to this section; and

(3)  instructions regarding how the requestor may seek a decision from the attorney general regarding whether the redacted or withheld information is excepted from required disclosure.

Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 119, Sec. 3, eff. Sept. 1, 2001. Amended by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 947, Sec. 2, eff. June 20, 2003.

Amended by:

Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 715, Sec. 1, eff. June 17, 2005.

Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 715, Sec. 2, eff. June 17, 2005.

Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 621, Sec. 2, eff. September 1, 2007.

Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 283, Sec. 2, eff. June 4, 2009.

Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 732, Sec. 2, eff. September 1, 2009.



Section 552.1176.  Confidentiality Of Certain Information Maintained By State Bar.

(a) Information that relates to the home address, home telephone number, electronic mail address, social security number, or date of birth of a person licensed to practice law in this state that is maintained under Chapter 81 is confidential and may not be disclosed to the public under this chapter if the person to whom the information relates:

(1)  chooses to restrict public access to the information;  and

(2)  notifies the State Bar of Texas of the person's choice, in writing or electronically, on a form provided by the state bar.

(b)  A choice made under Subsection (a) remains valid until rescinded in writing or electronically by the person.

(c)  All documents filed with a county clerk and all documents filed with a district clerk are exempt from this section.

Added by Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 95, Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2007.



Section  552.118.  Exception: Official Prescription Form.

Information is excepted from the requirements of Section 552.021 if it is:

(1)  information on or derived from an official prescription form filed with the director of the Department of Public Safety under Section 481.075, Health and Safety Code; or

(2)  other information collected under Section 481.075 of that code.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 745, Sec. 35, eff. Jan. 1, 1998; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 251, Sec. 30, eff. Sept. 1, 2001.



Section 552.119.  Exception:  Photograph Of Peace Officer.

(a) A photograph that depicts a peace officer as defined by Article 2.12, Code of Criminal Procedure, the release of which would endanger the life or physical safety of the officer, is excepted from the requirements of Section 552.021 unless:

(1)  the officer is under indictment or charged with an offense by information;

(2)  the officer is a party in a civil service hearing or a case in arbitration; or

(3)  the photograph is introduced as evidence in a judicial proceeding.

(b)  A photograph excepted from disclosure under Subsection (a) may be made public only if the peace officer gives written consent to the disclosure.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993.

Amended by:

Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 8, Sec. 1, eff. May 3, 2005.



Section  552.120.  Exception: Certain Rare Books And Original Manuscripts. A R

are book or original manuscript that was not created or maintained in the conduct of official business of a governmental body and that is held by a private or public archival and manuscript repository for the purpose of historical research is excepted from the requirements of Section 552.021.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993.



Section  552.121.  Exception: Certain Documents Held For Historical Research.

An oral history interview, personal paper, unpublished letter, or organizational record of a nongovernmental entity that was not created or maintained in the conduct of official business of a governmental body and that is held by a private or public archival and manuscript repository for the purpose of historical research is excepted from the requirements of Section 552.021 to the extent that the archival and manuscript repository and the donor of the interview, paper, letter, or record agree to limit disclosure of the item.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993.



Section  552.122.  Exception: Test Items. (a)

A test item developed by an educational institution that is funded wholly or in part by state revenue is excepted from the requirements of Section 552.021.

(b)  A test item developed by a licensing agency or governmental body is excepted from the requirements of Section 552.021.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 76, Sec. 5.05(a), eff. Sept. 1, 1995; Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 1035, Sec. 10, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.



Section  552.123.  Exception: Name Of Applicant For Chief Executive Officer Of Institution Of Higher Education.

The name of an applicant for the position of chief executive officer of an institution of higher education is excepted from the requirements of Section 552.021, except that the governing body of the institution must give public notice of the name or names of the finalists being considered for the position at least 21 days before the date of the meeting at which final action or vote is to be taken on the employment of the person.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993.



Section  552.1235.  Exception: Identity Of Private Donor To Institution Of Higher Education. (a)

The name or other information that would tend to disclose the identity of a person, other than a governmental body, who makes a gift, grant, or donation of money or property to an institution of higher education or to another person with the intent that the money or property be transferred to an institution of higher education is excepted from the requirements of Section 552.021.

(b)  Subsection (a) does not except from required disclosure other information relating to gifts, grants, and donations described by Subsection (a), including the amount or value of an individual gift, grant, or donation.

(c)  In this section, "institution of higher education" has the meaning assigned by Section 61.003, Education Code.

Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1266, Sec. 4.07, eff. June 20, 2003.



Section  552.124.  Exception: Records Of Library Or Library System.

(a) A record of a library or library system, supported in whole or in part by public funds, that identifies or serves to identify a person who requested, obtained, or used a library material or service is excepted from the requirements of Section 552.021 unless the record is disclosed:

(1)  because the library or library system determines that disclosure is reasonably necessary for the operation of the library or library system and the record is not confidential under other state or federal law;

(2)  under Section 552.023; or

(3)  to a law enforcement agency or a prosecutor under a court order or subpoena obtained after a showing to a district court that:

(A)  disclosure of the record is necessary to protect the public safety; or

(B)  the record is evidence of an offense or constitutes evidence that a particular person committed an offense.

(b)  A record of a library or library system that is excepted from required disclosure under this section is confidential.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 76, Sec. 5.03(a), eff. Sept. 1, 1995; Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 1035, Sec. 11, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.



Section  552.125.  Exception: Certain Audits. Any

documents or information privileged under the Texas Environmental, Health, and Safety Audit Privilege Act are excepted from the requirements of Section 552.021.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 219, Sec. 14, eff. May 23, 1995. Renumbered from Government Code Sec. 552.124 by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 31.01(45), eff. Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1231, Sec. 7, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.



Section  552.126.  Exception: Name Of Applicant For Superintendent Of Public School District.

The name of an applicant for the position of superintendent of a public school district is excepted from the requirements of Section 552.021, except that the board of trustees must give public notice of the name or names of the finalists being considered for the position at least 21 days before the date of the meeting at which a final action or vote is to be taken on the employment of the person.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 260, Sec. 31, eff. May 30, 1995. Renumbered from Government Code Sec. 552.124 by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 31.01(46), eff. Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1231, Sec. 8, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.



Section  552.127.  Exception: Personal Information Relating To Participants In Neighborhood Crime Watch Organization.

(a) Information is excepted from the requirements of Section 552.021 if the information identifies a person as a participant in a neighborhood crime watch organization and relates to the name, home address, business address, home telephone number, or business telephone number of the person.

(b)  In this section, "neighborhood crime watch organization" means a group of residents of a neighborhood or part of a neighborhood that is formed in affiliation or association with a law enforcement agency in this state to observe activities within the neighborhood or part of a neighborhood and to take other actions intended to reduce crime in that area.

Added by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 719, Sec. 1, eff. June 17, 1997.



Section  552.128.  Exception: Certain Information Submitted By Potential Vendor Or Contractor.

(a) Information submitted by a potential vendor or contractor to a governmental body in connection with an application for certification as a historically underutilized or disadvantaged business under a local, state, or federal certification program is excepted from the requirements of Section 552.021, except as provided by this section.

(b)  Notwithstanding Section 552.007 and except as provided by Subsection (c), the information may be disclosed only:

(1)  to a state or local governmental entity in this state, and the state or local governmental entity may use the information only:

(A)  for purposes related to verifying an applicant's status as a historically underutilized or disadvantaged business; or

(B)  for the purpose of conducting a study of a public purchasing program established under state law for historically underutilized or disadvantaged businesses; or

(2)  with the express written permission of the applicant or the applicant's agent.

(c)  Information submitted by a vendor or contractor or a potential vendor or contractor to a governmental body in connection with a specific proposed contractual relationship, a specific contract, or an application to be placed on a bidders list, including information that may also have been submitted in connection with an application for certification as a historically underutilized or disadvantaged business, is subject to required disclosure, excepted from required disclosure, or confidential in accordance with other law.

Added by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1227, Sec. 1, eff. June 30, 1997. Renumbered from Sec. 552.127 by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 62, Sec. 19.01(51), eff. Sept. 1, 1999.



Section  552.129.  Motor Vehicle Inspection Information. A R

ecord created during a motor vehicle emissions inspection under Subchapter F, Chapter 548, Transportation Code, that relates to an individual vehicle or owner of an individual vehicle is excepted from the requirements of Section 552.021.

Added by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1069, Sec. 17, eff. June 19, 1997. Renumbered from Sec. 552.127 by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 62, Sec. 19.01(52), eff. Sept. 1, 1999.



Section  552.130.  Exception: Motor Vehicle Records.

(a) Information is excepted from the requirements of Section 552.021 if the information relates to:

(1)  a motor vehicle operator's or driver's license or permit issued by an agency of this state;

(2)  a motor vehicle title or registration issued by an agency of this state; or

(3)  a personal identification document issued by an agency of this state or a local agency authorized to issue an identification document.

(b)  Information described by Subsection (a) may be released only if, and in the manner, authorized by Chapter 730, Transportation Code.

Added by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1187, Sec. 4, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.



Section  552.131.  Exception: Economic Development Information.

(a) Information is excepted from the requirements of Section 552.021 if the information relates to economic development negotiations involving a governmental body and a business prospect that the governmental body seeks to have locate, stay, or expand in or near the territory of the governmental body and the information relates to:

(1)  a trade secret of the business prospect; or

(2)  commercial or financial information for which it is demonstrated based on specific factual evidence that disclosure would cause substantial competitive harm to the person from whom the information was obtained.

(b)  Unless and until an agreement is made with the business prospect, information about a financial or other incentive being offered to the business prospect by the governmental body or by another person is excepted from the requirements of Section 552.021.

(c)  After an agreement is made with the business prospect, this section does not except from the requirements of Section 552.021 information about a financial or other incentive being offered to the business prospect:

(1)  by the governmental body; or

(2)  by another person, if the financial or other incentive may directly or indirectly result in the expenditure of public funds by a governmental body or a reduction in revenue received by a governmental body from any source.

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1319, Sec. 9, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.



Section 552.132.  Confidentiality Of Crime Victim Or Claimant Information.

(a) Except as provided by Subsection (d), in this section, "crime victim or claimant" means a victim or claimant under Subchapter B, Chapter 56, Code of Criminal Procedure, who has filed an application for compensation under that subchapter.

(b)  The following information held by the crime victim's compensation division of the attorney general's office is confidential:

(1)  the name, social security number, address, or telephone number of a crime victim or claimant; or

(2)  any other information the disclosure of which would identify or tend to identify the crime victim or claimant.

(c)   If the crime victim or claimant is awarded compensation under Section 56.34, Code of Criminal Procedure, as of the date of the award of compensation, the name of the crime victim or claimant and the amount of compensation awarded to that crime victim or claimant are public information and are not excepted from the requirements of Section 552.021.

(d)  An employee of a governmental body who is also a victim under Subchapter B, Chapter 56, Code of Criminal Procedure, regardless of whether the employee has filed an application for compensation under that subchapter, may elect whether to allow public access to information held by the attorney general's office or other governmental body that would identify or tend to identify the victim, including a photograph or other visual representation of the victim.  An election under this subsection must be made in writing on a form developed by the governmental body, be signed by the employee, and be filed with the governmental body before the third anniversary of the latest to occur of one of the following:

(1)  the date the crime was committed;

(2)  the date employment begins; or

(3)  the date the governmental body develops the form and provides it to employees.

(e)  If the employee fails to make an election under Subsection (d), the identifying information is excepted from disclosure until the third anniversary of the date the crime was committed.  In case of disability, impairment, or other incapacity of the employee, the election may be made by the guardian of the employee or former employee.

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1319, Sec. 10, eff. Sept. 1, 1999. Amended by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1039, Sec. 1, eff. June 20, 2003.

Amended by:

Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 290, Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2007.



Section  552.1325.  Crime Victim Impact Statement: Certain Information Confidential.

(a) In this section:

(1)  "Crime victim" means a person who is a victim as defined by Article 56.32, Code of Criminal Procedure.

(2)  "Victim impact statement" means a victim impact statement under Article 56.03, Code of Criminal Procedure.

(b)  The following information that is held by a governmental body or filed with a court and that is contained in a victim impact statement or was submitted for purposes of preparing a victim impact statement is confidential:

(1)  the name, social security number, address, and telephone number of a crime victim; and

(2)  any other information the disclosure of which would identify or tend to identify the crime victim.

Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1303, Sec. 1, eff. June 21, 2003.



Section  552.133.  Exception: Public Power Utility Competitive Matters.

(a) In this section:

(1)  "Public power utility" means an entity providing electric or gas utility services that is subject to the provisions of this chapter.

(2)  "Public power utility governing body" means the board of trustees or other applicable governing body, including a city council, of a public power utility.

(3)  "Competitive matter" means a utility-related matter that the public power utility governing body in good faith determines by a vote under this section is related to the public power utility's competitive activity, including commercial information, and would, if disclosed, give advantage to competitors or prospective competitors but may not be deemed to include the following categories of information:

(A)  information relating to the provision of distribution access service, including the terms and conditions of the service and the rates charged for the service but not including information concerning utility-related services or products that are competitive;

(B)  information relating to the provision of transmission service that is required to be filed with the Public Utility Commission of Texas, subject to any confidentiality provided for under the rules of the commission;

(C)  information for the distribution system pertaining to reliability and continuity of service, to the extent not security-sensitive, that relates to emergency management, identification of critical loads such as hospitals and police, records of interruption, and distribution feeder standards;

(D)  any substantive rule of general applicability regarding service offerings, service regulation, customer protections, or customer service adopted by the public power utility as authorized by law;

(E)  aggregate information reflecting receipts or expenditures of funds of the public power utility, of the type that would be included in audited financial statements;

(F)  information relating to equal employment opportunities for minority groups, as filed with local, state, or federal agencies;

(G)  information relating to the public power utility's performance in contracting with minority business entities;

(H)  information relating to nuclear decommissioning trust agreements, of the type required to be included in audited financial statements;

(I)  information relating to the amount and timing of any transfer to an owning city's general fund;

(J)  information relating to environmental compliance as required to be filed with any local, state, or national environmental authority, subject to any confidentiality provided under the rules of those authorities;

(K)  names of public officers of the public power utility and the voting records of those officers for all matters other than those within the scope of a competitive resolution provided for by this section;

(L)  a description of the public power utility's central and field organization, including the established places at which the public may obtain information, submit information and requests, or obtain decisions and the identification of employees from whom the public may obtain information, submit information or requests, or obtain decisions; or

(M)  information identifying the general course and method by which the public power utility's functions are channeled and determined, including the nature and requirements of all formal and informal policies and procedures.

(b)  Information or records are excepted from the requirements of Section 552.021 if the information or records are reasonably related to a competitive matter, as defined in this section. Excepted information or records include the text of any resolution of the public power utility governing body determining which issues, activities, or matters constitute competitive matters. Information or records of a municipally owned utility that are reasonably related to a competitive matter are not subject to disclosure under this chapter, whether or not, under the Utilities Code, the municipally owned utility has adopted customer choice or serves in a multiply certificated service area. This section does not limit the right of a public power utility governing body to withhold from disclosure information deemed to be within the scope of any other exception provided for in this chapter, subject to the provisions of this chapter.

(c)  In connection with any request for an opinion of the attorney general under Section 552.301 with respect to information alleged to fall under this exception, in rendering a written opinion under Section 552.306 the attorney general shall find the requested information to be outside the scope of this exception only if the attorney general determines, based on the information provided in connection with the request:

(1)  that the public power utility governing body has failed to act in good faith in making the determination that the issue, matter, or activity in question is a competitive matter; or

(2)  that the information or records sought to be withheld are not reasonably related to a competitive matter.

(d)  The requirement of Section 552.022 that a category of information listed under Section 552.022(a) is public information and not excepted from required disclosure under this chapter unless expressly confidential under law does not apply to information that is excepted from required disclosure under this section.

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 405, Sec. 46, eff. Sept. 1, 1999. Amended by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1272, Sec. 7.02, eff. June 15, 2001. Renumbered from Sec. 552.131 by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1420, Sec. 21.001(52), eff. Sept. 1, 2001.



Section  552.134.  Exception: Certain Information Relating To Inmate Of Department Of Criminal Justice.

(a) Except as provided by Subsection (b) or by Section 552.029, information obtained or maintained by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice is excepted from the requirements of Section 552.021 if it is information about an inmate who is confined in a facility operated by or under a contract with the department.

(b)  Subsection (a) does not apply to:

(1)  statistical or other aggregated information relating to inmates confined in one or more facilities operated by or under a contract with the department; or

(2)  information about an inmate sentenced to death.

(c)  This section does not affect whether information is considered confidential or privileged under Section 508.313.

(d)  A release of information described by Subsection (a) to an eligible entity, as defined by Section 508.313(d), for a purpose related to law enforcement, prosecution, corrections, clemency, or treatment is not considered a release of information to the public for purposes of Section 552.007 and does not waive the right to assert in the future that the information is excepted from required disclosure under this section or other law.

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 783, Sec. 1, eff. Aug. 30, 1999. Renumbered from Sec. 552.131 by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1420, Sec. 21.001(53), eff. Sept. 1, 2001.



Section  552.135.  Exception: Certain Information Held By School District.

(a) "Informer" means a student or a former student or an employee or former employee of a school district who has furnished a report of another person's possible violation of criminal, civil, or regulatory law to the school district or the proper regulatory enforcement authority.

(b)  An informer's name or information that would substantially reveal the identity of an informer is excepted from the requirements of Section 552.021.

(c)  Subsection (b) does not apply:

(1)  if the informer is a student or former student, and the student or former student, or the legal guardian, or spouse of the student or former student consents to disclosure of the student's or former student's name; or

(2)  if the informer is an employee or former employee who consents to disclosure of the employee's or former employee's name; or

(3)  if the informer planned, initiated, or participated in the possible violation.

(d)  Information excepted under Subsection (b) may be made available to a law enforcement agency or prosecutor for official purposes of the agency or prosecutor upon proper request made in compliance with applicable law and procedure.

(e)  This section does not infringe on or impair the confidentiality of information considered to be confidential by law, whether it be constitutional, statutory, or by judicial decision, including information excepted from the requirements of Section 552.021.

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1335, Sec. 6, eff. Sept. 1, 1999. Renumbered from Sec. 552.131 by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1420, Sec. 21.001(54), eff. Sept. 1, 2001.



Section  552.136.  Confidentiality Of Credit Card, Debit Card, Charge Card, And Access Device Numbers.

(a) In this section, "access device" means a card, plate, code, account number, personal identification number, electronic serial number, mobile identification number, or other telecommunications service, equipment, or instrument identifier or means of account access that alone or in conjunction with another access device may be used to:

(1)  obtain money, goods, services, or another thing of value; or

(2)  initiate a transfer of funds other than a transfer originated solely by paper instrument.

(b)  Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, a credit card, debit card, charge card, or access device number that is collected, assembled, or maintained by or for a governmental body is confidential.

Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 356, Sec. 1, eff. May 26, 2001.



Section 552.137.  Confidentiality Of Certain E-mail Addresses.

(a) Except as otherwise provided by this section, an e-mail address of a member of the public that is provided for the purpose of communicating electronically with a governmental body is confidential and not subject to disclosure under this chapter.

(b)  Confidential information described by this section that relates to a member of the public may be disclosed if the member of the public affirmatively consents to its release.

(c)  Subsection (a) does not apply to an e-mail address:

(1)  provided to a governmental body by a person who has a contractual relationship with the governmental body or by the contractor's agent;

(2)  provided to a governmental body by a vendor who seeks to contract with the governmental body or by the vendor's agent;

(3)  contained in a response to a request for bids or proposals, contained in a response to similar invitations soliciting offers or information relating to a potential contract, or provided to a governmental body in the course of negotiating the terms of a contract or potential contract;

(4)  provided to a governmental body on a letterhead, coversheet, printed document, or other document made available to the public; or

(5)  provided to a governmental body for the purpose of providing public comment on or receiving notices related to an application for a license as defined by Section 2001.003(2) of this code, or receiving orders or decisions from a governmental body.

(d)  Subsection (a) does not prevent a governmental body from disclosing an e-mail address for any reason to another governmental body or to a federal agency.

Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 356, Sec. 1, eff. May 26, 2001. Amended by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1089, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

Amended by:

Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 962, Sec. 7, eff. September 1, 2009.



Section  552.138.  Exception: Family Violence Shelter Center And Sexual Assault Program Information.

(a) In this section:

(1)  "Family violence shelter center" has the meaning assigned by Section 51.002, Human Resources Code.

(2)  "Sexual assault program" has the meaning assigned by Section 420.003.

(b)  Information maintained by a family violence shelter center or sexual assault program is excepted from the requirements of Section 552.021 if it is information that relates to:

(1)  the home address, home telephone number, or social security number of an employee or a volunteer worker of a family violence shelter center or a sexual assault program, regardless of whether the employee or worker complies with Section 552.024;

(2)  the location or physical layout of a family violence shelter center;

(3)  the name, home address, home telephone number, or numeric identifier of a current or former client of a family violence shelter center or sexual assault program;

(4)  the provision of services, including counseling and sheltering, to a current or former client of a family violence shelter center or sexual assault program;

(5)  the name, home address, or home telephone number of a private donor to a family violence shelter center or sexual assault program; or

(6)  the home address or home telephone number of a member of the board of directors or the board of trustees of a family violence shelter center or sexual assault program, regardless of whether the board member complies with Section 552.024.

(c)  A governmental body may redact information maintained by a family violence shelter center or sexual assault program that may be withheld under Subsection (b)(1) or (6) from any information the governmental body discloses under Section 552.021 without the necessity of requesting a decision from the attorney general under Subchapter G.

(d)  If, under Subsection (c), a governmental body redacts or withholds information without requesting a decision from the attorney general about whether the information may be redacted or withheld, the requestor is entitled to seek a decision from the attorney general about the matter.  The attorney general by rule shall establish procedures and deadlines for receiving information necessary to decide the matter and briefs from the requestor, the governmental body, and any other interested person.  The attorney general shall promptly render a decision requested under this subsection, determining whether the redacted or withheld information was excepted from required disclosure to the requestor, not later than the 45th business day after the date the attorney general received the request for a decision under this subsection.  The attorney general shall issue a written decision on the matter and provide a copy of the decision to the requestor, the governmental body, and any interested person who submitted necessary information or a brief to the attorney general about the matter.  The requestor or the governmental body may appeal a decision of the attorney general under this subsection to a Travis County district court.

(e)  A governmental body that redacts or withholds information under Subsection (c) shall provide the following information to the requestor on a form prescribed by the attorney general:

(1)  a description of the redacted or withheld information;

(2)  a citation to this section; and

(3)  instructions regarding how the requestor may seek a decision from the attorney general regarding whether the redacted or withheld information is excepted from required disclosure.

Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 143, Sec. 1, eff. May 16, 2001. Renumbered from Government Code Sec. 552.136 by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1275, Sec. 2(75), eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

Amended by:

Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 283, Sec. 3, eff. June 4, 2009.



Section 552.139.  Exception:  Government Information Related To Security Or Infrastructure Issues For Computers.

(a) Information is excepted from the requirements of Section 552.021 if it is information that relates to computer network security, to restricted information under Section 2059.055, or to the design, operation, or defense of a computer network.

(b)  The following information is confidential:

(1)  a computer network vulnerability report; and

(2)  any other assessment of the extent to which data processing operations, a computer, a computer program, network, system, or system interface, or software of a governmental body or of a contractor of a governmental body is vulnerable to unauthorized access or harm, including an assessment of the extent to which the governmental body's or contractor's electronically stored information containing sensitive or critical information is vulnerable to alteration, damage, erasure, or inappropriate use.

(c)  Notwithstanding the confidential nature of the information described in this section, the information may be disclosed to a bidder if the governmental body determines that providing the information is necessary for the bidder to provide an accurate bid.  A disclosure under this subsection is not a voluntary disclosure for purposes of Section 552.007.

Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1272, Sec. 4.03, eff. June 15, 2001. Renumbered from Government Code Sec. 552.136 by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1275, Sec. 2(76), eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

Amended by:

Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 183, Sec. 4, eff. September 1, 2009.



Section  552.140.  Military Discharge Records.

(a) This section applies only to a military veteran's Department of Defense Form DD-214 or other military discharge record that is first recorded with or that otherwise first comes into the possession of a governmental body on or after September 1, 2003.

(b)  The record is confidential for the 75 years following the date it is recorded with or otherwise first comes into the possession of a governmental body. During that period the governmental body may permit inspection or copying of the record or disclose information contained in the record only in accordance with this section or in accordance with a court order.

(c)  On request and the presentation of proper identification, the following persons may inspect the military discharge record or obtain from the governmental body free of charge a copy or certified copy of the record:

(1)  the veteran who is the subject of the record;

(2)  the legal guardian of the veteran;

(3)  the spouse or a child or parent of the veteran or, if there is no living spouse, child, or parent, the nearest living relative of the veteran;

(4)  the personal representative of the estate of the veteran;

(5)  the person named by the veteran, or by a person described by Subdivision (2), (3), or (4), in an appropriate power of attorney executed in accordance with Section 490, Chapter XII, Texas Probate Code;

(6)  another governmental body; or

(7)  an authorized representative of the funeral home that assists with the burial of the veteran.

(d)  A court that orders the release of information under this section shall limit the further disclosure of the information and the purposes for which the information may be used.

(e)  A governmental body that obtains information from the record shall limit the governmental body's use and disclosure of the information to the purpose for which the information was obtained.

Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 438, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

Amended by:

Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 124, Sec. 1, eff. May 24, 2005.



Section  552.141.  Confidentiality Of Information In Application For Marriage License.  

/p> (a)  Information that relates to the social security number of an individual that is maintained by a county clerk and that is on an application for a marriage license, including information in an application on behalf of an absent applicant and the affidavit of an absent applicant, or is on a document submitted with an application for a marriage license is confidential and may not be disclosed by the county clerk to the public under this chapter.

(b)  If the county clerk receives a request to make information in a marriage license application available under this chapter, the county clerk shall redact the portion of the application that contains an individual's social security number and release the remainder of the information in the application.

Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 804, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.



Section 552.142.  Exception:  Records Of Certain Deferred Adjudications And Certain Misdemeanors Punishable By Fine Only.

(a) Information is excepted from the requirements of Section 552.021 if an order of nondisclosure with respect to the information has been issued under Section 411.081(d) or (f-1).

(b)  A person who is the subject of information that is excepted from the requirements of Section 552.021 under this section may deny the occurrence of the arrest and prosecution to which the information relates and the exception of the information under this section, unless the information is being used against the person in a subsequent criminal proceeding.

Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1236, Sec. 5, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

Amended by:

Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 780, Sec. 3, eff. June 19, 2009.

Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 780, Sec. 4, eff. June 19, 2009.



Section 552.1425.  Civil Penalty:  Dissemination Of Certain Criminal History Information.

(a) A private entity that compiles and disseminates for compensation criminal history record information may not compile or disseminate information with respect to which the entity has received notice that:

(1)  an order of expunction has been issued under Article 55.02, Code of Criminal Procedure; or

(2)  an order of nondisclosure has been issued under Section 411.081(d) or (f-1).

(b)  A district court may issue a warning to a private entity for a first violation of Subsection (a).  After receiving a warning for the first violation, the private entity is liable to the state for a civil penalty not to exceed $1,000 for each subsequent violation.

(c)  The attorney general or an appropriate prosecuting attorney may sue to collect a civil penalty under this section.

(d)  A civil penalty collected under this section shall be deposited in the state treasury to the credit of the general revenue fund.

Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1236, Sec. 5, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

Amended by:

Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1017, Sec. 9, eff. September 1, 2007.

Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1017, Sec. 10, eff. September 1, 2007.

Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 780, Sec. 5, eff. June 19, 2009.



Section 552.143.  Confidentiality Of Certain Investment Information. (a)

All information prepared or provided by a private investment fund and held by a governmental body that is not listed in Section 552.0225(b) is confidential and excepted from the requirements of Section 552.021.

(b)  Unless the information has been publicly released, pre-investment and post-investment diligence information, including reviews and analyses, prepared or maintained by a governmental body or a private investment fund is confidential and excepted from the requirements of Section 552.021, except to the extent it is subject to disclosure under Subsection (c).

(c)  All information regarding a governmental body's direct purchase, holding, or disposal of restricted securities that is not listed in Section 552.0225(b)(2)-(9), (11), or (13)-(16) is confidential and excepted from the requirements of Section 552.021.  This subsection does not apply to a governmental body's purchase, holding, or disposal of restricted securities for the purpose of reinvestment nor does it apply to a private investment fund's investment in restricted securities.  This subsection applies to information regarding a direct purchase, holding, or disposal of restricted securities by the Texas growth fund, created under Section 70, Article XVI, Texas Constitution, that is not listed in Section 552.0225(b).

(d)  For the purposes of this chapter:

(1)  "Private investment fund" means an entity, other than a governmental body, that issues restricted securities to a governmental body to evidence the investment of public funds for the purpose of reinvestment.

(2)  "Reinvestment" means investment in a person that makes or will make other investments.

(3)  "Restricted securities" has the meaning assigned by 17 C.F.R. Section 230.144(a)(3).

(e)  This section shall not be construed as affecting the authority of the comptroller under Section 403.030.

(f)  This section does not apply to the Texas Mutual Insurance Company or a successor to the company.

Added by Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 1338, Sec. 2, eff. June 18, 2005.



Section 552.144.  Exception:  Working Papers And Electronic Communications Of Administrative Law Judges At State Office Of Administrative Hearings. The

following working papers and electronic communications of an administrative law judge at the State Office of Administrative Hearings are excepted from the requirements of Section 552.021:

(1)  notes and electronic communications recording the observations, thoughts, questions, deliberations, or impressions of an administrative law judge;

(2)  drafts of a proposal for decision;

(3)  drafts of orders made in connection with conducting contested case hearings; and

(4)  drafts of orders made in connection with conducting alternative dispute resolution procedures.

Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1215, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

Renumbered from Government Code, Section 552.141 by Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 728, Sec. 23.001(35), eff. September 1, 2005.

Amended by:

Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 350, Sec. 1, eff. June 15, 2007.



Section 552.145.  Exception:  Texas No-call List. The

Texas no-call list created under Subchapter B, Chapter 304, Business & Commerce Code, and any information provided to or received from the administrator of the national do-not-call registry maintained by the United States government, as provided by Sections 304.051 and 304.056, Business & Commerce Code, are excepted from the requirements of Section 552.021.

Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 401, Sec. 2, eff. June 20, 2003.

Amended by:

Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 171, Sec. 2, eff. May 27, 2005.

Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 885, Sec. 2.20, eff. April 1, 2009.

Renumbered from Government Code, Section 552.141 by Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 921, Sec. 17.001(39), eff. September 1, 2007.



Section 552.146.  Exception:  Certain Communications With Assistant Or Employee Of Legislative Budget Board. (a)

All written or otherwise recorded communications, including conversations, correspondence, and electronic communications, between a member of the legislature or the lieutenant governor and an assistant or employee of the Legislative Budget Board are excepted from the requirements of Section 552.021.

(b)  Memoranda of a communication between a member of the legislature or the lieutenant governor and an assistant or employee of the Legislative Budget Board are excepted from the requirements of Section 552.021 without regard to the method used to store or maintain the memoranda.

(c)  This section does not except from required disclosure a record or memoranda of a communication that occurs in public during an open meeting or public hearing conducted by the Legislative Budget Board.

Added by Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 741, Sec. 9, eff. June 17, 2005.



Section 552.147.  Social Security Numbers.

(a) The social security number of a living person is excepted from the requirements of Section 552.021, but is not confidential under this section and this section does not make the social security number of a living person confidential under another provision of this chapter or other law.

(b)  A governmental body may redact the social security number of a living person from any information the governmental body discloses under Section 552.021 without the necessity of requesting a decision from the attorney general under Subchapter G.

(c)  Notwithstanding any other law, a county or district clerk may disclose in the ordinary course of business a social security number that is contained in information held by the clerk's office, and that disclosure is not official misconduct and does not subject the clerk to civil or criminal liability of any kind under the law of this state, including any claim for damages in a lawsuit or the criminal penalty imposed by Section 552.352.

(d)  Unless another law requires a social security number to be maintained in a government document, on written request from an individual or the individual's representative the clerk shall redact within a reasonable amount of time all but the last four digits of the individual's social security number from information maintained in the clerk's official public records, including electronically stored information maintained by or under the control of the clerk.  The individual or the individual's representative must identify, using a form provided by the clerk, the specific document or documents from which the partial social security number shall be redacted.

Added by Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 397, Sec. 1, eff. June 17, 2005.

Amended by:

Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 3, Sec. 1, eff. March 28, 2007.



Section 552.148.  Exception:  Certain Personal Information Maintained By Municipality Pertaining To A Minor.

(a) In this section, "minor" means a person younger than 18 years of age.

(b)  The following information maintained by a municipality for purposes related to the participation by a minor in a recreational program or activity is excepted from the requirements of Section 552.021:

(1)  the name, age, home address, home telephone number, or social security number of the minor;

(2)  a photograph of the minor; and

(3)  the name of the minor's parent or legal guardian.

Added by Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 114, Sec. 1, eff. May 17, 2007.



Section 552.149.  Exception: Records Of Comptroller Or Appraisal District Received From Private Entity. (a)

Information relating to real property sales prices, descriptions, characteristics, and other related information received from a private entity by the comptroller or the chief appraiser of an appraisal district under Chapter 6, Tax Code, is excepted from the requirements of Section 552.021.

(b)  Notwithstanding Subsection (a), the property owner or the owner's agent may, on request, obtain from the chief appraiser of the applicable appraisal district a copy of each item of information described by Section 41.461(a)(2), Tax Code, and a copy of each item of information that the chief appraiser took into consideration but does not plan to introduce at the hearing on the protest.  In addition, the property owner or agent may, on request, obtain from the chief appraiser comparable sales data from a reasonable number of sales that is relevant to any matter to be determined by the appraisal review board at the hearing on the property owner's protest.  Information obtained under this subsection:

(1)  remains confidential in the possession of the property owner or agent; and

(2)  may not be disclosed or used for any purpose except as evidence or argument at the hearing on the protest.

(c)  Notwithstanding Subsection (a) or Section 403.304, so as to assist a property owner or an appraisal district in a protest filed under Section 403.303, the property owner, the district, or an agent of the property owner or district may, on request, obtain from the comptroller any information, including confidential information, obtained by the comptroller in connection with the comptroller's finding that is being protested.  Confidential information obtained by a property owner, an appraisal district, or an agent of the property owner or district under this subsection:

(1)  remains confidential in the possession of the property owner, district, or agent; and

(2)  may not be disclosed to a person who is not authorized to receive or inspect the information.

 

Text of subsection as added by Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 555, Sec. 1

 

(d)  This section applies to information described by Subsections (a) and (c) and to an item of information or comparable sales data described by Subsection (b) only if the information, item of information, or comparable sales data relates to real property that is located in a county having a population of 20,000 or more.

 

Text of subsection as added by Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 1153, Sec. 1

 

(d)  Notwithstanding Subsection (a) or Section 403.304, so as to assist a school district in the preparation of a protest filed or to be filed under Section 403.303, the school district or an agent of the school district may, on request, obtain from the comptroller or the appraisal district any information, including confidential information, obtained by the comptroller or the appraisal district that relates to the appraisal of property involved in the comptroller's finding that is being protested.  Confidential information obtained by a school district or an agent of the school district under this subsection:

(1)  remains confidential in the possession of the school district or agent; and

(2)  may not be disclosed to a person who is not authorized to receive or inspect the information.

(e)  This section applies to information described by Subsections (a), (c), and (d) and to an item of information or comparable sales data described by Subsection (b) only if the information, item of information, or comparable sales data relates to real property that is located in a county having a population of 20,000 or more.

Added by Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 471, Sec. 1, eff. June 16, 2007.

Renumbered from Government Code, Section 552.148 by Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 87, Sec. 27.001(39), eff. September 1, 2009.

Amended by:

Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 555, Sec. 1, eff. June 19, 2009.

Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 1153, Sec. 1, eff. June 19, 2009.



For expiration of this section, see Subsection (c).

Section 552.150.  Exception:  Information That Could Compromise Safety Of Officer Or Employee Of Hospital District.

(a) Information in the custody of a hospital district that relates to an employee or officer of the hospital district is excepted from the requirements of Section 552.021 if:

(1)  it is information that, if disclosed under the specific circumstances pertaining to the individual, could reasonably be expected to compromise the safety of the individual, such as information that describes or depicts the likeness of the individual, information stating the times that the individual arrives at or departs from work, a description of the individual's automobile, or the location where the individual works or parks; and

(2)  the employee or officer applies in writing to the hospital district's officer for public information to have the information withheld from public disclosure under this section and includes in the application:

(A)  a description of the information; and

(B)  the specific circumstances pertaining to the individual that demonstrate why disclosure of the information could reasonably be expected to compromise the safety of the individual.

(b)  On receiving a written request for information described in an application submitted under Subsection (a)(2), the officer for public information shall:

(1)  request a decision from the attorney general in accordance with Section 552.301 regarding withholding the information; and

(2)  include a copy of the application submitted under Subsection (a)(2) with the request for the decision.

(c)  This section expires September 1, 2013.

Added by Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 1377, Sec. 4, eff. September 1, 2009.



Text of section as added by Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 283, Sec. 4

For text of section as added by Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 1377, Sec. 5, see other Sec. 552.151.

Section 552.151.  Exception:  Public Employee Or Officer Personal Safety.

Information in the custody of a governmental body that relates to an employee or officer of the governmental body is excepted from the requirements of Section 552.021 if, under the specific circumstances pertaining to the employee or officer, disclosure of the information would subject the employee or officer to a substantial threat of physical harm.

Added by Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 283, Sec. 4, eff. June 4, 2009.



Text of section as added by Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 1377, Sec. 5

For text of section as added by Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 283, Sec. 4, see other Sec. 552.151.

Section 552.151.  Exception:  Information Regarding Select Agents. (a) T

he following information that pertains to a biological agent or toxin identified or listed as a select agent under federal law, including under the Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002 (Pub. L. No. 107-188) and regulations adopted under that Act, is excepted from the requirements of Section 552.021:

(1)  the specific location of a select agent within an approved facility;

(2)  personal identifying information of an individual whose name appears in documentation relating to the chain of custody of select agents, including a materials transfer agreement; and

(3)  the identity of an individual authorized to possess, use, or access a select agent.

(b)  This section does not except from disclosure the identity of the select agents present at a facility.

(c)  This section does not except from disclosure the identity of an individual faculty member or employee whose name appears or will appear on published research.

(d)  This section does not except from disclosure otherwise public information relating to contracts of a governmental body.

(e)  If a resident of another state is present in Texas and is authorized to possess, use, or access a select agent in conducting research or other work at a Texas facility, information relating to the identity of that individual is subject to disclosure under this chapter only to the extent the information would be subject to disclosure under the laws of the state of which the person is a resident.

Added by Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 1377, Sec. 5, eff. September 1, 2009.



Subchapter D. Officer For Public Information

Section  552.201.  Identity Of Officer For Public Information.

(a) The chief administrative officer of a governmental body is the officer for public information, except as provided by Subsection (b).

(b)  Each elected county officer is the officer for public information and the custodian, as defined by Section 201.003, Local Government Code, of the information created or received by that county officer's office.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 1035, Sec. 14, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.



Section  552.202.  Department Heads.

Each department head is an agent of the officer for public information for the purposes of complying with this chapter.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 1035, Sec. 14, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.



Section  552.203.  General Duties Of Officer For Public Information.

Each officer for public information, subject to penalties provided in this chapter, shall:

(1)  make public information available for public inspection and copying;

(2)  carefully protect public information from deterioration, alteration, mutilation, loss, or unlawful removal; and

(3)  repair, renovate, or rebind public information as necessary to maintain it properly.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 1035, Sec. 14, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.



Section  552.204.  Scope Of Responsibility Of Officer For Public Information.

An officer for public information is responsible for the release of public information as required by this chapter. The officer is not responsible for:

(1)  the use made of the information by the requestor; or

(2)  the release of information after it is removed from a record as a result of an update, a correction, or a change of status of the person to whom the information pertains.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 1035, Sec. 14, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.



Section 552.205.  Informing Public Of Basic Rights And Responsibilities Under This Chapter.

(a) An officer for public information shall prominently display a sign in the form prescribed by the attorney general that contains basic information about the rights of a requestor, the responsibilities of a governmental body, and the procedures for inspecting or obtaining a copy of public information under this chapter.  The officer shall display the sign at one or more places in the administrative offices of the governmental body where it is plainly visible to:

(1)  members of the public who request public information in person under this chapter; and

(2)  employees of the governmental body whose duties include receiving or responding to requests under this chapter.

(b)  The attorney general by rule shall prescribe the content of the sign and the size, shape, and other physical characteristics of the sign.  In prescribing the content of the sign, the attorney general shall include plainly written basic information about the rights of a requestor, the responsibilities of a governmental body, and the procedures for inspecting or obtaining a copy of public information under this chapter that, in the opinion of the attorney general, is most useful for requestors to know and for employees of governmental bodies who receive or respond to requests for public information to know.

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1319, Sec. 11, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.

Amended by:

Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 329, Sec. 3, eff. September 1, 2005.

Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 716, Sec. 3, eff. September 1, 2005.



Subchapter E. Procedures Related To Access

Section  552.221.  Application For Public Information; Production Of Public Information.

(a) An officer for public information of a governmental body shall promptly produce public information for inspection, duplication, or both on application by any person to the officer. In this subsection, "promptly" means as soon as possible under the circumstances, that is, within a reasonable time, without delay.

(b)  An officer for public information complies with Subsection (a) by:

(1)  providing the public information for inspection or duplication in the offices of the governmental body; or

(2)  sending copies of the public information by first class United States mail if the person requesting the information requests that copies be provided and pays the postage and any other applicable charges that the requestor has accrued under Subchapter F.

(c)  If the requested information is unavailable at the time of the request to examine because it is in active use or in storage, the officer for public information shall certify this fact in writing to the requestor and set a date and hour within a reasonable time when the information will be available for inspection or duplication.

(d)  If an officer for public information cannot produce public information for inspection or duplication within 10 business days after the date the information is requested under Subsection (a), the officer shall certify that fact in writing to the requestor and set a date and hour within a reasonable time when the information will be available for inspection or duplication.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 1035, Sec. 15, eff. Sept. 1, 1995; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1231, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1319, Sec. 12, eff. Sept. 1, 1999; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 791, Sec. 1, eff. June 20, 2003.



Section  552.222.  Permissible Inquiry By Governmental Body To Requestor.

(a) The officer for public information and the officer's agent may not make an inquiry of a requestor except to establish proper identification or except as provided by Subsection (b) or (c).

(b)  If what information is requested is unclear to the governmental body, the governmental body may ask the requestor to clarify the request. If a large amount of information has been requested, the governmental body may discuss with the requestor how the scope of a request might be narrowed, but the governmental body may not inquire into the purpose for which information will be used.

(c)  If the information requested relates to a motor vehicle record, the officer for public information or the officer's agent may require the requestor to provide additional identifying information sufficient for the officer or the officer's agent to determine whether the requestor is eligible to receive the information under Chapter 730, Transportation Code. In this subsection, "motor vehicle record" has the meaning assigned that term by Section 730.003, Transportation Code.

(d)  If by the 61st day after the date a governmental body sends a written request for clarification or discussion under Subsection (b) or an officer for public information or agent sends a  written request for additional information under Subsection (c) the governmental body, officer for public information, or agent, as applicable, does not receive a written response from the requestor, the underlying request for public information is considered to have been withdrawn by the requestor.

(e)  A written request for clarification or discussion under Subsection (b) or a written request for additional information under Subsection (c) must include a statement as to the consequences of the failure by the requestor to timely respond to the request for clarification, discussion, or additional information.

(f)  If the requestor's request for public information included the requestor's physical or mailing address, the request may not be considered to have been withdrawn under Subsection (d) unless the governmental body, officer for public information, or agent, as applicable, sends the request for clarification or discussion under Subsection (b) or the written request for additional information under Subsection (c) to that address by certified mail.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 1035, Sec. 15, eff. Sept. 1, 1995; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1187, Sec. 5, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

Amended by:

Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 296, Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2007.



Section  552.223.  Uniform Treatment Of Requests For Information.

The officer for public information or the officer's agent shall treat all requests for information uniformly without regard to the position or occupation of the requestor, the person on whose behalf the request is made, or the status of the individual as a member of the media.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 1035, Sec. 15, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.



Section  552.224.  Comfort And Facility.

The officer for public information or the officer's agent shall give to a requestor all reasonable comfort and facility for the full exercise of the right granted by this chapter.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 1035, Sec. 15, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.



Section  552.225.  Time For Examination.

(a) A requestor must complete the examination of the information not later than the 10th business day after the date the custodian of the information makes it available.  If the requestor does not complete the examination of the information within 10 business days after the date the custodian of the information makes the information available and does not file a request for additional time under Subsection (b), the requestor is considered to have withdrawn the request.

(b)  The officer for public information shall extend the initial examination period by an additional 10 business days if, within the initial period, the requestor files with the officer for public information a written request for additional time.  The officer for public information shall extend an additional examination period by another 10 business days if, within the additional period, the requestor files with the officer for public information a written request for more additional time.

(c)  The time during which a person may examine information may be interrupted by the officer for public information if the information is needed for use by the governmental body. The period of interruption is not considered to be a part of the time during which the person may examine the information.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 1035, Sec. 15, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.

Amended by:

Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 329, Sec. 4, eff. September 1, 2005.



Section  552.226.  Removal Of Original Record.

This chapter does not authorize a requestor to remove an original copy of a public record from the office of a governmental body.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 1035, Sec. 15, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.



Section  552.227.  Research Of State Library Holdings Not Required.

An officer for public information or the officer's agent is not required to perform general research within the reference and research archives and holdings of state libraries.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 1035, Sec. 15, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.



Section 552.228.  Providing Suitable Copy Of Public Information Within Reasonable Time.

(a) It shall be a policy of a governmental body to provide a suitable copy of public information within a reasonable time after the date on which the copy is requested.

(b)  If public information exists in an electronic or magnetic medium, the requestor may request a copy in an electronic medium, such as on diskette or on magnetic tape.  A governmental body shall provide a copy in the requested medium if:

(1)  the governmental body has the technological ability to produce a copy of the requested information in the requested medium;

(2)  the governmental body is not required to purchase any software or hardware to accommodate the request; and

(3)  provision of a copy of the information in the requested medium will not violate the terms of any copyright agreement between the governmental body and a third party.

(c)  If a governmental body is unable to comply with a request to produce a copy of information in a requested medium for any of the reasons described by this section, the governmental body shall provide a copy in another medium that is acceptable to the requestor.  A governmental body is not required to copy information onto a diskette or other material provided by the requestor but may use its own supplies.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 1035, Sec. 15, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.

Amended by:

Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 962, Sec. 8, eff. September 1, 2009.



Section  552.229.  Consent To Release Information Under Special Right Of Access.

(a) Consent for the release of information excepted from disclosure to the general public but available to a specific person under Sections 552.023 and 552.307 must be in writing and signed by the specific person or the person's authorized representative.

(b)  An individual under 18 years of age may consent to the release of information under this section only with the additional written authorization of the individual's parent or guardian.

(c)  An individual who has been adjudicated incompetent to manage the individual's personal affairs or for whom an attorney ad litem has been appointed may consent to the release of information under this section only by the written authorization of the designated legal guardian or attorney ad litem.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993.



Section  552.230.  Rules Of Procedure For Inspection And Copying Of Public Information.

(a) A governmental body may promulgate reasonable rules of procedure under which public information may be inspected and copied efficiently, safely, and without delay.

(b)  A rule promulgated under Subsection (a) may not be inconsistent with any provision of this chapter.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 1035, Sec. 15, eff. Sept. 1, 1995; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1231, Sec. 3, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.



Section  552.231.  Responding To Requests For Information That Require Programming Or Manipulation Of Data.

(a) A governmental body shall provide to a requestor the written statement described by Subsection (b) if the governmental body determines:

(1)  that responding to a request for public information will require programming or manipulation of data; and

(2)  that:

(A)  compliance with the request is not feasible or will result in substantial interference with its ongoing operations; or

(B)  the information could be made available in the requested form only at a cost that covers the programming and manipulation of data.

(b)  The written statement must include:

(1)  a statement that the information is not available in the requested form;

(2)  a description of the form in which the information is available;

(3)  a description of any contract or services that would be required to provide the information in the requested form;

(4)  a statement of the estimated cost of providing the information in the requested form, as determined in accordance with the rules established by the attorney general under Section 552.262; and

(5)  a statement of the anticipated time required to provide the information in the requested form.

(c)  The governmental body shall provide the written statement to the requestor within 20 days after the date of the governmental body's receipt of the request. The governmental body has an additional 10 days to provide the statement if the governmental body gives written notice to the requestor, within 20 days after the date of receipt of the request, that the additional time is needed.

(d)  On providing the written statement to the requestor as required by this section, the governmental body does not have any further obligation to provide the information in the requested form or in the form in which it is available unless within 30 days the requestor states in writing to the governmental body that the requestor:

(1)  wants the governmental body to provide the information in the requested form according to the cost and time parameters set out in the statement or according to other terms to which the requestor and the governmental body agree; or

(2)  wants the information in the form in which it is available.

(d-1)  If a requestor does not make a timely written statement under Subsection (d), the requestor is considered to have withdrawn the request for information.

(e)  The officer for public information of a governmental body shall establish policies that assure the expeditious and accurate processing of requests for information that require programming or manipulation of data. A governmental body shall maintain a file containing all written statements issued under this section in a readily accessible location.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 1035, Sec. 15, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.

Amended by:

Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 329, Sec. 5, eff. September 1, 2005.

Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 716, Sec. 4, eff. September 1, 2005.



Section  552.232.  Responding To Repetitious Or Redundant Requests.

(a) A governmental body that determines that a requestor has made a request for information for which the governmental body has previously furnished copies to the requestor or made copies available to the requestor on payment of applicable charges under Subchapter F, shall respond to the request, in relation to the information for which copies have been already furnished or made available, in accordance with this section, except that:

(1)  this section does not prohibit the governmental body from furnishing the information or making the information available to the requestor again in accordance with the request; and

(2)  the governmental body is not required to comply with this section in relation to information that the governmental body simply furnishes or makes available to the requestor again in accordance with the request.

(b)  The governmental body shall certify to the requestor that copies of all or part of the requested information, as applicable, were previously furnished to the requestor or made available to the requestor on payment of applicable charges under Subchapter F. The certification must include:

(1)  a description of the information for which copies have been previously furnished or made available to the requestor;

(2)  the date that the governmental body received the requestor's original request for that information;

(3)  the date that the governmental body previously furnished copies of or made available copies of the information to the requestor;

(4)  a certification that no subsequent additions, deletions, or corrections have been made to that information; and

(5)  the name, title, and signature of the officer for public information or the officer's agent making the certification.

(c)  A charge may not be imposed for making and furnishing a certification required under Subsection (b).

(d)  This section does not apply to information for which the governmental body has not previously furnished copies to the requestor or made copies available to the requestor on payment of applicable charges under Subchapter F. A request by the requestor for information for which copies have not previously been furnished or made available to the requestor, including information for which copies were not furnished or made available because the information was redacted from other information that was furnished or made available or because the information did not yet exist at the time of an earlier request, shall be treated in the same manner as any other request for information under this chapter.

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1319, Sec. 13, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.



Subchapter F. Charges For Providing Copies Of Public Information

Section  552.261.  Charge For Providing Copies Of Public Information.

(a) The charge for providing a copy of public information shall be an amount that reasonably includes all costs related to reproducing the public information, including costs of materials, labor, and overhead. If a request is for 50 or fewer pages of paper records, the charge for providing the copy of the public information may not include costs of materials, labor, or overhead, but shall be limited to the charge for each page of the paper record that is photocopied, unless the pages to be photocopied are located in:

(1)  two or more separate buildings that are not physically connected with each other; or

(2)  a remote storage facility.

(b)  If the charge for providing a copy of public information includes costs of labor, the requestor may require the governmental body's officer for public information or the officer's agent to provide the requestor with a written statement as to the amount of time that was required to produce and provide the copy. The statement must be signed by the officer for public information or the officer's agent and the officer's or the agent's name must be typed or legibly printed below the signature. A charge may not be imposed for providing the written statement to the requestor.

(c)  For purposes of Subsection (a), a connection of two buildings by a covered or open sidewalk, an elevated or underground passageway, or a similar facility is insufficient to cause the buildings to be considered separate buildings.

(d)  Charges for providing a copy of public information are considered to accrue at the time the governmental body advises the requestor that the copy is available on payment of the applicable charges.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 1035, Sec. 16, eff. Sept. 1, 1995; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1231, Sec. 4, eff. Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1319, Sec. 14, eff. Sept. 1, 1999; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 864, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.



Section  552.2615.  Required Itemized Estimate Of Charges.

(a) If a request for a copy of public information will result in the imposition of a charge under this subchapter that exceeds $40, or a request to inspect a paper record will result in the imposition of a charge under Section 552.271 that exceeds $40, the governmental body shall provide the requestor with a written itemized statement that details all estimated charges that will be imposed, including any allowable charges for labor or personnel costs.  If an alternative less costly method of viewing the records is available, the statement must include a notice that the requestor may contact the governmental body regarding the alternative method.  The governmental body must inform the requestor of the responsibilities imposed on the requestor by this section and of the rights granted by this entire section and give the requestor the information needed to respond, including:

(1)  that the requestor must provide the governmental body with a mailing, facsimile transmission, or electronic mail address to receive the itemized statement and that it is the requestor's choice which type of address to provide;

(2)  that the request is considered automatically withdrawn if the requestor does not respond in writing to the itemized statement and any updated itemized statement in the time and manner required by this section; and

(3)  that the requestor may respond to the statement by delivering the written response to the governmental body by mail, in person, by facsimile transmission if the governmental body is capable of receiving documents transmitted in that manner, or by electronic mail if the governmental body has an electronic mail address.

(b)  A request described by Subsection (a) is considered to have been withdrawn by the requestor if the requestor does not respond in writing to the itemized statement by informing the governmental body within 10 business days after the date the statement is sent to the requestor that:

(1)  the requestor will accept the estimated charges;

(2)  the requestor is modifying the request in response to the itemized statement; or

(3)  the requestor has sent to the attorney general a complaint alleging that the requestor has been overcharged for being provided with a copy of the public information.

(c)  If the governmental body later determines, but before it makes the copy or the paper record available, that the estimated charges will exceed the charges detailed in the written itemized statement by 20 percent or more, the governmental body shall send to the requestor a written updated itemized statement that details all estimated charges that will be imposed, including any allowable charges for labor or personnel costs. If the requestor does not respond in writing to the updated estimate in the time and manner described by Subsection (b), the request is considered to have been withdrawn by the requestor.

(d)  If the actual charges that a governmental body imposes for a copy of public information, or for inspecting a paper record under Section 552.271, exceeds $40, the charges may not exceed:

(1)  the amount estimated in the updated itemized statement; or

(2)  if an updated itemized statement is not sent to the requestor, an amount that exceeds by 20 percent or more the amount estimated in the itemized statement.

(e)  An itemized statement or updated itemized statement is considered to have been sent by the governmental body to the requestor on the date that:

(1)  the statement is delivered to the requestor in person;

(2)  the governmental body deposits the properly addressed statement in the United States mail; or

(3)  the governmental body transmits the properly addressed statement by electronic mail or facsimile transmission, if the requestor agrees to receive the statement by electronic mail or facsimile transmission, as applicable.

(f)  A requestor is considered to have responded to the itemized statement or the updated itemized statement on the date that:

(1)  the response is delivered to the governmental body in person;

(2)  the requestor deposits the properly addressed response in the United States mail; or

(3)  the requestor transmits the properly addressed response to the governmental body by electronic mail or facsimile transmission.

(g)  The time deadlines imposed by this section do not affect the application of a time deadline imposed on a governmental body under Subchapter G.

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1319, Sec. 15, eff. Sept. 1, 1999. Amended by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 864, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

Amended by:

Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 329, Sec. 6, eff. September 1, 2005.

Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 716, Sec. 5, eff. September 1, 2005.



Section 552.262.  Rules Of The Attorney General.

(a) The attorney general shall adopt rules for use by each governmental body in determining charges for providing copies of public information under this subchapter and in determining the charge, deposit, or bond required for making public information that exists in a paper record available for inspection as authorized by Sections 552.271(c) and (d).  The rules adopted by the attorney general shall be used by each governmental body in determining charges for providing copies of public information and in determining the charge, deposit, or bond required for making public information that exists in a paper record available for inspection, except to the extent that other law provides for charges for specific kinds of public information.  The charges for providing copies of public information may not be excessive and may not exceed the actual cost of producing the information or for making public information that exists in a paper record available for inspection.  A governmental body, other than an agency of state government, may determine its own charges for providing copies of public information and its own charge, deposit, or bond for making public information that exists in a paper record available for inspection but may not charge an amount that is greater than 25 percent more than the amount established by the attorney general unless the governmental body requests an exemption under Subsection (c).

(b)  The rules of the attorney general shall prescribe the methods for computing the charges for providing copies of public information in paper, electronic, and other kinds of media and the charge, deposit, or bond required for making public information that exists in a paper record available for inspection.  The rules shall establish costs for various components of charges for providing copies of public information that shall be used by each governmental body in providing copies of public information or making public information that exists in a paper record available for inspection.

(c)  A governmental body may request that it be exempt from part or all of the rules adopted by the attorney general for determining charges for providing copies of public information or the charge, deposit, or bond required for making public information that exists in a paper record available for inspection.  The request must be made in writing to the attorney general and must state the reason for the exemption.  If the attorney general determines that good cause exists for exempting a governmental body from a part or all of the rules, the attorney general shall give written notice of the determination to the governmental body within 90 days of the request.  On receipt of the determination, the governmental body may amend its charges for providing copies of public information or its charge, deposit, or bond required for making public information that exists in a paper record available for inspection according to the determination of the attorney general.

(d)  The attorney general shall publish annually in the Texas Register a list of the governmental bodies that have authorization from the attorney general to adopt any modified rules for determining the cost of providing copies of public information or making public information that exists in a paper record available for inspection.

(e)  The rules of the attorney general do not apply to a state governmental body that is not a state agency for purposes of Subtitle D, Title 10.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 1035, Sec. 17, eff. Sept. 1, 1995; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1231, Sec. 4, eff. Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1319, Sec. 16, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.

Amended by:

Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 329, Sec. 7, eff. September 1, 2005.

Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 716, Sec. 6, eff. September 1, 2005.



Section  552.263.  Bond For Payment Of Costs Or Cash Prepayment For Preparation Of Copy Of Public Information.

(a) An officer for public information or the officer's agent may require a deposit or bond for payment of anticipated costs for the preparation of a copy of public information if:

(1)  the officer for public information or the officer's agent has provided the requestor with the written itemized statement required under Section 552.2615 detailing the estimated charge for providing the copy; and

(2)  the charge for providing the copy of the public information specifically requested by the requestor is estimated by the governmental body to exceed:

(A)  $100, if the governmental body has more than 15 full-time employees; or

(B)  $50, if the governmental body has fewer than 16 full-time employees.

(b)  The officer for public information or the officer's agent may not require a deposit or bond be paid under Subsection (a) as a down payment for copies of public information that the requestor may request in the future.

(c)  An officer for public information or the officer's agent may require a deposit or bond for payment of unpaid amounts owing to the governmental body in relation to previous requests that the requestor has made under this chapter before preparing a copy of public information in response to a new request if those unpaid amounts exceed $100. The officer for public information or the officer's agent may not seek payment of those unpaid amounts through any other means.

(d)  The governmental body must fully document the existence and amount of those unpaid amounts or the amount of any anticipated costs, as applicable, before requiring a deposit or bond under this section. The documentation is subject to required public disclosure under this chapter.

(e)  For purposes of Subchapters F and G, a request for a copy of public information is considered to have been received by a governmental body on the date the governmental body receives the deposit or bond for payment of anticipated costs or unpaid amounts if the governmental body's officer for public information or the officer's agent requires a deposit or bond in accordance with this section.

(f)  A requestor who fails to make a deposit or post a bond required under Subsection (a) before the 10th business day after the date the deposit or bond is required is considered to have withdrawn the request for the copy of the public information that precipitated the requirement of the deposit or bond.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 1035, Sec. 17, eff. Sept. 1, 1995; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1231, Sec. 4, eff. Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1319, Sec. 17, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.

Amended by:

Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 315, Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2005.

Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 349, Sec. 1, eff. June 15, 2007.

Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 1377, Sec. 6, eff. September 1, 2009.



Section  552.264.  Copy Of Public Information Requested By Member Of Legislature.

One copy of public information that is requested from a state agency by a member, agency, or committee of the legislature under Section 552.008 shall be provided without charge.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 1035, Sec. 17, eff. Sept. 1, 1995; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1231, Sec. 4, eff. Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1585, Sec. 1, eff. June 20, 1999.



Section  552.265.  Charge For Paper Copy Provided By District Or County Clerk.

The charge for providing a paper copy made by a district or county clerk's office shall be the charge provided by Chapter 51 of this code, Chapter 118, Local Government Code, or other applicable law.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1231, Sec. 4, eff. Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1155, Sec. 1, eff. June 15, 2001.



Section  552.266.  Charge For Copy Of Public Information Provided By Municipal Court Clerk.

The charge for providing a copy made by a municipal court clerk shall be the charge provided by municipal ordinance.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 1035, Sec. 17, eff. Sept. 1, 1995; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1231, Sec. 4, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.



Section  552.267.  Waiver Or Reduction Of Charge For Providing Copy Of Public Information.

(a) A governmental body shall provide a copy of public information without charge or at a reduced charge if the governmental body determines that waiver or reduction of the charge is in the public interest because providing the copy of the information primarily benefits the general public.

(b)  If the cost to a governmental body of processing the collection of a charge for providing a copy of public information will exceed the amount of the charge, the governmental body may waive the charge.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 1035, Sec. 17, eff. Sept. 1, 1995; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1231, Sec. 4, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.



Section  552.268.  Efficient Use Of Public Resources.

A governmental body shall make reasonably efficient use of supplies and other resources to avoid excessive reproduction costs.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 1035, Sec. 17, eff. Sept. 1, 1995; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1231, Sec. 4, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.



Section 552.269.  Overcharge Or Overpayment For Copy Of Public Information.

(a) A person who believes the person has been overcharged for being provided with a copy of public information may complain to the attorney general in writing of the alleged overcharge, setting forth the reasons why the person believes the charges are excessive.  The attorney general shall review the complaint and make a determination in writing as to the appropriate charge for providing the copy of the requested information.  The governmental body shall respond to the attorney general to any written questions asked of the governmental body by the attorney general regarding the charges for providing the copy of the public information.  The response must be made to the attorney general within 10 business days after the date the questions are received by the governmental body.  If the attorney general determines that a governmental body has overcharged for providing the copy of requested public information, the governmental body shall promptly adjust its charges in accordance with the determination of the attorney general.

(b)  A person who overpays for a copy of public information because a governmental body refuses or fails to follow the rules for charges adopted by the attorney general is entitled to recover three times the amount of the overcharge if the governmental body did not act in good faith in computing the costs.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 1035, Sec. 17, eff. Sept. 1, 1995; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1231, Sec. 4, eff. Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 864, Sec. 3, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

Amended by:

Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 329, Sec. 8, eff. September 1, 2005.

Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 716, Sec. 7, eff. September 1, 2005.



Section  552.270.  Charge For Government Publication.

(a) This subchapter does not apply to a publication that is compiled and printed by or for a governmental body for public dissemination. If the cost of the publication is not determined by state law, a governmental body may determine the charge for providing the publication.

(b)  This section does not prohibit a governmental body from providing a publication free of charge if state law does not require that a certain charge be made.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 1035, Sec. 17, eff. Sept. 1, 1995. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1231, Sec. 4, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.



Section  552.271.  Inspection Of Public Information In Paper Record If Copy Not Requested.

(a) If the requestor does not request a copy of public information, a charge may not be imposed for making available for inspection any public information that exists in a paper record, except as provided by this section.

(b)  If a requested page contains confidential information that must be edited from the record before the information can be made available for inspection, the governmental body may charge for the cost of making a photocopy of the page from which confidential information must be edited. No charge other than the cost of the photocopy may be imposed under this subsection.

(c)  Except as provided by Subsection (d), an officer for public information or the officer's agent may require a requestor to pay, or to make a deposit or post a bond for the payment of, anticipated personnel costs for making available for inspection public information that exists in paper records only if:

(1)  the public information specifically requested by the requestor:

(A)  is older than five years; or

(B)  completely fills, or when assembled will completely fill, six or more archival boxes; and

(2)  the officer for public information or the officer's agent estimates that more than five hours will be required to make the public information available for inspection.

(d)  If the governmental body has fewer than 16 full-time employees, the payment, the deposit, or the bond authorized by Subsection (c) may be required only if:

(1)  the public information specifically requested by the requestor:

(A)  is older than three years; or

(B)  completely fills, or when assembled will completely fill, three or more archival boxes; and

(2)  the officer for public information or the officer's agent estimates that more than two hours will be required to make the public information available for inspection.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 1035, Sec. 17, eff. Sept. 1, 1995. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1231, Sec. 4, eff. Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1319, Sec. 18, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.



Section  552.272.  Inspection Of Electronic Record If Copy Not Requested.

(a) In response to a request to inspect information that exists in an electronic medium and that is not available directly on-line to the requestor, a charge may not be imposed for access to the information, unless complying with the request will require programming or manipulation of data. If programming or manipulation of data is required, the governmental body shall notify the requestor before assembling the information and provide the requestor with an estimate of charges that will be imposed to make the information available. A charge under this section must be assessed in accordance with this subchapter.

(b)  If public information exists in an electronic form on a computer owned or leased by a governmental body and if the public has direct access to that computer through a computer network or other means, the electronic form of the information may be electronically copied from that computer without charge if accessing the information does not require processing, programming, or manipulation on the government-owned or government-leased computer before the information is copied.

(c)  If public information exists in an electronic form on a computer owned or leased by a governmental body and if the public has direct access to that computer through a computer network or other means and the information requires processing, programming, or manipulation before it can be electronically copied, a governmental body may impose charges in accordance with this subchapter.

(d)  If information is created or kept in an electronic form, a governmental body is encouraged to explore options to separate out confidential information and to make public information available to the public through electronic access through a computer network or by other means.

(e)  The provisions of this section that prohibit a governmental entity from imposing a charge for access to information that exists in an electronic medium do not apply to the collection of a fee set by the supreme court after consultation with the Judicial Committee on Information Technology as authorized by Section 77.031 for the use of a computerized electronic judicial information system.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 1035, Sec. 17, eff. Sept. 1, 1995. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1231, Sec. 4, eff. Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1327, Sec. 5, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.



Section 552.274.  Reports By Attorney General And State Agencies On Cost Of Copies.

(a) The attorney general shall:

(1)  biennially update a report prepared by the attorney general about the charges made by state agencies for providing copies of public information; and

(2)  provide a copy of the updated report on the attorney general's open records page on the Internet not later than March 1 of each even-numbered year.

 

Text of subsection as amended by Acts 2005, 79th Leg., R.S., Ch. 329, Sec. 9

 

(b)    Before the 30th day after the date on which a regular session of the legislature convenes, each state agency shall issue a report that describes that agency's procedures for charging and collecting fees for providing copies of public information.  A state agency may comply with this subsection by posting the report on the agency's open records page or another easily accessible page on the agency's website on the Internet.

 

Text of subsection as amended by Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 716, Sec. 9

 

(b)  Not later than December 1 of each odd-numbered year, each state agency shall provide the attorney general detailed information, for use by the attorney general in preparing the report required by Subsection (a), describing the agency's procedures for charging and collecting fees for providing copies of public information.

(c)  In this section, "state agency" has the meaning assigned by Sections 2151.002(2)(A) and (C).

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 693, Sec. 17, eff. Sept. 1, 1995. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 17.19, eff. Sept. 1, 1997. Renumbered from Government Code Sec. 552.270 by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 31.01(47), eff. Sept. 1, 1997. Renumbered from Government Code Sec. 552.270 and amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1231, Sec. 4, eff. Sept. 1, 1997. Amended by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1319, Sec. 19, eff. Sept. 1, 1999; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1420, Sec. 9.008(a), eff. Sept. 1, 2001.

Amended by:

Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 329, Sec. 9, eff. September 1, 2005.

Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 716, Sec. 8, eff. September 1, 2005.

Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 716, Sec. 9, eff. September 1, 2005.

Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 1377, Sec. 7, eff. September 1, 2009.



Section 552.275.  Requests That Require Large Amounts Of Employee Or Personnel Time.

(a) A governmental body may establish a reasonable limit on the amount of time that personnel of the governmental body are required to spend producing public information for inspection or duplication by a requestor, or providing copies of public information to a requestor, without recovering its costs attributable to that personnel time.

(b)  A time limit established under Subsection (a) may not be less than 36 hours for a requestor during the 12-month period that corresponds to the fiscal year of the governmental body.

(c)  In determining whether a time limit established under Subsection (a) applies, any time spent complying with a request for public information submitted in the name of a minor, as defined by Section 101.003(a), Family Code, is to be included in the calculation of the cumulative amount of time spent complying with a request for public information by a parent, guardian, or other person who has control of the minor under a court order and with whom the minor resides, unless that parent, guardian, or other person establishes that another person submitted that request in the name of the minor.

(d)  If a governmental body establishes a time limit under Subsection (a), each time the governmental body complies with a request for public information, the governmental body shall provide the requestor with a written statement of the amount of personnel time spent complying with that request and the cumulative amount of time spent complying with requests for public information from that requestor during the applicable 12-month period.  The amount of time spent preparing the written statement may not be included in the amount of time included in the statement provided to the requestor under this subsection.

(e)  If in connection with a request for public information, the cumulative amount of personnel time spent complying with requests for public information from the same requestor equals or exceeds the limit established by the governmental body under Subsection (a), the governmental body shall provide the requestor with a written estimate of the total cost, including materials, personnel time, and overhead expenses, necessary to comply with the request.  The written estimate must be provided to the requestor on or before the 10th day after the date on which the public information was requested.  The amount of this charge relating to the cost of locating, compiling, and producing the public information shall be established by rules prescribed by the attorney general under Sections 552.262(a) and (b).

(f)  If the governmental body determines that additional time is required to prepare the written estimate under Subsection (e) and provides the requestor with a written statement of that determination, the governmental body must provide the written statement under that subsection as soon as practicable, but on or before the 10th day after the date the governmental body provided the statement under this subsection.

(g)  If a governmental body provides a requestor with the written statement under Subsection (e), the governmental body is not required to produce public information for inspection or duplication or to provide copies of public information in response to the requestor's request unless on or before the 10th day after the date the governmental body provided the written statement under that subsection, the requestor submits a statement in writing to the governmental body in which the requestor commits to pay the  lesser of:

(1)  the actual costs incurred in complying with the requestor's request, including the cost of materials and personnel time and overhead; or

(2)  the amount stated in the written statement provided under Subsection (e).

(h)  If the requestor fails or refuses to submit the written statement under Subsection (g), the requestor is considered to have withdrawn the requestor's pending request for public information.

(i)  This section does not prohibit a governmental body from providing a copy of public information without charge or at a reduced rate under Section 552.267 or from waiving a charge for providing a copy of public information under that section.

(j)  This section does not apply if the requestor is an individual who, for a substantial portion of the individual's livelihood or for substantial financial gain, gathers, compiles, prepares, collects, photographs, records, writes, edits, reports, investigates, processes, or publishes news or information for and is seeking the information for:

(1)  a radio or television broadcast station that holds a broadcast license for an assigned frequency issued by the Federal Communications Commission;

(2)  a newspaper that is qualified under Section 2051.044 to publish legal notices or is a free newspaper of general circulation and that is published at least once a week and available and of interest to the general public in connection with the dissemination of news;

(3)  a newspaper of general circulation that is published on the Internet by a news medium engaged in the business of disseminating news or information to the general public; or

(4)  a magazine that is published at least once a week or on the Internet by a news medium engaged in the business of disseminating news or information to the general public.

(k)  This section does not apply if the requestor is an elected official of the United States, this state, or a political subdivision of this state.

(l)  This section does not apply if the requestor is a representative of a publicly funded legal services organization that is exempt from federal income taxation under Section 501(a), Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, by being listed as an exempt entity under Section 501(c)(3) of that code.

Added by Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1398, Sec. 1, eff. June 15, 2007.

Amended by:

Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 1383, Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2009.



Subchapter G. Attorney General Decisions

Section  552.301.  Request For Attorney General Decision.

(a) A governmental body that receives a written request for information that it wishes to withhold from public disclosure and that it considers to be within one of the exceptions under Subchapter C must ask for a decision from the attorney general about whether the information is within that exception if there has not been a previous determination about whether the information falls within one of the exceptions.

(b)  The governmental body must ask for the attorney general's decision and state the exceptions that apply within a reasonable time but not later than the 10th business day after the date of receiving the written request.

(c)  For purposes of this subchapter, a written request includes a request made in writing that is sent to the officer for public information, or the person designated by that officer, by electronic mail or facsimile transmission.

(d)  A governmental body that requests an attorney general decision under Subsection (a) must provide to the requestor within a reasonable time but not later than the 10th business day after the date of receiving the requestor's written request:

(1)  a written statement that the governmental body wishes to withhold the requested information and has asked for a decision from the attorney general about whether the information is within an exception to public disclosure; and

(2)  a copy of the governmental body's written communication to the attorney general asking for the decision or, if the governmental body's written communication to the attorney general discloses the requested information, a redacted copy of that written communication.

(e)  A governmental body that requests an attorney general decision under Subsection (a) must within a reasonable time but not later than the 15th business day after the date of receiving the written request:

(1)  submit to the attorney general:

(A)  written comments stating the reasons why the stated exceptions apply that would allow the information to be withheld;

(B)  a copy of the written request for information;

(C)  a signed statement as to the date on which the written request for information was received by the governmental body or evidence sufficient to establish that date; and

(D)  a copy of the specific information requested, or submit representative samples of the information if a voluminous amount of information was requested; and

(2)  label that copy of the specific information, or of the representative samples, to indicate which exceptions apply to which parts of the copy.

(e-1)  A governmental body that submits written comments to the attorney general under Subsection (e)(1)(A) shall send a copy of those comments to the person who requested the information from the governmental body not later than the 15th business day after the date of receiving the written request.  If the written comments disclose or contain the substance of the information requested, the copy of the comments provided to the person must be a redacted copy.

(f)  A governmental body must release the requested information and is prohibited from asking for a decision from the attorney general about whether information requested under this chapter is within an exception under Subchapter C if:

(1)  the governmental body has previously requested and received a determination from the attorney general concerning the precise information at issue in a pending request; and

(2)  the attorney general or a court determined that the information is public information under this chapter that is not excepted by Subchapter C.

(g)  A governmental body may ask for another decision from the attorney general concerning the precise information that was at issue in a prior decision made by the attorney general under this subchapter if:

(1)  a suit challenging the prior decision was timely filed against the attorney general in accordance with this chapter concerning the precise information at issue;

(2)  the attorney general determines that the requestor has voluntarily withdrawn the request for the information in writing or has abandoned the request; and

(3)  the parties agree to dismiss the lawsuit.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 1035, Sec. 18, eff. Sept. 1, 1995; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1231, Sec. 5, eff. Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1319, Sec. 20, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.

Amended by:

Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 329, Sec. 10, eff. September 1, 2005.

Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 474, Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2007.

Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 1377, Sec. 8, eff. September 1, 2009.



Section 552.302.  Failure To Make Timely Request For Attorney General Decision; Presumption That Information Is Public.

If a governmental body does not request an attorney general decision as provided by Section 552.301 and provide the requestor with the information required by Sections 552.301(d) and (e-1), the information requested in writing is presumed to be subject to required public disclosure and must be released unless there is a compelling reason to withhold the information.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993. Amended by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1319, Sec. 21, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.

Amended by:

Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 329, Sec. 11, eff. September 1, 2005.



Section  552.303.  Delivery Of Requested Information To Attorney General; Disclosure Of Requested Information; Attorney General Request For Submission Of Additional Information. (a)

A governmental body that requests an attorney general decision under this subchapter shall supply to the attorney general, in accordance with Section 552.301, the specific information requested. Unless the information requested is confidential by law, the governmental body may disclose the requested information to the public or to the requestor before the attorney general makes a final determination that the requested information is public or, if suit is filed under this chapter, before a final determination that the requested information is public has been made by the court with jurisdiction over the suit, except as otherwise provided by Section 552.322.

(b)  The attorney general may determine whether a governmental body's submission of information to the attorney general under Section 552.301 is sufficient to render a decision.

(c)  If the attorney general determines that information in addition to that required by Section 552.301 is necessary to render a decision, the attorney general shall give written notice of that fact to the governmental body and the requestor.

(d)  A governmental body notified under Subsection (c) shall submit the necessary additional information to the attorney general not later than the seventh calendar day after the date the notice is received.

(e)  If a governmental body does not comply with Subsection (d), the information that is the subject of a person's request to the governmental body and regarding which the governmental body fails to comply with Subsection (d) is presumed to be subject to required public disclosure and must be released unless there exists a compelling reason to withhold the information.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 1035, Sec. 19, eff. Sept. 1, 1995; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1319, Sec. 22, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.



Section  552.3035.  Disclosure Of Requested Information By Attorney General.

The attorney general may not disclose to the requestor or the public any information submitted to the attorney general under Section 552.301(e)(1)(D).

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1319, Sec. 23, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.



Section 552.304.  Submission Of Public Comments.

(a) A person may submit written comments stating reasons why the information at issue in a request for an attorney general decision should or should not be released.

(b)  A person who submits written comments to the attorney general under Subsection (a) shall send a copy of those comments to both the person who requested the information from the governmental body and the governmental body.  If the written comments submitted to the attorney general disclose or contain the substance of the information requested from the governmental body, the copy of the comments sent to the person who requested the information must be a redacted copy.

(c)  In this section, "written comments" includes a letter, a memorandum, or a brief.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 1035, Sec. 20, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.

Amended by:

Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 329, Sec. 12, eff. September 1, 2005.



Section  552.305.  Information Involving Privacy Or Property Interests Of Third Party. (a) In A Case In

which information is requested under this chapter and a person's privacy or property interests may be involved, including a case under Section 552.101, 552.104, 552.110, or 552.114, a governmental body may decline to release the information for the purpose of requesting an attorney general decision.

(b)  A person whose interests may be involved under Subsection (a), or any other person, may submit in writing to the attorney general the person's reasons why the information should be withheld or released.

(c)  The governmental body may, but is not required to, submit its reasons why the information should be withheld or released.

(d)  If release of a person's proprietary information may be subject to exception under Section 552.101, 552.110, 552.113, or 552.131, the governmental body that requests an attorney general decision under Section 552.301 shall make a good faith attempt to notify that person of the request for the attorney general decision. Notice under this subsection must:

(1)  be in writing and sent within a reasonable time not later than the 10th business day after the date the governmental body receives the request for the information; and

(2)  include:

(A)  a copy of the written request for the information, if any, received by the governmental body; and

(B)  a statement, in the form prescribed by the attorney general, that the person is entitled to submit in writing to the attorney general within a reasonable time not later than the 10th business day after the date the person receives the notice:

(i)  each reason the person has as to why the information should be withheld; and

(ii)  a letter, memorandum, or brief in support of that reason.

(e)  A person who submits a letter, memorandum, or brief to the attorney general under Subsection (d) shall send a copy of that letter, memorandum, or brief to the person who requested the information from the governmental body. If the letter, memorandum, or brief submitted to the attorney general contains the substance of the information requested, the copy of the letter, memorandum, or brief may be a redacted copy.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 1035, Sec. 21, eff. Sept. 1, 1995; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1319, Sec. 24, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.



Section  552.306.  Rendition Of Attorney General Decision; Issuance Of Written Opinion.

(a) Except as provided by Section 552.011, the attorney general shall promptly render a decision requested under this subchapter, consistent with the standards of due process, determining whether the requested information is within one of the exceptions of Subchapter C.  The attorney general shall render the decision not later than the 45th business day after the date the attorney general received the request for a decision.  If the attorney general is unable to issue the decision within the 45-day period, the attorney general may extend the period for issuing the decision by an additional 10 business days by informing the governmental body and the requestor, during the original 45-day period, of the reason for the delay.

(b)  The attorney general shall issue a written opinion of the determination and shall provide a copy of the opinion to the requestor.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 1035, Sec. 22, eff. Jan. 1, 1996; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1319, Sec. 25, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.

Amended by:

Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 349, Sec. 2, eff. June 15, 2007.



Section  552.307.  Special Right Of Access; Attorney General Decisions.

(a) If a governmental body determines that information subject to a special right of access under Section 552.023 is exempt from disclosure under an exception of Subchapter C, other than an exception intended to protect the privacy interest of the requestor or the person whom the requestor is authorized to represent, the governmental body shall, before disclosing the information, submit a written request for a decision to the attorney general under the procedures of this subchapter.

(b)  If a decision is not requested under Subsection (a), the governmental body shall release the information to the person with a special right of access under Section 552.023 not later than the 10th business day after the date of receiving the request for information.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993.

Amended by:

Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 349, Sec. 3, eff. June 15, 2007.



Section  552.308.  Timeliness Of Action By United States Mail, Interagency Mail, Or Common Or Contract Carrier.

(a) When this subchapter requires a request, notice, or other document to be submitted or otherwise given to a person within a specified period, the requirement is met in a timely fashion if the document is sent to the person by first class United States mail or common or contract carrier properly addressed with postage or handling charges prepaid and:

(1)  it bears a post office cancellation mark or a receipt mark of a common or contract carrier indicating a time within that period; or

(2)  the person required to submit or otherwise give the document furnishes satisfactory proof that it was deposited in the mail or with a common or contract carrier within that period.

(b)  When this subchapter requires an agency of this state to submit or otherwise give to the attorney general within a specified period a request, notice, or other writing, the requirement is met in a timely fashion if:

(1)  the request, notice, or other writing is sent to the attorney general by interagency mail; and

(2)  the agency provides evidence sufficient to establish that the request, notice, or other writing was deposited in the interagency mail within that period.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 1035, Sec. 23, eff. Sept. 1, 1995. Amended by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1319, Sec. 26, eff. Sept. 1, 1999; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 909, Sec. 1, 2, eff. June 20, 2003.



Subchapter H. Civil Enforcement

Section  552.321.  Suit For Writ Of Mandamus.

(a) A requestor or the attorney general may file suit for a writ of mandamus compelling a governmental body to make information available for public inspection if the governmental body refuses to request an attorney general's decision as provided by Subchapter G or refuses to supply public information or information that the attorney general has determined is public information that is not excepted from disclosure under Subchapter C.

(b)  A suit filed by a requestor under this section must be filed in a district court for the county in which the main offices of the governmental body are located. A suit filed by the attorney general under this section must be filed in a district court of Travis County, except that a suit against a municipality with a population of 100,000 or less must be filed in a district court for the county in which the main offices of the municipality are located.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 1035, Sec. 24, eff. Sept. 1, 1995; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1319, Sec. 27, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.



Section  552.3215.  Declaratory Judgment Or Injunctive Relief.

(a) In this section:

(1)  "Complainant" means a person who claims to be the victim of a violation of this chapter.

(2)  "State agency" means a board, commission, department, office, or other agency that:

(A)  is in the executive branch of state government;

(B)  was created by the constitution or a statute of this state; and

(C)  has statewide jurisdiction.

(b)  An action for a declaratory judgment or injunctive relief may be brought in accordance with this section against a governmental body that violates this chapter.

(c)  The district or county attorney for the county in which a governmental body other than a state agency is located or the attorney general may bring the action in the name of the state only in a district court for that county. If the governmental body extends into more than one county, the action may be brought only in the county in which the administrative offices of the governmental body are located.

(d)  If the governmental body is a state agency, the Travis County district attorney or the attorney general may bring the action in the name of the state only in a district court of Travis County.

(e)  A complainant may file a complaint alleging a violation of this chapter. The complaint must be filed with the district or county attorney of the county in which the governmental body is located unless the governmental body is the district or county attorney. If the governmental body extends into more than one county, the complaint must be filed with the district or county attorney of the county in which the administrative offices of the governmental body are located. If the governmental body is a state agency, the complaint may be filed with the Travis County district attorney. If the governmental body is the district or county attorney, the complaint must be filed with the attorney general. To be valid, a complaint must:

(1)  be in writing and signed by the complainant;

(2)  state the name of the governmental body that allegedly committed the violation, as accurately as can be done by the complainant;

(3)  state the time and place of the alleged commission of the violation, as definitely as can be done by the complainant; and

(4)  in general terms, describe the violation.

(f)  A district or county attorney with whom the complaint is filed shall indicate on the face of the written complaint the date the complaint is filed.

(g)  Before the 31st day after the date a complaint is filed under Subsection (e), the district or county attorney shall:

(1)  determine whether:

(A)  the violation alleged in the complaint was committed; and

(B)  an action will be brought against the governmental body under this section; and

(2)  notify the complainant in writing of those determinations.

(h)  Notwithstanding Subsection (g)(1), if the district or county attorney believes that that official has a conflict of interest that would preclude that official from bringing an action under this section against the governmental body complained of, before the 31st day after the date the complaint was filed the county or district attorney shall inform the complainant of that official's belief and of the complainant's right to file the complaint with the attorney general. If the district or county attorney determines not to bring an action under this section, the district or county attorney shall:

(1)  include a statement of the basis for that determination; and

(2)  return the complaint to the complainant.

(i)  If the district or county attorney determines not to bring an action under this section, the complainant is entitled to file the complaint with the attorney general before the 31st day after the date the complaint is returned to the complainant. On receipt of the written complaint, the attorney general shall comply with each requirement in Subsections (g) and (h) in the time required by those subsections. If the attorney general decides to bring an action under this section against a governmental body located only in one county in response to the complaint, the attorney general must comply with Subsection (c).

(j)  An action may be brought under this section only if the official proposing to bring the action notifies the governmental body in writing of the official's determination that the alleged violation was committed and the governmental body does not cure the violation before the fourth day after the date the governmental body receives the notice.

(k)  An action authorized by this section is in addition to any other civil, administrative, or criminal action provided by this chapter or another law.

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1319, Sec. 28, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.



Section  552.322.  Discovery Of Information Under Protective Order Pending Final Determination.

In a suit filed under this chapter, the court may order that the information at issue may be discovered only under a protective order until a final determination is made.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993.



Section  552.323.  Assessment Of Costs Of Litigation And Reasonable Attorney Fees.

(a) In an action brought under Section 552.321 or 552.3215, the court shall assess costs of litigation and reasonable attorney fees incurred by a plaintiff who substantially prevails, except that the court may not assess those costs and fees against a governmental body if the court finds that the governmental body acted in reasonable reliance on:

(1)  a judgment or an order of a court applicable to the governmental body;

(2)  the published opinion of an appellate court; or

(3)  a written decision of the attorney general, including a decision issued under Subchapter G or an opinion issued under Section 402.042.

(b)  In an action brought under Section 552.324, the court may assess costs of litigation and reasonable attorney's fees incurred by a plaintiff or defendant who substantially prevails.  In exercising its discretion under this subsection, the court shall consider whether the conduct of the governmental body had a reasonable basis in law and whether the litigation was brought in good faith.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993. Amended by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1319, Sec. 29, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.

Amended by:

Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 1377, Sec. 9, eff. September 1, 2009.



Section 552.324.  Suit By Governmental Body.

(a) The only suit a governmental body may file seeking to withhold information from a requestor is a suit that:

(1)  is filed in a Travis County district court against the attorney general in accordance with Section 552.325; and

(2)  seeks declaratory relief from compliance with a decision by the attorney general issued under Subchapter G.

(b)  The governmental body must bring the suit not later than the 30th calendar day after the date the governmental body receives the decision of the attorney general determining that the requested information must be disclosed to the requestor.  If the governmental body does not bring suit within that period, the governmental body shall comply with the decision of the attorney general.  If a governmental body wishes to preserve an affirmative defense for its officer for public information as provided in Section 552.353(b)(3), suit must be filed within the deadline provided in Section 552.353(b)(3).

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 578, Sec. 1, eff. Aug. 28, 1995; Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 1035, Sec. 24, eff. Sept. 1, 1995. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 13.01, eff. Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1231, Sec. 9, eff. Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1319, Sec. 30, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.

Amended by:

Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 1377, Sec. 10, eff. September 1, 2009.



Section  552.325.  Parties To Suit Seeking To Withhold Information.

(a) A governmental body, officer for public information, or other person or entity that files a suit seeking to withhold information from a requestor may not file suit against the person requesting the information. The requestor is entitled to intervene in the suit.

(b)  The governmental body, officer for public information, or other person or entity that files the suit shall demonstrate to the court that the governmental body, officer for public information, or other person or entity made a timely good faith effort to inform the requestor, by certified mail or by another written method of notice that requires the return of a receipt, of:

(1)  the existence of the suit, including the subject matter and cause number of the suit and the court in which the suit is filed;

(2)  the requestor's right to intervene in the suit or to choose to not participate in the suit;

(3)  the fact that the suit is against the attorney general in Travis County district court; and

(4)  the address and phone number of the office of the attorney general.

(c)  If the attorney general enters into a proposed settlement that all or part of the information that is the subject of the suit should be withheld, the attorney general shall notify the requestor of that decision and, if the requestor has not intervened in the suit, of the requestor's right to intervene to contest the withholding. The attorney general shall notify the requestor:

(1)  in the manner required by the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure, if the requestor has intervened in the suit; or

(2)  by certified mail or by another written method of notice that requires the return of a receipt, if the requestor has not intervened in the suit.

(d)  The court shall allow the requestor a reasonable period to intervene after the attorney general attempts to give notice under Subsection (c)(2).

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 578, Sec. 1, eff. Aug. 28, 1995; Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 1035, Sec. 24, eff. Sept. 1, 1995. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 13.01, eff. Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1231, Sec. 9, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

Amended by:

Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 1377, Sec. 11, eff. September 1, 2009.



Section  552.326.  Failure To Raise Exceptions Before Attorney General.

(a) Except as provided by Subsection (b), the only exceptions to required disclosure within Subchapter C that a governmental body may raise in a suit filed under this chapter are exceptions that the governmental body properly raised before the attorney general in connection with its request for a decision regarding the matter under Subchapter G.

(b)  Subsection (a) does not prohibit a governmental body from raising an exception:

(1)  based on a requirement of federal law; or

(2)  involving the property or privacy interests of another person.

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1319, Sec. 31, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.



Section 552.327.  Dismissal Of Suit Due To Requestor's Withdrawal Or Abandonment Of Request.

A court may dismiss a suit challenging a decision of the attorney general brought in accordance with this chapter if:

(1)  all parties to the suit agree to the dismissal; and

(2)  the attorney general determines and represents to the court that the requestor has voluntarily withdrawn the request for information in writing or has abandoned the request.

Added by Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 474, Sec. 2, eff. September 1, 2007.



Subchapter I. Criminal Violations

Section  552.351.  Destruction, Removal, Or Alteration Of Public Information.

(a) A person commits an offense if the person wilfully destroys, mutilates, removes without permission as provided by this chapter, or alters public information.

(b)  An offense under this section is a misdemeanor punishable by:

(1)  a fine of not less than $25 or more than $4,000;

(2)  confinement in the county jail for not less than three days or more than three months; or

(3)  both the fine and confinement.

(c)  It is an exception to the application of Subsection (a) that the public information was transferred under Section 441.204.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 1035, Sec. 25, eff. Sept. 1, 1995; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 771, Sec. 2, eff. June 13, 2001.



Section  552.352.  Distribution Or Misuse Of Confidential Information.

(a) A person commits an offense if the person distributes information considered confidential under the terms of this chapter.

(a-1)  An officer or employee of a governmental body who obtains access to confidential information under Section 552.008 commits an offense if the officer or employee knowingly:

(1)  uses the confidential information for a purpose other than the purpose for which the information was received or for a purpose unrelated to the law that permitted the officer or employee to obtain access to the information, including solicitation of political contributions or solicitation of clients;

(2)  permits inspection of the confidential information by a person who is not authorized to inspect the information; or

(3)  discloses the confidential information to a person who is not authorized to receive the information.

(a-2)  For purposes of Subsection (a-1), a member of an advisory committee to a governmental body who obtains access to confidential information in that capacity is considered to be an officer or employee of the governmental body.

(b)  An offense under this section is a misdemeanor punishable by:

(1)  a fine of not more than $1,000;

(2)  confinement in the county jail for not more than six months; or

(3)  both the fine and confinement.

(c)  A violation under this section constitutes official misconduct.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993. Amended by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 249, Sec. 7.01, 7.02, eff. Sept. 1, 2003; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1089, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.



Section  552.353.  Failure Or Refusal Of Officer For Public Information To Provide Access To Or Copying Of Public Information.

(a) An officer for public information, or the officer's agent, commits an offense if, with criminal negligence, the officer or the officer's agent fails or refuses to give access to, or to permit or provide copying of, public information to a requestor as provided by this chapter.

(b)  It is an affirmative defense to prosecution under Subsection (a) that the officer for public information reasonably believed that public access to the requested information was not required and that:

(1)  the officer acted in reasonable reliance on a court order or a written interpretation of this chapter contained in an opinion of a court of record or of the attorney general issued under Subchapter G;

(2)  the officer requested a decision from the attorney general in accordance with Subchapter G, and the decision is pending; or

(3)  not later than the 10th calendar day after the date of receipt of a decision by the attorney general that the information is public, the officer or the governmental body for whom the defendant is the officer for public information filed a petition for a declaratory judgment against the attorney general in a Travis County district court seeking relief from compliance with the decision of the attorney general, as provided by Section 552.324, and the cause is pending.

(c)  It is an affirmative defense to prosecution under Subsection (a) that a person or entity has, not later than the 10th calendar day after the date of receipt by a governmental body of a decision by the attorney general that the information is public, filed a cause of action seeking relief from compliance with the decision of the attorney general, as provided by Section 552.325, and the cause is pending.

(d)  It is an affirmative defense to prosecution under Subsection (a) that the defendant is the agent of an officer for public information and that the agent reasonably relied on the written instruction of the officer for public information not to disclose the public information requested.

(e)  An offense under this section is a misdemeanor punishable by:

(1)  a fine of not more than $1,000;

(2)  confinement in the county jail for not more than six months; or

(3)  both the fine and confinement.

(f)  A violation under this section constitutes official misconduct.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 1035, Sec. 25, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.

Amended by:

Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 1377, Sec. 12, eff. September 1, 2009.


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