Texas transparency legislation

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This is a Sunshine Review page which highlighted transparency legislation proposed in Texas.


Noelection.png The Texas legislature either did not have a session or had a fiscal session in 2010.


Texas Public Information Act

Senate Bill 280[1], proposed by Sen. Jane Nelson (R-Flower Mound), seeks to exempt birth dates of public employees from public disclosure. The bill has been referred to State Affairs. The stated reason for seeking the exemption is to prevent identity theft, but journalist Jennifer LaFleur points out birth dates "play a big role in journalists' ability to inform you about government agency hiring practices."[2]

State Sen. Kevin Eltife (R-Tyler) has proposed Senate Bill 503[3] to close up a loophole in the current law which allows school districts to deny PIA requests for the names of individuals applying for the position of school superintendent. The current language states school districts are only required to reveal the “name or names of the finalists being considered for the position”. Use of the “name or names" clause can result in only the individual being named to the position's name being released, rather than the full list of applicants.[4]

Representative Ismael "Kino " Flores (D-Palmview) has asked the Texas Legislative Council to draft legislation that would add elements to the Texas Public Information Act. His aim is to require Texas Regional Mobility Authorities to make their meeting agendas and back-up documents available online.[5] A Regional Mobility Authority is a public entity created to serve counties on transportation issues. "The work of the RMA leadership is of such vital public interest that, under my measure, all Texans would have the ability to begin viewing on the Internet, three days before a RMA meeting, the full agenda packet from which the RMA board members make their critical decisions," Flores stated in a press release.[6]

The group Freedom of Information Foundation Texas have highlighted several bills in the 2009 session as the most needed, and the most in need of defeat. See the list here: The good, the bad and the ugly (dead link).