Open Records

Problems:

coming soon…

Solutions:

  • The public and private calendar could be available for the past 90 days at no charge. The appointment must include a minimum of time, location, who the meeting is with and general description of topics discussed.
  • Any correspondence on personal email accounts use for government communication will be included in any open records laws
  • Open records laws will apply to legislature staff regardless of employee classification
  • Emails could be available as long as they do not contain security information. Policy would have to be written so that language is concise, close any loopholes and providing clear guidance as to what is sensitive information.
  • Close loopholes for government contracting by requiring private companies to provide the same information as their public counterparts.
  • Open records laws should apply equally regardless if the state legislature is in session or not

Texas Constitution
Code – Government
Chapter – 551 Open Meetings
Chapter – 552 Public Information
Chapter – 554 Public Disclosure

Code – Penal Code
Chapter – 36 Bribery and Corrupt Influence

Code – Government Code
Chapter – 554 Protection for Reporting Violations of Law

NCSL – Penalties for Violations of State Ethics and Public Corruption Laws

NCSL – State Whistle Blower Laws

Texas Tribune – Attorney General Appeals $1.2M Whistleblower Verdict

Texas Tribune – Fired TCEQ Investigator: Law Firm Triggered Dismissal

Texas Tribune – For John Carona, Conflicts and Interests

Houston Chronicle – Sharpstown scandal sparked a revolution at the polls

Texas Observer – Whistleblower Lawsuit Supports Our Worst Suspicions About How the Railroad Commission Regulates Oil and Gas

NPR – The Texas Plant That Polluted for Years, and a Whistleblower That Helped Expose It

NPR – Open Records and Finding Stories in Documents (The October-November Challenge)

NPR – Whistleblower Says Medicare Advantage Plans Padded Charges In Home Visits

Closing imaginary loopholes in Illinois’ public-records law

Open-records laws could get a much-needed boost in Kansas

Washington Examiner – Horror stories abound among patchwork of state public records access laws

Washington Times – Michigan public records laws lag behind most other states

Huffington Post – State Open Records Laws: Access Rules Vary By State

The state of open records laws: Access denied

The Atlantic – What the Sunshine Act Means for Health Care Transparency

Star Telegram – Keeping sunshine on public information is an ongoing fight

Bill Moyers – Transparency in Government: Let the Sun Shine In

Bill Moyers – Five Great Online Tools for Mining Public Records

Bill Moyers – Conservative Lawmaker Defies Open-Records Law to Keep ALEC Dealings Secret

PBS – Lakewood City Council in Apparent Violation of Colorado Sunshine Law

Daily Kos – ALEC is after more open records laws

Daily Kos – San Antonio places $81,000 price tag on police email open records request

The Nation – Blocking the Public’s Right to Know About ALEC

Truth Out – How One State Protects Taxpayers From Privatization Pitfalls

Truth Out – Secret Plans and Clever Tricks: How Information About Public Contracting Is Hidden From the Public

Truth Out – Auditing Our Public Agencies is Hard in Spite of Sunshine Laws

Truth Out – Privatization Limits Access to Public Information

Truth Out – For First Time, ALEC Is Formally Requesting Open Records Immunity

Truth Out – Wisconsin Board Reboots, Holds Hearing on Changes to Open Records Law

Salon – How open record laws are applied in state legislatures

Common Cause – Open Government Groups Applaud Compromise Public Records Reform Bill Advanced by Legislative Conference Committee

ACLU celebrates public records reform

Dallas Morning News – Collin County lawmakers wanted to intervene in Paxton’s legal woes, text messages show