How to file a Public Information Request

Frequently Asked Questions

How to file a Public Information Request

Postby Brenda » Sat Mar 15, 2008 9:31 am

How to file a Public Information Request:
Sample letter at bottom

Public Information Handbook 2008
http://www.oag.state.tx.us/AG_Publicati ... hb2008.pdf


Below are statutory requirements governing the public information request process, as well as tips and guidelines for governmental bodies seeking rulings from this office. Guidance for requestors of publlic information can be found on the page about how to request information.

Statutory Requirements
The statutory requirements that apply to governmental bodies that have received requests for public information can be found in the Public Information Act, which is codified at chapters 552 of the Government Code.

Within 10 business days of receiving the request for information, a governmental body must submit:

To the Attorney General:

Must ask for Attorney General decision and state which exceptions apply to the information within 10 business days after receiving the request. Section 552.301(b).
To the Requestor:

Must provide written statement that the governmental body wishes to withhold the requested information and that the governmental body has asked for an Attorney General decision. Section 552.301(d)(1).
Must provide a copy of the governmental body's written communication to the Attorney General in which the governmental body asks for a decision. If the governmental body's written communication to the Attorney General discloses the requested information, a redacted copy must be provided. Section 552.301(d)(2).
To the Third Party (if applicable):

Must make "good faith attempt" to notify affected parties. Section 552.305(d).
Notice must be in writing and in the form prescribed by the Attorney General. Section 552.305(d)(1)-(2).
Within 15 business days of receiving the request for information, a governmental body must submit:

To the Attorney General:

Written comments stating why the stated exceptions apply. Section 552.301(e)(1)(A).
A copy of written request. Section 552.301(e)(1)(B).
A signed statement stating the date the request for information was received by the governmental body or evidence sufficient to establish the date the request was received. Section 552.301(e)(1)(C).
Copies of the documents at issue or a representative sample of the documents at issue. Section 552.301(e)(1)(D).
Must label the documents to indicate which exceptions apply to which parts of the documents. Section 552.301(e)(2).
To Requestor:

A copy of written comments stating why the stated exceptions apply. Section 552.301(e-1).


http://www.oag.state.tx.us/open/index.shtml


How to Request Public Information
While there is no strict form required to request public information, there are certain guidelines that must be met. We have set forth the following tips to help you make a successful Public Information Act request.

Tips for Successful Open Records Requests
Your request must be in writing. Only written requests trigger a governmental body's obligations under the Public Information Act.
Your request should be for documents or other information that is already in existence. Governmental bodies are not required to answer questions, perform legal research, or comply with a continuing request to supply information on a periodic basis as such information is prepared in the future.
We recommend that all requests be sent by U.S. mail and that a copy of the original request and proof of its receipt by the governmental body be kept.
We recommend that all requests be addressed to the Officer for Public Information or the chief administrative officer of the governmental body. Requests made by facsimile or electronic mail must be addressed to the Officer for Public Information or the chief administrative officer in order to trigger an obligation under the Public Information Act.

If you believe that a governmental body has not responded as required by the Public Information Act, we recommend that you contact the Open Records Division Hotline at (512) 478-6736 or toll-free (877) 673-6839, your local District Attorney, or local County Attorney.

What Requestors Can Expect After a Request is Made
The governmental body must "promptly" produce public information in response to your request. "Promptly" means that a governmental body may take a reasonable amount of time to produce the information, which varies depending on the facts in each case. The amount of information you have requested is highly relevant to what makes for a reasonable response time.

The Public Information Act prohibits the governmental body from asking you why you want the information you have requested. The governmental body may, however, ask you to clarify your request if they are uncertain as to what you want, and they may discuss with you how the scope of your request may be narrowed if you have requested a large amount of information.

If the governmental body wishes to withhold information from you, it must:

Seek an attorney general decision within ten business days of its receipt of your request and state the exceptions to disclosure that it believes are applicable. The governmental body must also send you a copy of its letter to the attorney general requesting a decision within ten business days. If the governmental body does not notify you of its request for an attorney general decision, the information you requested is generally presumed to be open to the public.

Within fifteen business days of receiving your request, the governmental body must send the attorney general its arguments for withholding the information you requested and copies of the information you have requested. You are entitled to receive this notice, however, if the letter to the attorney general contains the substance of the information requested, you may receive a redacted copy of the letter. If the governmental body does not send you a copy of this letter, you may request it from the attorney general by writing to:
Zindia Thomas, Public Information Coordinator
Office of the Attorney General
P.O. Box 12548
Austin, Texas 78711-2548
FAX (512) 494-8017

If the governmental body does not timely request an attorney general decision, notify you that it is seeking an attorney general decision, and submit to the attorney general the information you requested, the information is generally presumed to be open to the public.

If an attorney general decision has been requested, you may submit your written comments to the attorney general stating any facts you want the Open Records Division to consider. You may send your comments to:
Office of the Attorney General
Open Records Division
P.O. Box 12548
Austin, Texas 78711-2548
You may also fax your comments to (512) 463-2092. The Public Information Act expressly prohibits the attorney general from releasing the records.

Source: http://www.oag.state.tx.us/open/index.shtml
Brenda
Site Admin
 
Posts: 7755
Joined: Sat Nov 30, 2002 9:37 am

Sample letter

Postby Brenda » Mon Mar 17, 2008 6:05 am

Sample letter (or email)
<Date>

Public Information Officer
Lovejoy ISD
259 Country Club Road
Allen, Texas 75002
Phone: (469) 742-8000
Fax: (469) 742-8001

<Your Name>
<Your Address>
<Your Phone>

Dear Public Information Officer:

Under the Texas Public Information Act, chapter 552 of the Government Code, I request access to/copies of the following:

<Please specify as clearly as possible the particular information sought. The request should allow TJPC to help clarify what documents you seek. This may include the name of the document, or the type of information. You may also request the information in a particular form. For example, a paper copy or on a computer disk. It is suggested that you also specify the time period for which broad categories of information are sought.>

I am available to view the documents on the following dates and times:

<Specify when you are available to receive the information you are requesting>

Please provide the information to me at:

<Provide the address, fax number, or E-mail address that the information should be sent to>

Sincerely,


Source:
http://www.tjpc.state.tx.us/contact_us.htm

Lovejoy ISD Contact Information
http://sm.lovejoyisd.net/MP.cfm?P=564
Brenda
Site Admin
 
Posts: 7755
Joined: Sat Nov 30, 2002 9:37 am

TEA Public Information Request

Postby Brenda » Mon Mar 17, 2008 6:58 am

Public Information Request - Texas Education Agency
http://www.tea.state.tx.us/gir/PublicInfoMain.html
Brenda
Site Admin
 
Posts: 7755
Joined: Sat Nov 30, 2002 9:37 am


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