In the News

The FOI Foundation of Texas is making headlines. Check out our board members and executive director as they speak to media outlets across the state.

August 28, 2017
Board member Joe Larsen said official business over any medium, including social media, is subject to the Public Information Act.

August 1, 2017
Executive Director Shannon Kelley spoke to the Washington Examiner to explain a legal loophole that allows law enforcement agencies to withhold records even though a suspect is deceased, as is the case with the “pending” investigation status of a local 2015 terrorist attack in Garland, Texas.

July 2, 2017
Board member Joe Larsen said a letter received by the Victoria County District Attorney is still public information because it relates to “the detection of prosecution of a crime,” regardless of the fact that it was first personally addressed to the district attorney.

June 15, 2017
Executive Director Shannon Kelley attributed the death of multiple open government bills to “an anti-transparency attitude” at the Texas Capitol this year. Texas Governor Greg Abbott killed HB 2783, written to allow judges the ability to award attorneys’ fees to an individual whose request for public information was initially denied by a governmental agency.

May 31, 2017
Board member Joe Larsen criticized a consistent pattern of activity by the city of Pasadena, Texas that makes it difficult for residents to access public information records and documents.

May 30, 2017
Executive Director Kelley Shannon spoke to Texas Standard about the Texas Legislature’s failure to pass bills that would have expanded Freedom of Information protections.

May 24, 2017
Board member Laura Prather spoke to The McAllen Monitor about the series of political actions that prevented the passing of six bills designed to address government transparency in Texas.

May 24, 2017
Executive Director Shannon Kelley expressed concerns about increasing incentives for governments to put money into non-profits where there is less or no transparency and accountability.

May 12, 2017
Executive Director Shannon Kelley said it is crucial for Texas lawmakers to join the effort to pass multiple negotiated open-government measures to restore the strength of the Texas Public Information Act.

April 20, 2017
Board members Laura Prather, Joe Larsen, and James Hemphill spoke about a Texas law that allowed the Mesquite Police Department to withhold records pertaining to the 2013 death of a young man in police custody, forcing the man’s parents to find a back-door way to access the documents.

March 13, 2017
Executive Director Shannon Kelley wrote a commentary on the weakened state of the Public Information Act in Texas, calling on readers to “commit to maintaining Texas’ national standing as a leading right-to-know state.”

March 1, 2017
Executive Director Shannon Kelley recently did a call-in show on the Texas Public Radio show called “The Source.” The show explored whether the public has a fundamental right to information about who the government is making deals with and where money is being spent.

February 17, 2017
Foundation volunteer attorney Bill Aleshire said it is the responsibility of elected officials to know the laws concerning illegal meetings, and disregard of these ethics hurt the public interest and reflect elected officials’ attitudes toward transparency.

February 11, 2017
Board member Paul Watler spoke to the San Antonio Express-News about the recent proposal by the Texas Supreme Court to use an online database to make public records available.

January 26, 2017
Board member Joe Larsen believes there is strong evidence that the El Paso mayor and four city council members knowingly evaded the Texas Open Meetings Act in December.

June 27, 2016
Board member Laura Prather testified before the Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice of the House Judiciary Committee about the need for a federal anti-SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation) law.

June 6, 2016
Executive Director Kelley Shannon told Watchdog.org that an overseas trade mission made by members of the San Antonio City Council may have skirted Texas’ open-meeting law.

June 1, 2016
Board member Joe Larsen criticized Houston’s mayor in the Houston Chronicle for using a private search firm to keep police chief candidates from public view.

May 4, 2016
Kelley Shannon, executive director of the FOIFT, spoke to the Houston Chronicle about the Texas Supreme Court’s ruling that allows businesses to withhold information from the public that could give their competitors an advantage.

April 25, 2016
Board member Jim Hemphill spoke to the Waco Tribune-Herald about McLennan County’s attorney wishing to limit access to information without compensation.

April 18, 2016
Board member Jim Hemphill spoke to The Eagle about a $1,000 open records charge in Bryan.

April 12, 2016
FOIFT Executive Director Kelley Shannon praised the attorney general’s decision to release documents regarding the Fort Worth school district and Chesapeake Energy over natural gas royalties.

April 11, 2016
Executive director Kelley Shannon spoke to the Austin American-Statesman about how Austin officials cannot shield their personal emails that they use for public business.

March 23, 2016
FOIFT attorneys Joe Larsen and Bill Aleshire spoke to Watchdog.org about the Texas Education Agency and attorney general blocking the website from obtaining an audio recording of a teleconference during which a school board member told the TEA commissioner to “burn in hell.”

March 6, 2016
Kelley Shannon, executive director of FOIFT, spoke to the El Paso Times about the city council’s discussion about limiting people convicted of felonies or misdemeanors from accessing open records.

March 4, 2016
FOIFT Executive Director Kelley Shannon and Austin attorney Bill Aleshire spoke to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram about Chesapeake Energy trying to keep their settlement with a Fort Worth school district a secret.

February 17, 2016
Houston attorney and FOIFT board member Joe Larsen spoke to The Dallas Morning News after the Texas attorney general’s office issued an opinion allowing Baylor University to keep investigations into recent sexual assaults secret.

February 7, 2016
FOIFT Executive Director Kelley Shannon spoke to the Houston Chronicle about the accessibility of police body camera footage.

January 19, 2016
Houston lawyer and FOIFT board member Joe Larsen spoke to the San Antonio Express-News about the Bexar County sheriff refusing to release an offense report regarding a sex assault case.

January 7, 2016
Austin attorney and FOIFT board member Jim Hemphill spoke to the Austin American-Statesman about a judge that told two newspapers to preserve emails in a capital murder case. Hemphill said judges have to hold a hearing before they’re allowed to ask journalists to preserve relevant evidence in a case.

You can find 2015 archived articles featuring FOIFT here. Click here for 2014 archives.