Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas and what does it do?
We are a non-profit 301(c)(3) organization devoted to promoting open government and protection of the First Amendment rights of free speech and free press. We educate citizens and public officials about open government laws and public access. Attorneys who volunteer with FOIFT submit legal briefs in some cases of wide public interest.
2. How is the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas funded?
The non-partisan organization was founded in 1978 and is led by a volunteer board of directors. FOIFT is supported by tax-deductible donations, by grants from foundations and by revenue generated at special events, such as our FOIFT annual conference.
3. What are the major state laws pertaining to open government?
The Texas Public Information Act and the Texas Open Meetings Act are comprehensive state laws protecting the public’s right to know. These statutes originated some 40 years ago and have undergone updates through the years. In 2013, the Legislature updated them to incorporate the use of modern technology. For more detailed explanations of these laws, go to our Resources tab on the home page of this website.
4. How can I get immediate assistance in an open government matter through the FOI Foundation?
The Freedom of Information Foundation offers a free hotline at (800) 580-6651. By calling this number, you can reach an attorney who specializes in open government. The attorney can offer a generic opinion on the specifics of a situation, but the information is not to be construed as legal advice. You can also call the FOIFT office at (512) 377-1575 for general questions and for comments in news stories.
5. What are some of the FOI Foundation’s other programs?
Education of the public is at the core of the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas mission. In coordination with the Texas Attorney General’s Office, we host Open Government Seminars across the state. We offer a speaker’s bureau for interested organizations and for college and high school classes. The foundation’s Light of Day Project assists college students in reporting projects using open records laws. The FOI Foundation also tracks and testifies for bills each legislative session that would further open government to the public and opposes bills that would shut off information.
6. How do I request an FOI Foundation speaker for my group or community?
Call the FOI Foundation office in Austin at (512) 377-1575 or email executive director Kelley Shannon at firstname.lastname@example.org.
7. What can I do to support the FOI Foundation?
We welcome donations from individuals, organizations and corporations at all financial levels. These generous contributions support the mission and programs of the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas. Donations can be made online with a credit card by clicking the Donate button on the homepage, or checks can be mailed to:
Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas
3001 N. Lamar Blvd., Suite 302
Austin, Texas 78705