Texas transparency legislation
Transparency legislation proposed in Texas.
Here is a list of transparency legislation for Texas in 2011:
|House Bill 161||Current Status:|
HB 161, introduced by Representative Richard Raymond to the Texas House of Representatives, is titled "AN ACT relating to the dissemination of criminal history record information by the Department of Public Safety concerning certain intoxication offenses."
If passed the bill would make criminal history record information concerned with a person's conviction of certain offenses associated with intoxication, such as driving while intoxicated and intoxication assault, public information. The bill exempts the following types of information from being accessible by the public: "(1) any information regarding the person's social security number, driver's license number, or telephone number; and (2) any information that would identify the victim of the offense."
|House Bill 351||Current Status:|
HB 351, introduced by Representative Marc Veasy to the Texas House of Representatives, would amend the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure (Articles 55.01(a), (b), and (c)) to entitle persons tried for offenses who are acquitted, found not guilty, pardoned or otherwise proven innocent to "have all records and files relating to the arrest expunged." 
|House Bill 66||Current Status:|
HB 66, introduced by Representative Armando Martinez to the Texas House of Representatives, is titled "AN ACT relating to the disclosure by a member of the legislature or the lieutenant governor of certain information concerning a resident of this state to a governmental body." The Texas Press Association's notes that if passed HB 66 "Would amend Government Code by adding paragraph (c) to Sec. 306.003, making confidential the identity of a resident who communicated with a member of the legislature or the lieutenant governor, and by adding paragraph (d) to Sec. 306.004, making confidential the communication or a description of the communication that would tend to identify the resident."
|House Bill 76||Current Status:|
HB 76, introduced by Representative Dan Flynn to the Texas House of Representatives, is titled "AN ACT relating to certain purchases by a state agency performing a law enforcement function." The Texas Press Association's notes that if passed HB 76 "Would amend Government Code by adding Sec. 2155.151, Certain Purchases by State Agency Performing Law Enforcement Functions. Makes information about such purchases not subject to publication in the Texas Register if doing so would negatively affect homeland security.
|Senate Bill 375||Current Status:|
SB 375, introduced by State Senator Jeff Wentworth to the Texas State Senate, is titled "an act relating to categories of information presumed to be public under the public information law." The bill would change the language of Section 552.022, Government Code, from "unless they are
expressly confidential under other law" to "unless made confidential under this chapter or other law."
|The Texas legislature either did not have a session or had a fiscal session in 2010.|
Senate Bill 280 , proposed by Sen. Jane Nelson (R-Flower Mound), seeks to exempt birth dates of public employees from public disclosure. The bill has been referred to State Affairs. The stated reason for seeking the exemption is to prevent identity theft, but journalist Jennifer LaFleur points out birth dates "play a big role in journalists' ability to inform you about government agency hiring practices." 
State Sen. Kevin Eltife (R-Tyler) has proposed Senate Bill 503  to close up a loophole in the current law which allows school districts to deny PIA requests for the names of individuals applying for the position of school superintendent. The current language states school districts are only required to reveal the “name or names of the finalists being considered for the position”. Use of the “name or names" clause can result in only the individual being named to the position's name being released, rather than the full list of applicants. 
Representative Ismael "Kino " Flores (D-Palmview) has asked the Texas Legislative Council to draft legislation that would add elements to the Texas Public Information Act. His aim is to require Texas Regional Mobility Authorities to make their meeting agendas and back-up documents available online.  A Regional Mobility Authority is a public entity created to serve counties on transportation issues. "The work of the RMA leadership is of such vital public interest that, under my measure, all Texans would have the ability to begin viewing on the Internet, three days before a RMA meeting, the full agenda packet from which the RMA board members make their critical decisions," Flores stated in a press release. 
The group Freedom of Information Foundation Texas have highlighted several bills in the 2009 session as the most needed, and the most in need of defeat. See the list here: The good, the bad and the ugly.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Text of HB 161
- ↑ Plan to hide public employees' birth dates may also hide criminal records, February 11, 2009
- ↑ Text of HB 66
- ↑ Texas Press Association, Bill Watch
- ↑ Text of HB 76
- ↑ Texas Press Association, Bill Watch
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 Text of SB 375
- ↑ Text and Status of SB280
- ↑ Plan to hide public employees' birth dates may also hide criminal records, February 11, 2009]
- ↑ Summary of SB503
- ↑ Bill Would Close Much Abused Loophole When It Comes To Releasing The Names Of Finalists For Superintendent Positions, Capitol Annex, January 22, 2009
- ↑ Legislation to extend state open records law could be a tough sell, ABC-7, February 10, 2009
- ↑ Regional mobility authorities post on internet their full agenda packets under planned Flores bill, Press release, February 5, 2009
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