By Kelley Shannon
FOI Foundation of Texas
Feb. 13, 2019
Two major bills in the FOI Foundation and Texas Sunshine Coalition open government legislative agenda have been filed by Rep. Todd Hunter, R-Corpus Christi.
House Bill 1655 would restore public access to dates of birth in many public documents, including criminal justice records and candidate applications. This helps to ensure accuracy in reporting and allows public vetting of politicians running for office.
House Bill 1700, a bill that closes the “custodian loophole” in the Texas Public Information Act, would make it easer to obtain public records contained in officials’ private devices or email accounts. Records dealing with public business are already public record, but if they are held in private custody they can be difficult to obtain under current law.
Already filed by Rep. Joe Moody of El Paso is yet another important open government measure, House Bill 147. It would close another loophole in the Public Information Act and prevent police from withholding records about a suspect who dies in custody under the claim that the case had never resulted in a conviction or deferred adjudication.
Stay tuned. More important bill filings will be coming soon that protect the public’s right to know.