TEXAS PUBLIC INFORMATION (OPEN RECORDS) REQUESTS

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.  The Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) shall promptly release requested information that is not confidential by law, either constitutional, statutory, or by judicial decision, or information not covered by an allowed exception.

A request for information from the TWDB must be in writing.  Your written request should reasonably identify the records you are requesting.  Your request should also indicate your mailing address, phone number, or other means to contact you.

Requests may be submitted as follows:

  • By facsimile:
    (512) 475-2053

Please note that to be considered a written request subject to the Act, an e-mailed or faxed information request must be sent to the specific email address or facsimile number indicated above.

  • By mail:
    Texas Water Development Board
    Attn: Public Information Officer
    P.O. Box 13231
    Austin, Texas 78711-3231
  • In person:
    Texas Water Development Board
    1700 North Congress Avenue
    Austin, Texas 78701

RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF REQUESTORS AND GOVERNMENTAL BODIES

Rights of Requestors

All people who request public information have the right to:

  • Receive treatment equal to all other requestors
  • Receive a statement of estimated charges in advance
  • Choose whether to inspect the requested information, receive a copy of the information, or both
  • Be notified when the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) asks the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) for a ruling on whether the information may or must be withheld
  • Be copied on the TWDB's written comments to the OAG stating the reason why the stated exceptions apply
  • Lodge a complaint with the OAG regarding any improper charges for responding to a public information request
  • Lodge a complaint with the OAG or the county attorney or criminal district attorney, as appropriate, regarding any alleged violation of the Act

Responsibilities of Requestors

All people who request public information have the responsibility to:

  • Submit a written request according to the TWDB's reasonable procedures
  • Include enough description and detail of the requested information so the TWDB can accurately identify and locate the requested items
  • Cooperate with the TWDB's reasonable requests to clarify the type or amount of information requested
  • Respond promptly in writing to all written communications from the TWDB (including any written estimate of charges)
  • Make a timely payment for all valid charges
  • Keep all appointments for inspection of records or for pick-up of copies

Rights of Governmental Bodies

All governmental bodies responding to information requests have the right to:

  • Establish reasonable procedures for inspecting or copying information
  • Request and receive clarification of vague or overly broad requests
  • Request an OAG ruling regarding whether any information may or must be withheld
  • Receive timely payment for all copy charges or other charges
  • Obtain payment of overdue balances exceeding $100 or obtain a security deposit before processing additional requests from the same requestor
  • Request a bond, prepayment or deposit if estimated costs exceed $100 (or, if the governmental body has fewer than 16 employees, $50)

Responsibilities of Governmental Bodies

All governmental bodies responding to information requests have the responsibility to:

  • Treat all requestors equally
  • Inform the requestor of cost estimates and any changes in the estimates
  • Confirm the requestor agrees to pay the costs before incurring the costs
  • Provide requested information promptly
  • Inform the requestor if the information will not be provided within ten business days and give an estimated date on which it will be provided
  • Cooperate with the requestor to schedule reasonable times for inspecting or copying information
  • Follow attorney general rules on charges; do not overcharge on any items; do not bill for items that must be provided without charge
  • Inform third parties if their proprietary information is being requested from the governmental body
  • Inform the requestor when the OAG has been asked to rule on whether information may or must be withheld
  • Copy the requestor on written comments submitted to the OAG stating the reasons why the stated exceptions apply
  • Comply with any OAG ruling on whether an exception applies or file suit against the OAG within 30 days

For complaints regarding failure to release public information, please contact the OAG, Open Records Hotline, at 512-478-6736 or toll-free at 877-673-6839.  You may also contact your county or district attorney.

For complaints regarding overcharges, please contact the OAG, Cost Rules Administrator, Open Records Division, at 512-475-2497 or toll-free at 888-672-6787.

If you need special accommodation pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), please contact the TWDB's Coordinator, Merry Klonower.

For more information about the Texas Public Information Act or open records requests, you may wish to refer to the OAG's Web site.

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