Texas Legislature Fails to Pass Bills to Expand Freedom of Information Protections

Freedom of information advocates look to the 2019 legislative session to increase transparency and access to public records

By Alain StephensMay 30, 2017 10:57 am

When it comes to public information, the stance of many government entities is that less is more. The Obama administration spent a record $36 million in lawsuits fighting freedom of information requests, and things don’t seem to be faring better at the state level.

“For about 40 years, Texas has had one of the strongest public information laws in the country,” says Kelley Shannon, the executive director of the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas.

Shannon says two Texas Supreme Court rulings in 2015 undercut the Texas Public Information Act.

“There are a lot of records now that are off-limits because of those rulings,” she says. “We were looking to the Texas Legislature to try to fix that this session, but unfortunately they did not.”

What you’ll hear in this segment:

– Who, apart from members of the press, uses public records

– What happened to bills that addressed transparency and freedom of information

– Whether Texas is moving in the direction of less transparency

Written by Molly Smith.