ATTORNEY GENERAL DECISION GIVES CITIES MORE FLEXIBILITY UNDER THE PUBLIC INFORMATION ACT
The attorney general recently released ORD 684, an open records decision that serves as a “previous determination” allowing governmental bodies, including cities, to withhold several categories of requested information without the necessity of first requesting a decision from the attorney general. ORD 684 allows cities to more efficiently respond to requests under the Public Information Act by giving them the ability to withhold information if it fits within the categories described in the decision. According to the attorney general, the purpose of ORD 684 was to encourage “governmental bodies to quickly release clearly public information to requestors while saving the time and expense involved in seeking a decision on specific, clearly delineated categories of information the Legislature has deemed confidential.” The ten categories of information covered by the decision are:
- Direct deposit authorization forms;
- Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9 and attachments;
- W-2 and W-4 forms;
- Certified agendas and tapes of executive sessions;
- L-2 and L-3 declarations;
- Motor vehicle record information under 552.130;
- Access device information under 552.136;
- E-mail addresses of members of the public under 552.137; and
- Certain military discharge records.
To read the decision, please visit http://www.oag.state.tx.us/opinions/openrecords/50abbott/ord/2009/htm/ord20090684.htm.