GCB(LEGAL) - PUBLIC INFORMATION PROGRAM: REQUESTS FOR INFORMATION

Section I: Officer for Public Information and Required Notices

Note: For records retention under the Local Government Records Act, see CIA.

Duties

  1. Make public information available for public inspection and copying;
  2. Carefully protect public information from deterioration, alteration, mutilation, loss, or unlawful removal;
  3. Repair, renovate, or rebind public information as necessary to maintain it properly; and
  4. Make reasonable efforts to obtain public information from a temporary custodian if:
    1. The information has been requested from the governmental body;
    2. The officer for public information is aware of facts sufficient to warrant a reasonable belief that the temporary custodian has possession, custody, or control of the information;
    3. The officer for public information is unable to comply with the duties imposed by this chapter without obtaining the information from the temporary custodian; and
    4. The temporary custodian has not provided the information to the officer for public information or the officer's agent.

Public Information Act Training

Sign

  1. Members of the public who request public information in person under the PIA; and
  2. Employees of the governmental body whose duties include receiving or responding to requests under the PIA.

Gov't Code 552.205(a)

Section II: Access to Public Information

Procedural Rules

Submission of Written Requests

  1. U.S. mail, electronic mail, hand delivery; or
  2. Any other appropriate method approved by the governmental body, including:
    1. Facsimile transmission; and
    2. Electronic submission through the governmental body's internet website.

Gov't Code 552.234(a)–(b)

Designated Address

  1. At one of those addresses;
  2. By hand delivery; or
  3. By a method described by Government Code 552.234(a)(4) that has been approved by the governmental body.

Gov't Code 552.234(c)–(d)

Request Form

Treatment of Requests

Requests for Contracting Information

  1. Has a stated expenditure of at least $1 million in public funds for the purchase of goods or services by the governmental body; or
  2. Results in the expenditure of at least $1 million in public funds for the purchase of goods or services by the governmental body in a fiscal year of the governmental body.

Gov't Code 552.371(a)–(b)

Request to Contracting Entity

Location of Access

  1. Providing the information for inspection or duplication in the offices of the governmental body [see Time for Examination, below]; or
  2. Sending copies of the public information by first class U.S. mail, if the person requesting the information requests that copies be provided and pays the postage and any other applicable charges that the requestor has accrued under Government Code Chapter 552, Subchapter F [see Costs and Charges, below].

Online Access

Time for Response

Release of Deidentified Information

  1. Name, social security number, date of birth, or government-issued identification number;
  2. Mother's maiden name;
  3. Unique biometric data, including the individual's fingerprint, voice print, and retina or iris image;
  4. Unique electronic identification number, address, or routing code; and
  5. Telecommunication access device as defined by Penal Code 32.51.

Requests to Clarify or Narrow

Motor Vehicle Record

Request Considered Withdrawn

Responding by Mail or Email

  1. The governmental body, officer for public information, or agent, as applicable, sends the request for clarification or discussion or the written request for additional information by electronic mail to the same electronic mail address from which the original request was sent or to another electronic mail address provided by the requestor; and
  2. The governmental body, officer for public information, or agent, as applicable, does not receive from the requestor a written response or response by electronic mail within the period described by Government Code 552.222(d).

Time for Examination

Request Considered Withdrawn

Electronic Data

  1. The governmental body has the technological ability to produce a copy of the requested information in the requested medium;
  2. The governmental body is not required to purchase any software or hardware to accommodate the request; and
  3. Provision of a copy of the information will not violate the terms of any copyright agreement between the governmental body and a third party.

Requests Requiring Programming or Manipulation

  1. That responding to a request for public information will require programming or manipulation of data; and
  2. That:
    1. Compliance with the request is not feasible or will result in substantial interference with its ongoing operations; or
    2. The information could be made available in the requested form only at a cost that covers the programming and manipulation of data.
  1. A statement that the information is not available in the requested form;
  2. A description of the form in which the information is available;
  3. A description of any contract or services that would be required to provide the information in the requested form;
  4. A statement of the estimated cost of providing the information in the requested form, as determined in accordance with the rules established by the attorney general under the PIA [see GCB(EXHIBIT)]; and
  5. A statement of the anticipated time required to provide the information in the requested form.
Response Time When Programming or Manipulation Is Required
Further Action
  1. Wants the governmental body to provide the information in the requested form according to the cost and time parameters set out in the statement or according to other terms to which the requestor and the governmental body agree; or
  2. Wants the information in the form in which it is available.

Processing of Requests

Repetitious or Redundant Requests

  1. This section does not prohibit the governmental body from furnishing the information or making the information available to the requestor again in accordance with the request; and
  2. The governmental body is not required to comply with this section in relation to information that the governmental body simply furnishes or makes available to the requestor again in accordance with the request.

Procedures

  1. A description of the information for which copies have been previously furnished or made available to the requestor;
  2. The date the governmental body received the requestor's original request for that information;
  3. The date the governmental body previously furnished copies or made available copies of the information to the requestor;
  4. A certification that no subsequent additions, deletions, or corrections have been made to that information; and
  5. The name, title, and signature of the officer for public information or the officer's agent making the certification.

Section III: Attorney General Decisions

Time for Request

Calculating Timelines

Receipt of Request from Requestor

Submission by Mail

  1. It bears a post office cancellation mark or a receipt mark of a common or contract carrier indicating a time within that period; or
  2. The person required to submit or otherwise give the document furnishes satisfactory proof that it was deposited in the mail or with a common or contract carrier within that period.

Electronic Submissions

Previous Determinations

Same Information

Exception
  1. A suit challenging the prior decision was timely filed against the attorney general in accordance with the PIA concerning the precise information at issue;
  2. The attorney general determines that the requestor has voluntarily withdrawn the request for the information in writing or has abandoned the request; and
  3. The parties agree to dismiss the lawsuit.
Categories of Information
  1. The previous decision is applicable to the type of governmental body from which the information is requested;
  2. The previous decision concludes that the category of information is or is not excepted from public disclosure;
  3. The elements of law, fact, and circumstances are met to support the previous decision's conclusion that the requested records and information at issue are or are not excepted from public disclosure; and
  4. The previous decision explicitly provides that the governmental body or bodies to which the decision applies may withhold the information without the necessity of seeking a decision from the attorney general.

Statement to Requestor

  1. A written statement that the governmental body wishes to withhold the requested information and has asked for a decision from the attorney general about whether the information is within an exception to public disclosure; and
  2. A copy of the governmental body's written communication to the attorney general asking for the decision or, if a governmental body's written communication to the attorney general discloses the requested information, a redacted copy of that written communication.

Submission to Attorney General

  1. Submit to the attorney general all of the following:
    1. Written comments stating the reasons why the stated exceptions apply that would allow the information to be withheld;
    2. A copy of the written request for information;
    3. A signed statement as to the date on which the written request for information was received by the governmental body or evidence sufficient to establish that date; and
    4. A copy of the specific information requested, or submit representative samples of the information if a voluminous amount of information was requested.
  2. Label that copy of specific information or of the representative samples to indicate which exceptions apply to which parts of the copy.
Electronic Submission

Additional Information

Privacy or Property Interests

Notice to Owner of Proprietary Information
  1. Be in writing and be sent within a reasonable time not later than the tenth business day after the date the governmental body receives the request for information; and
  2. Include:
    1. A copy of any written request for information, if any, received by the governmental body; and
    2. A statement, in the form prescribed by the attorney general, that the person is entitled to submit in writing to the attorney general within a reasonable time, not later than the tenth business day after the date the person receives the notice, each reason the person has as to why the information should be withheld and a letter, memorandum, or brief in support of that reason.

Exception—Contracting Information

  1. Complies with the requirements of Government Code 552.371(c) in a good faith effort to obtain the information from the contracting entity;
  2. Is unable to meet a deadline described by Government Code 552.371(d) because the contracting entity failed to provide the information to the governmental body not later than the 13th business day after the day the governmental body received the written request for the information; and
  3. Complies with the requirements of those subsections not later than the eighth business day after the governmental body receives the information from the contracting entity.

Gov't Code 552.371(e)

Nothing in Government Code 552.371 affects the deadlines or duties of a governmental body under Government Code 552.301 regarding information the governmental body maintains, including contracting information. Gov't Code 552.371(f)

Section IV: Charges Regarding Public Information Requests

50 Pages or Less

Statement of Labor Costs

Attorney General's Rules

Exemptions

Statement of Estimated Charges

  1. That the requestor must provide the governmental body with a mailing, facsimile transmission, or electronic mail address to receive the itemized statement and that it is the requestor's choice which type of address to provide;
  2. That the request is considered automatically withdrawn if the requestor does not respond in writing to the itemized statement and any updated itemized statement in the time and manner required by this section; and
  3. That the requestor may respond to the statement by delivering the written response to the governmental body by mail, in person, by facsimile transmission if the governmental body is capable of receiving documents transmitted in that manner, or by electronic mail if the governmental body has an electronic mail address.

Requestor's Response

  1. The requestor will accept the estimated charges;
  2. The requestor is modifying the request in response to the itemized statement; or
  3. The requestor has sent to the attorney general a complaint alleging that the requestor has been overcharged for being provided with a copy of the public information.

Actual Charges

  1. The amount estimated in the updated itemized statement; or
  2. If an updated itemized statement is not sent to the requestor, an amount that exceeds by 20 percent or more the amount estimated in the original itemized statement.

Timing of Deadlines

  1. The statement is delivered to the requestor in person;
  2. The governmental body deposits the properly addressed statement in the U.S. mail; or
  3. The governmental body transmits the properly addressed statement by electronic mail or facsimile transmission, if the requestor agrees to receive the statement by electronic mail or facsimile transmission, as applicable.
  1. The response is delivered to the governmental body in person;
  2. The requestor deposits the properly addressed response in the U.S. mail; or
  3. The requestor transmits the properly addressed response to the governmental body by electronic mail or facsimile transmission.

Deposit or Bond

  1. The officer for public information or the officer's agent has provided the requestor with the written itemized statement required by Government Code 552.2615 [see Statement of Estimated Charges, above] detailing the estimated charge for providing the copy; and
  2. The charge for providing the copy of the public information specifically required by the requestor is estimated by the governmental body to exceed $100, if the governmental body has more than 15 full-time employees, or $50, if the governmental body has fewer than 16 full-time employees.

Modified Request

Unpaid Amounts

Documentation of Unpaid Amounts

Waivers

Gov't Code 552.267

Government Publication

Section V: Inspection of Public Information

Confidential Information

Payment, Deposit, or Bond

  1. The public information specifically requested by the requestor is older than five years or completely fills, or when assembled will completely fill, six or more archival boxes; and
  2. The officer for public information or agent estimates that more than five hours will be required to make the information available for inspection.

Certain Small Governmental Bodies

  1. The public information specifically requested by the requestor is older than three years or completely fills, or when assembled will completely fill, three or more archival boxes; and
  2. The officer for public information or the officer's agent estimates that more than two hours will be required to make the information available for inspection.

Electronic Records

Section VI: Miscellaneous Provisions

Public Information on a Privately-Owned Device

  1. Forward or transfer the public information to the governmental body or a governmental body server to be preserved as provided by Government Code 552.004(a); or
  2. Preserve the public information in its original form in a backup or archive and on the privately-owned device for the time described under Government Code 552.004(a).

Public Information Maintained by Temporary Custodians

Disciplinary Action

Gov't Code 552.233(c)

Records Retention

No Property Right to Public Information

Temporary Suspension of Requirements During Catastrophe

  1. Fire, flood, earthquake, hurricane, tornado, or wind, rain, or snow storm;
  2. Power failure, transportation failure, or interruption of communication facilities;
  3. Epidemic; or
  4. Riot, civil disturbance, enemy attack, or other actual or threatened act of lawlessness or violence.

Gov't Code 552.233(a)–(b)

Suspension Period

  1. Begins not earlier than the second day before the date the governmental body submits notice to the office of the attorney general under Government Code 552.233(c); and
  2. Ends not later than the seventh day after the date the governmental body submits that notice.

Gov't Code 552.233(d)

Extension of Suspension Period

Requests Received During Catastrophe

Notice to Attorney General

Notice to the Public

Large or Frequent Requests

Personnel Time

Request by Minor

Exception

  1. Dissemination by a news medium or communication service provider, including an individual who supervises or assists in gathering, preparing, and disseminating the news or information; or an individual who is or was a journalist, scholar, or researcher employed by an institution of higher education at the time the person made the request for information; or
  2. Creation or maintenance of an abstract plant as described by Insurance Code 2501.004.

Written Statement of Personnel Time

Written Estimate of Charges

Additional Time

Acceptance of Charges

Waived or Reduced Charges

Failure to Pay

Filing Suit to Withhold Information

  1. Is filed in a Travis County district court against the attorney general in accordance with Government Code 552.325; and
  2. Seeks declaratory relief from compliance with a decision by the attorney general issued under Government Code Chapter 552, Subchapter G.

Requests for Body-Worn Camera Recordings

Contents of Request

  1. The date and approximate time of the recording;
  2. The specific location where the recording occurred; and
  3. The name of one or more persons known to be a subject of the recording.

Response to Requests

  1. Seek to withhold information subject to Occupations Code 1701.661(d) in accordance with procedures provided by Government Code 552.301;
  2. Assert any exceptions to disclosure in the PIA or other law; or
  3. Release information requested in accordance with Occupations Code 1701.661(a) after the agency redacts any information made confidential under the PIA or other law.

Request for Attorney General Decision

Response to Voluminous Public Information Requests

  1. A request for body-worn camera recordings from more than five separate incidents;
  2. More than five separate requests for body-worn camera recordings from the same person in a 24-hour period, regardless of the number of incidents included in each request; or
  3. A request or multiple requests from the same person in a 24-hour period for body-worn camera recordings that, taken together, constitute more than five total hours of video footage.

Vernon College

GCB(LEGAL)-LJC

UPDATE 37

DATE ISSUED: 12/5/2019