House expected to remove ban on media access to accident reports

AUSTIN – A Senate amendment to House Bill 2633 that would ban news media access to detailed traffic accident reports is expected to be stripped out of the bill in a conference committee.

House sponsors of the legislation have said the bill by Rep. Ana Hernandez, D-Houston, is expected to return to its House version with removal of the Senate language that was added Sunday night by Sen. Charles Perry, R-Lubbock.

The bill seeks to limit public access to personal information in traffic accidents to crack down on barratry. A provision in the House version would allow newspapers and broadcast news organization to still obtain the information. A previous law that attempted to bar news media access to traffic accident reports was declared unconstitutional.

The Texas Association of Broadcasters, the Texas Press Association and the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas have worked with Hernandez’s office throughout the legislative session to try to maintain public access to the reports.