UPDATE: Many bills before legislative committees this week open, close access to government

Texas House and Senate committees are considering more than 20 bills this week that would open – and close – public access to state and local government.

The House Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence Committee is holding a hearing Tuesday on House Bill 2633 by Rep. Ana Hernandez, D-Houston, that would close off public access to key information in traffic accident reports. Meanwhile, the House Business and Industry Committee is considering House Bill 3199 by Rep. Drew Springer, R-Muenster, that would ban use of information obtained under the Texas Public Information Act for marketing purposes.

On Wednesday, the House Government Transparency and Operation Committee was hearing bills that would close information about lethal injection drugs and require recording and web postings of certain public meetings. Another House Committee was considering a bill to establish public access to many juvenile court proceedings.

On Thursday morning, the Senate Business and Commerce Committee was set to hear testimony on Senate Bill 392 by Sen. Konni Burton, R-Colleyville, that would allow notices about public meetings to be posted online rather than in newspapers. The FOI Foundation of Texas and other open government groups oppose that bill because it reduces avenues to access to public notices.