LBJ Library Director Updegrove speech, open records discussions featured at conference

AUSTIN _ Texas ethics disclosures and access to university admissions records will highlight debate and discussion at the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas state conference Sept. 17, when open government champions also will be honored.

This year’s Bernard and Audre Rapoport Annual State Conference, “Transparency: Talk vs. Practice,” takes place at the Hyatt Regency in Austin.

“Our state has a proud history of standing up for open government and the people’s right to know,” said Kelley Shannon, executive director of the FOI Foundation of Texas. “At this gathering, we celebrate those principles and look to strengthen them in the future.”

Mark K. Updegrove, director of the LBJ Presidential Library, will deliver the keynote address at the conference’s John Henry Faulk Awards Luncheon. Updegrove has authored several books, including his most recent one, Destiny of Democracy: The Civil Rights Summit at the LBJ Presidential Library. Next year marks the 50th anniversary of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s signing of the federal Freedom of Information Act.

The FOI Foundation also will present its James Madison Award to open government and First Amendment stalwart Don Adams, a former state senator, and the State Bar of Texas will present its Gavel Awards to outstanding journalists.

One of the day’s sessions will feature an interview of University of Texas System Regent Wallace Hall, who has been at the center of controversy involving UT-Austin admissions records requests.

Other conference sessions will address ethics disclosures in a discussion with Rep. Sarah Davis and Texas Ethics Commission members Paul Hobby and Jim Clancy as well as new state laws affecting information access with panelists Rep. Todd Hunter, Texas House general counsel Frank Battle and Texas Press Association executive vice president Donnis Baggett.

Individual registration for the daylong conference is $110 through Sept. 5. It then increases to $125. To register go to www.foift.org or contact the FOI Foundation at 512-377-1575.