|Office of the Attorney General - State of Texas
January 8, 1999
Ms. Susan Combs
Dear Ms. Combs:
Your predecessor asked whether certain information is subject to required public disclosure under the Open Records Act, chapter 552 of the Government Code. The request was assigned ID# 122919.
Section 552.301(a) of the Government Code provides in part that:
A governmental body that receives a written request for information that it wishes to withhold from public disclosure and that it considers to be within one of the [act's] exceptions . . . must ask for a decision from the attorney general about whether the information is within that exception if there has not been a previous determination about whether the information falls within one of the exceptions. The governmental body must ask for the attorney general's decision and state the exceptions that apply within a reasonable time but not later than the 10th business day after the date of receiving the request.
In this case, this office did not receive the request for a decision within the 10 business day period mandated by section 552.301(a). Nor does the request bear a United States Post Office mark indicating a time within the period or contain other proof that it was timely deposited in the United States mail. Gov't Code § 552.308. Because the request for a decision was not timely received, the requested information is presumed to be public information. Gov't Code § 552.302; see Hancock v. State Bd. of Ins., 797 S.W.2d 379 (Tex. App.--Austin 1990, no writ).
In order to overcome the presumption that the requested information is public information, a governmental body must provide compelling reasons why the information should not be disclosed. Hancock, 797 S.W.2d at 381; see Open Records Decision No. 630 (1994). You have not raised any specific compelling reasons to overcome the presumption that the information is public. Thus, we conclude that the information must be released to the requestor.
We are resolving this matter with this informal letter ruling rather than with a published open records decision. This ruling is limited to the particular records at issue under the facts presented to us in this request and may not be relied upon as a previous determination regarding any other records. If you have questions about this ruling, please contact our office.
Yours very truly,
Ref.: ID# 122919
Enclosures: Submitted documents
cc: Mr. Michael Petty
POST OFFICE BOX 12548, AUSTIN, TEXAS 78711-2548 TEL: (512) 463-2100 WEB: WWW.OAG.STATE.TX.US