It's Sunshine Week, the national movement to spark discussion about open government and public information.
Apparently, quite a few Texans know about the latter. Nearly 1 million requests have been filed with state agencies since September, according to the latest data:
|Right of Access||11,732|
Of course, nearly half these requests are routine and processed quickly by state agencies.
Even still, relatively few requests were denied by a referral to the Texas Attorney General's office, which issues rulings about whether agencies can protect data under the act's many exceptions. That's happened about 800 times since September, the records show. And, as one might imagine, the Department of Public Safety and Texas Department of Criminal Justice lead the list of agencies seeking exemptions. (They handle criminal investigations, which often are confidential).
The act is an important tool for the public and journalists to get access to information. But I've also argued that the agencies should get past the need for the TPIA, especially for commonly released records, and make more raw data available in open formats online.
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