Tribpedia: Public Information Act

Tribpedia

The Texas Public Information Act is a state law that generally requires governmental agencies to release or make available for viewing official records upon written request, with some exceptions.

The Texas Attorney General has jurisdiction over how agencies ultimately administer the act, codified in Section 552 of the Government Code, issuing opinions about the types of documents that must remain ...

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Senate Committee Hears Testimony on Open Records Law

Texas's public records law tends to favor requesters. Legislators propose adjustments to the law every year. In advance of the 83rd session, the Senate Committee On Open Government heard from the public about potential problems with the law, including whether it is up to date given modern technology and whether it makes it too easy for citizens to file frivolous requests. 

Dallas Suburbs Lead in Attempts to Deny Public Records

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Among the state’s biggest cities, several sprawling Dallas-area suburbs tallied the highest rate of requests to Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott last year to keep government information secret, according to an investigation by the Center for Public IntegrityThe project also examined the cities’ batting averages in getting their requests approved by Abbott’s office.

State Rep. Charlie Geren, the head of the House Administration Committee, wrote a letter to his fellow House members saying that they were "under no legal obligation"to accommodate a Texas Tribune request to submit three years of tax returns.
State Rep. Charlie Geren, the head of the House Administration Committee, wrote a letter to his fellow House members saying that they were "under no legal obligation"to accommodate a Texas Tribune request to submit three years of tax returns.

With Transparency, There's Room to Improve

Lawmakers say they want transparency and that the public should be able to see their finances. But state disclosure requirements allow officeholders and candidates to report their financial interests vaguely enough to hide their interests.

Texas Gets a D+ in Public Integrity Study

Texas scored a 68 out of 100, coming in at 27th place in a national state integrity study. The state got high marks for auditing and for monitoring pension funds, but not as high for accountability of the governor and legislators.

TribWeek: Top Texas News for the Week of 12/19/11

Aaronson on Rick Perry's Texas Enterprise Fund, Aguliar on the DOJ's Joe Arpaio problem, Galbraith on the uncertainty about Texas' electric grid, Grissom and Schwartz of The New York Times on the latest in the Michael Morton case, Hamilton on the first leg of Perry's Iowa bus tour, Murphy and McLain unveil our new campaign finance database, Ramsey et al. go live with the first round of our 2012 election brackets, Root on a GOP rival's queries about Perry's pension play, M. Smith contrasts the various school finance lawsuits and Tan, Dehn and Murphy on a shortage of mental health professionals: The best of our best content from December 19-23, 2011.

President and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas speaks at the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce annual Economic Forecast event at the Hilton Hotel in Austin, TX - Dec. 16, 2011
President and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas speaks at the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce annual Economic Forecast event at the Hilton Hotel in Austin, TX - Dec. 16, 2011

Dallas Fed President: Indecision Stymies Economy

The engine is primed to rev up the national economy, but businesses aren’t putting the pedal to the metal, Richard K. Fisher, the president and CEO of the Dallas Federal Reserve, said today.

On the Records: Fact Checking Perry on Economy Claims

The Tribune loves infographics, including the recent one posted by the Perry campaign called “State of Texas Economy.” But like all claims made by a political campaign, it deserves the scrutiny of a fact-checking exercise. Many — but not all — of the assertions checked out, particularly when considering contextual data. 

The remains of a mobile home lie smoldering in a small subvision east of Bastrop where the wildfire went through earlier in the day on September 6, 2011.
The remains of a mobile home lie smoldering in a small subvision east of Bastrop where the wildfire went through earlier in the day on September 6, 2011.

On the Records: FEMA's Wildfire Spending

As wildfires continue to sweep across the state, the Federal Emergency Management Agency has authorized seven more grants to help Texas manage the flames. Although the figures for the grants given to Texas after June 2011 are not yet available, the Tribune decided to take a look at the $3.8 billion FEMA has given Texas to mitigate disasters.

Gov. Rick Perry in an interview with Tribune CEO and Editor-in-Chief Evan Smith
Gov. Rick Perry in an interview with Tribune CEO and Editor-in-Chief Evan Smith

DPS Can't Reveal Perry Security Cost, Purges Records

State officials said Friday they can’t reveal how much money taxpayers are spending to protect Gov. Rick Perry, including when he’s outside the state hunting for votes or money in a possible presidential race. The Department of Public Safety also disclosed that financial records of security costs compiled before 2008 have been “purged.”

TribWeek: Top Texas News for the Week of June 20, 2011

An Everybody-in-the-Pool effort on what's left to do in the special session, Ramshaw on a doozy of a congressional race shaping up, Aguilar on the debate over sanctuary cities and other immigration proposals, M. Smith on the state's used-up Rainy Day Fund, Grissom on efforts to kick the special interests out of an insurance fight, Dehn and Tan on whether the special session helps or hurts the governor's national ambitions, Galbraith and KUT Radio team up for a series on the long-term outlook for Central Texas water, Aaronson on government attempts to balance openness and privacy with data releases, yours truly on Amazon's run at a sales tax break, and Hamilton on an ethnic gap in higher education: The best of our best from June 20 to 24, 2011.

New Laws Push Government Transparency, Protect Privacy

In the wake of high-profile data breaches that left the personal information of millions of state workers exposed, state lawmakers are trying to strike a balance between promoting transparency and protecting records. Open government laws that passed this session will both require state agencies to put more information online and restrict some private information too.

Government Pay Update Completes UT System

We have a special update to the Tribune's government employee salary database, adding recently acquired salary data from the last six agencies missing from the the University of Texas System, Texas Woman's University and the Sabine River Authority. This update brings the total number of entities to 137, with salary data for more than 667,000 public employees.