Legislation would let officials refer information requesters to government websites

Public officials could respond to information requesters by referring them to specific information on a government website in many cases under legislation presented in committee Wednesday by Rep. Kenneth Sheets, R-Dallas.

In laying out House Bill 685, Sheets explained than an anticipated committee substitute for the bill will clarify that the referral to a website would have to include a URL link directly to the requested information. It would also provide for other types of responses to those who don’t have Internet access or who need the records in other formats.

Sheets contends the update to the Texas Public Information Act will encourage governmental bodies to post more information on their websites. He said it’s also time and cost effective for governments.

The Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas and the Texas Press Association testified that the bill would be suitable if the changes Sheets proposed are added.