What is the Texas Public Information Act (the Act)?
The Texas Public Information Act (the "Public Information Act") was adopted in 1973 by the reform-minded Sixty-third Legislature. The Sharpstown scandal, which occurred in 1969 and came to light in 1971, provided the motivation for several enactments opening up government to the people. The Public Information Act is now codified in the Texas Government Code at Chapter 552. See the following web site for the text of the Act in its' entirety: www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/Docs/GV/htm/GV.552.htm
What types of records generally fall under the Act?
Public records include any information that is collected, assembled, or maintained by or for the Alamo. The act applies to records regardless of their format. It includes information that is maintained in paper, tape, microfilm, video, electronic data held in computer memory, as well as other mediums specified under law.
Are records that are kept or owned by a consultant to the Alamo subject to the Act?
The fact that a private entity may own or retain a record does not prevent the record from being subject to release under the Public Information Act. For example, if a consultant maintains or holds records for the Alamo, the documents are still considered public information if the Alamo owns the information or has a right of access to it.
Does Alamo staff have a special right of access to Alamo records?
An employee whose job requires or permits access to certain public records would have a special right of access to those records. The transfer of information to Alamo staff is not considered a release to the public and would not constitute selective disclosure.
Do outside governmental agencies have a special right of access to Alamo records?
Outside governmental agencies whose function under state or federal law requires access to certain records generally have a right of access to such records. The transfer of information to such outside governmental agencies is not considered a release to the public and would not constitute selective disclosure. For example, upon request, the Alamo must release certain salary and other personnel information to the Texas Attorney General's Office to enable collection of court-ordered child support payments.