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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:

  1. Promptly release the requested information to you if the ruling states to release the information, or
  2. Notify you when and where the requested public information will be provided to you, or
  3. Notify you when and where the requested public information will be made available for your inspection, or
  4. 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.