After a Letter Ruling is Issued
The Open Records Division (ORD) issues more than half of its rulings within 20 business days.
However, ORD has up to 45 business days to issue a ruling after receiving a request for a ruling from a governmental body. The letter ruling is issued to the governmental body that requested the ruling. A copy of the ruling is also sent to the requestor at the same time via first class mail.
Responsibilities for the Governmental Body
When a governmental body receives its letter ruling from the ORD, the governmental body must:
- Promptly release the requested information to you if the ruling states to release the information, or
- Notify you when and where the requested public information will be provided to you, or
- Notify you when and where the requested public information will be made available for your inspection, or
- Notify you of the governmental body's intent to challenge the letter ruling in a District Court in Travis County, Texas. A governmental body has 30 calendar days to challenge a ruling in district court. But less than 1% of letter rulings are challenged in court.
The ORD will not release the requested records to you. Records will be released to you by the governmental body.
If a governmental body does not release records to you in a timely manner, you may file an informal complaint with our office. As the requestor, you may file a writ of mandamus under section 552.321 of the Government Code to ask a court to order the requested information released.
“Business Days” Under The Public Information Act
Most deadlines under the Public Information Act refer to “business days.” A “business day” is generally any day the administrative office of a governmental body is open.
- Weekends are not considered business days.
- Holidays observed by a governmental body are not considered business days.
- Skeleton crew days are not considered business days.
- The ORD has also held that days during which administrative offices are closed for severe weather or emergency circumstances are not business days.