Information that may be withheld due to an exception by the 10th business day after a governmental body receives your written request, a governmental body must:
- Request an attorney general opinion and state which exceptions apply.
- Notify the requestor of the referral to the attorney general.
- Notify third parties if the request involves their proprietary information.
- Failure to request an attorney general opinion and notify the requestor within 10 business days will result in a presumption that the information is open unless there is a compelling reason to withhold it.
- Requestors may send a letter to the attorney general arguing for release, and may review arguments made by the governmental body. If the arguments disclose the requested information, the requestor may obtain a redacted copy.
- The attorney general must issue a decision no later than the 45th working day from the day after the attorney general received the request for a decision. The attorney general may request an additional 10 working day extension.
- Governmental bodies may not ask the attorney general to "reconsider" an opinion.
A governmental body is required to withhold certain types of information by statute. If information is confidential by statute, a governmental body generally cannot release the requested information. Here is a list of common types of information that is confidential by law.
- Dates of birth of living persons (552.101)
- Informer's Privilege (552.101)
- Dates of Birth of Public Employees (552.102)
- Transcripts of Professional Public School Employees (552.102)
- Driver’s license numbers (552.130)
- License plate numbers (552.130)
- Credit card numbers (552.136)
- Insurance policy numbers
- Juvenile offender records (552.108)
- Child abuse investigations (552.108)
- Sex Offender Registration Information (552.108)
- Records of 9-1-1 Calls (552.108)
- Peace officer’s home address (552.102)
- Peace officer’s family member information (552.102)
- Confidentiality of Crime Victim or Claimant Information (552.132)
- Confidentiality of Family Violence Shelter Center, Victims of Trafficking Shelter Center, and Sexual Assault Program Information (552.138)
- Active Investigations (552.108)
- An Internal Record of Law Enforcement or Prosecution that is maintained for internal use (552.108)
- Criminal History Information (552.108)
- Certain Information Related to Terrorism and Homeland Security (552.108)
- Student Records (552.114)
- Birth and Death Records (552.115)
- Certain Government-Operated Utility Customer Information (552.1331)
- Social Security Numbers (552.147)
- Confidentiality of Certain Personal Information Maintained by Municipality Pertaining to a Minor (552.148)
- Confidentiality of Certain Work Schedules (552.159)
- Confidentiality of Sensitive Crime Scene Image (552.1085)
- Crime Victim Impact Statement: Certain Information Confidential (552.1325)
A governmental body has the option to withhold non-confidential information in certain circumstances. In other words, a governmental body is not required to withhold requested information, but it may use its discretion to withhold the information. Here is a list of common types of information a governmental body may choose to withhold.
- Attorney-Client communications 552.107
- Drafts of policymaking documents 552.106
- Information related to pending litigation (552.103)
- Audit working papers 552.116
- Competitive bidding information before contract awarded (552.104)
- Confidentiality of Certain Economic Development Information (552.131)
- Confidentiality of Public Power Utility Competitive Matters (552.133)
To view the full list and descriptions of exceptions please review pages 69 through 181 of the Public Information Act Handbook.
An informal complaint may be filed when a requestor believes a governmental body has not properly responded to a request for information or complied with an ORD ruling.
If you wish to appeal any exemptions, you must send the following to the attorney general:
- A signed, written statement indicating your wish to appeal the withholding of information;
- The name of the governmental body that withheld information from you;
- The date you made your original request for information; and
- A copy of your original request for information, or if you are unable to provide a copy, a description of your original request for information.
You may also submit written comments stating why you think the information should be released to you, but you are not required to do so. Send your appeal by mail to the attorney general at:
Open Records Division
P.O. Box 12548
Austin, Texas 78711-2548
You may also find out more information by visiting the Attorney General of Texas website under the How to Report a Violation of the Public Information Act section.
Within forty-five business days after receiving all of the above-listed items necessary to file your appeal, the attorney general will issue a written ruling on the matter. You will receive a copy of this ruling in the mail.