Public Information Act
Texas Government Code, Chapter 552, gives you the right to access government records;
and an officer for public information and the officer's agent may not ask why you want them.
All government information is presumed to be available to the public. Certain exceptions
may apply to the disclosure of the information. Governmental bodies shall promptly
release requested information that is not confidential by law, either constitutional,
statutory, or by judicial decision, or information for which an exception to disclosure
has not been sought.
Rights of Requestors
You have the right to:
Prompt access to information that is not confidential or otherwise protected;
Receive treatment equal to all other requestors, including accommodation in accordance
with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements;
Receive certain kinds of information without exceptions, like the voting record of public
officials, and other information;
Receive a written itemized statement of estimated charges, when charges will exceed $40,
in advance of work being started and opportunity to modify the request in response to the
Choose whether to inspect the requested information (most often at no charge), receive
copies of the information or both;
A waiver or reduction of charges if the governmental body determines that access to the
information primarily benefits the general public;
Receive a copy of the communication from the governmental body asking the Office of the
Attorney General for a ruling on whether the information can be withheld under one of the
accepted exceptions, or if a redacted copy of the communication discloses the requested
information, a redacted copy;
Lodge a written complaint about overcharges for public information with the Office of the Attorney General. Complaints of other possible violations may be filed
with the county or district attorney of the county where the governmental body, other than
a state agency, is located. If the complaint is against the county or district attorney,
the complaint must be filed with the Office of the Attorney General.
Responsibilities of Governmental Bodies
All governmental bodies responding to information requests have the responsibility to:
Establish reasonable procedures for inspecting or copying public information and inform
requestors of these procedures;
Treat all requestors uniformly and shall give to the requestor all reasonable comfort
and facility, including accommodation in accordance with ADA requirements;
Be informed about open records laws and educate employees on the requirements of those
Inform requestors of the estimated charges greater than $40 and any changes in the
estimates above 20 percent of the original estimate, and confirm that the requestor accepts
the charges, or has amended the request, in writing before finalizing the request;
Inform the requestor if the information cannot be provided promptly and set a date and
time to provide it within a reasonable time;
Request a ruling from the Office of the Attorney General regarding any information the
governmental body wishes to withhold, and send a copy of the request for ruling, or a
redacted copy, to the requestor;
Segregate public information from information that may be withheld and provide that
public information promptly;
Make a good faith attempt to inform third parties when their proprietary information
is being requested from the governmental body;
Respond in writing to all written communications from the Office of the Attorney General regarding charges for the information. Respond to the Office of the Attorney
General regarding complaints about violations of the Act.
Procedures to Obtain Information
Submit a request by mail, fax, email or in person according to a governmental body's
Include enough description and detail about the information requested to enable the
governmental body to accurately identify and locate the information requested.
Cooperate with the governmental body's reasonable efforts to clarify the type or
amount of information requested.
Information To Be Released
You may review it promptly, and if it cannot be produced within 10 working days the
public information officer will notify you in writing of the reasonable date and time
when it will be available.
Keep all appointments to inspect records and to pick up copies. Failure to keep
appointments may result in losing the opportunity to inspect the information at the time requested.
Cost of Records
You must respond to any written estimate of charges within 10 days of the date the
governmental body sent it or the request is considered automatically withdrawn.
If estimated costs exceed $100.00 (or $50.00 if a governmental body has fewer than
16 full time employees) the governmental body may require a bond, prepayment or deposit.
You may ask the governmental body to determine whether providing the information primarily
benefits the general public, resulting in a waiver or reduction of charges.
Make a timely payment for all mutually agreed charges. A governmental body can demand
payment of overdue balances exceeding $100.00, or obtain a security deposit, before processing
additional requests from you.
Information That May Be Withheld Due To An Exception
By the 10th business day after a governmental body receives your written request, a
governmental body must:
request an Attorney General opinion and state which exceptions apply;
notify the requestor of the referral to the Attorney General; and
notify third parties if the request involves their proprietary information.
Failure to request an Attorney General opinion and notify the requestor within 10 business
days will result in a presumption that the information is open unless there is a compelling
reason to withhold it.
Requestors may send a letter to the Attorney General arguing for release, and may review arguments
made by the governmental body. If the arguments disclose the requested information, the requestor
may obtain a redacted copy.
The Attorney General must issue a decision no later than the 45th working day from the day after
the attorney general received the request for a decision. The attorney general may request an additional
10 working day extension.
Governmental bodies may not ask the Attorney General to "reconsider" an opinion.
To obtain information from this governmental body, please submit a request:
By mail at P.O. Box 12070, Austin, Texas 78711-2070
By email to firstname.lastname@example.org
In person at — 201 E. 14th St., Sam Houston Bldg., 10th Floor, Austin, Texas
For complaints regarding failure to release public information, please contact your
local County or District Attorney at: Travis County District Attorney, (512) 473-9400.
You may also contact the Office of the Attorney General, Open Records Hotline, at 512-478-6736 or
toll-free at 1-877-673-6839.
For complaints regarding overcharges, please contact the Office of the Attorney General, Cost Hotline, at 512-475-2497 or toll-free at 1-888-672-6787.
If you need special accommodation pursuant to the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), please
contact our ADA coordinator, Margie Castellanos at (512) 463-5800, or RELAY TEXAS (800) 735-2989.