Lawmakers consider changes to Texas open records law

By Chris Tomlinson
Associated Press

AUSTIN — Texas lawmakers are considering possible changes to the Texas Public Information Act, including how to reduce frivolous requests and whether or not the act hurts government contractors.

Texas has one of the best open records laws in the country, but Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst asked the Senate Open Government Committee to take a look at possible changes when the Legislature meets next year. Needless to say, changing the law that requires the government to make its records public always makes open government advocates, such as journalists, a little nervous.

Texas’ open records law should be tightened and clarified to reduce lawsuits, witnesses told a Senate committee Monday. Freedom of information advocates said the Legislature could improve on what is widely seen as one of the best public information acts in the country, but should provide more information, not less.

One key question is how much information private contractors must turn over when they are providing services on behalf of the government.