Positive open government bills emerging at Capitol, too

By Kelley Shannon
Executive Director
Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas

Every legislative session there are attempts to shut off government information to the public, and this year is no exception. But there are also a number of positive open government bills emerging at the Texas Capitol.

Throughout the session, we’ll highlight some good open government bills in periodic blog posts. Here are a few of those bills filed so far:

Senate Bill 308 by Sen. John Whitmire. This measure would ensure that the records of private universities’ police departments are subject to the Texas Public Information Act.

Senate Bill 434 by Sen. Konni Burton. This legislation would repeal the part of the Texas Open Meetings Act that allows governmental bodies to meet behind closed doors to deliberate economic development deals.

House Bill 485 by Rep. Jeff Leach and House Bill 486 by Rep. Donna Howard. These bills would make state officials’ personal financial statements available for public view on the Internet. The statements are already public record, but they currently must be requested and are not on the web. These proposals would make for much easier access.