Texas Legislative Session resulted in several amendments to the Public Information Act (the “Act”), chapter 552 of the Government Code.
To help familiarize governmental bodies and members of the public with these changes, the Office of the Attorney General (the “OAG”) is providing the following list of significant or broadly applicable amendments to Texas public information law. This list does not encompass all changes impacting public information. It is also important to note some of these amendments are only applicable to requests received by a governmental body on or after September 1, 2019. This update is provided as a courtesy and should not be relied upon as legal advice. To learn more about these amendments or recent amendments to other relevant laws, please check the Texas Legislature Online Webpage.
|Amended Statute||Relevant Bill||Effective Date||Summary|
|Gov’t Code § 552.104(c)||HB 81||May 17, 2019 – Changes in law apply only to requests for information received after the effective date and a contract entered into or renewed on or after the effective date||Section 552.104 does not apply to information relating to the receipt or expenditure of public or other funds by a governmental body for a parade, concert, or other entertainment event paid for in whole or part with public funds.|
|Gov’t Code §§ 552.003, .0222, .104 .110, .1101, .371-.346||SB 943||January 1, 2020||Revises laws concerning access to state and local contracting information.|
|Gov’t Code § 552.233||SB 494||September 1, 2019||Adds section 552.233 which allows for the temporary suspension of the requirements of the Act for a governmental body impacted by a catastrophe.|
|Gov’t Code § 552.1177||HB 2828||June 10, 2019
Applies to requests for information received on or after the effective date.
|Adds section 552.1177 which makes certain information confidential pertaining to an individual who obtains ownership or control of an animal from a municipality or county under certain circumstances.|
|Gov’t Code § 552.160||HB 3175||September 1, 2019||Adds section 552.160 which requires that certain identifying information of an applicant for disaster recovery funds remains confidential.|
|Gov’t Code § 552.159||HB 3913||September 1, 2019||Adds section 552.159 which makes certain information obtained by a flood district located in Harris County confidential.|
|Gov’t Code §§ 552.002, .003, .004, .159, .203, .233 - .235||SB 944||September 1, 2019||"PIA Omnibus"
(1) Excludes “protected health information” from the PIA.
(2) "Temporary custodian" process for obtaining records from current and former officers and employees who independently maintain information
(3) Clarifies possession and maintenance requirements for information maintained on privately owned devices
(4) New exception to disclosure of certain health care information obtained by a governmental body ;in connection with a quality management, peer review, or best practices program;
(5) Clarifies the permissible methods a requestor may use to submit a public information request and specifies that a governmental body may designate an email address and a mailing address for receiving requests
(6) Requires the OAG to create a public information request form for use by governmental bodies and requestors.
|Gov’t Code §§ 552.117, .1175||HB 1351
|September 1, 2019||- Adds current or former military members to 552.117
- Adds current or former U.S. attorneys or assistant U.S. attorneys to 552.117
- Adds special investigators to 552.1175
|Gov’t Code §§ 552.117, .1175||HB 2446||June 14, 2019||- Adds firefighters, volunteer firefighters, and EMS to 552.117 and 552.1175
- Adds section 552.159 which makes a work schedule or time sheet of a firefighter or a volunteer firefighter or emergency medical services personnel confidential
|Gov’t Code §§ 552.117, .1175||HB 662||June 14, 2019||- Adds state officers elected statewide and members of the state legislature to 552.117 and 552.1175|
|Gov’t Code §§ 552.117, .1175||SB 1494||June 10, 2019||- Adds certain DFPS workers to 552.117 and 552.1175|