By Robert Rivard
Originally published May 17, 2020
One uncomfortable reality for some who collect their paychecks from taxpayer- and ratepayer-supported entities is that the public has a timely right to know what they are doing and how they are doing it.
In Texas, however, the public’s right to know is always qualified, despite the existence of the Texas Public Information Act. A continuing legal fight over access to meetings and public records has been waged since the 1970s, when public corruption scandals finally forced legislators in Austin to act. Yet the standoff continues today. …
Now the coronavirus outbreak and ensuing shutdown are being used to deny or delay media requests for timely release of public information. As noted in this Austin American-Statesman article, state law passed after Hurricane Harvey was intended to give beleaguered local governments time and space to reorganize, but it now is being used to block the flow of public records.