Cornyn Open Records Letter Ruling February 18, 2000
Click for home page Office of the Attorney General - State of Texas
John Cornyn
image
 

February 18, 2000

Ms. Lisa M. Salinas
Custodian of Records
City of Baytown
3200 North Main Street
Baytown, Texas 77521

OR2000-0614

Dear Ms. Salinas.:

You ask whether certain information is subject to required public disclosure under chapter 552 of the Government Code. Your request was assigned ID# 134048.

The City of Baytown (the "city") received request for information regarding a theft. You seek to withhold portions of the responsive information under sections 552.101, 552.108, and 552.130 of the Government Code.

Section 552.101 requires withholding, inter alia, information made confidential by statute. Social security numbers that were obtained or maintained by a governmental body pursuant to any provision of law, enacted on or after October 1, 1990, are confidential pursuant to section 405(c)(2)(C)(viii) of title 42 of the United States Code. Accordingly, you must withhold the social security number you have marked if it was obtained or maintained by the city pursuant to any provision of law, enacted on or after October 1, 1990.

Section 552.108(a)(1) excepts from required public disclosure

(a) Information held by a law enforcement agency or prosecutor that deals with the detection, investigation, or prosecution of crime . . . if:

(1) release of the information would interfere with the detection, investigation, or prosecution of crime[.]

You advise that the records at issue relate to a pending investigation. Accordingly, you may withhold the information for which you sought the protection of section 552.108(a)(1) under that provision.

Section 552.130 provides in relevant part as follows:

(a) Information is excepted from [required public disclosure] if the information relates to:

(1) a motor vehicle operator's or driver's license or permit issued by an agency of this state[.]

You must withhold the driver's license number you have marked under section 552.130. Except as noted above, you must release the records responsive to the request.

This letter ruling is limited to the particular records at issue in this request and limited to the facts as presented to us; therefore, this ruling must not be relied upon as a previous determination regarding any other records or any other circumstances.

This ruling triggers important deadlines regarding the rights and responsibilities of the governmental body and of the requestor. For example, governmental bodies are prohibited from asking the attorney general to reconsider this ruling. Gov't Code 552.301(f). If the governmental body wants to challenge this ruling, the governmental body must appeal by filing suit in Travis County within 30 calendar days. Id. 552.324(b). In order to get the full benefit of such an appeal, the governmental body must file suit within 10 calendar days. Id. 552.353(b)(3), (c). If the governmental body does not appeal this ruling and the governmental body does not comply with it, then both the requestor and the attorney general have the right to file suit against the governmental body to enforce this ruling. Id. 552.321(a).

If this ruling requires the governmental body to release all or part of the requested information, the governmental body is responsible for taking the next step. Based on the statute, the attorney general expects that, within 10 calendar days of this ruling, the governmental body will do one of the following three things: 1) release the public records; 2) notify the requestor of the exact day, time, and place that copies of the records will be provided or that the records can be inspected; or 3) notify the requestor of the governmental body's intent to challenge this letter ruling in court. If the governmental body fails to do one of these three things within 10 calendar days of this ruling, then the requestor should report that failure to the attorney general's Open Government Hotline, toll free, at 877/673-6839. The requestor may also file a complaint with the district or county attorney. Id. 552.3215(e).

If this ruling requires or permits the governmental body to withhold all or some of the requested information, the requestor can appeal that decision by suing the governmental body. Id. 552.321(a); Texas Department of Public Safety v. Gilbreath, 842 S.W.2d 408, 411 (Tex. App.-Austin 1992, no writ).

If the governmental body, the requestor, or any other person has questions or comments about this ruling, they may contact our office. Although there is no statutory deadline for contacting us, the attorney general prefers to receive any comments within 10 calendar days of the date of this ruling.

Sincerely
William Walker
Assistant Attorney General
Open Records Division

WMW/ljp

Ref: ID# 134048

Encl. Submitted documents

cc: Ms. Donna McDaniel
3411 Garth PMB210
Baytown, Texas 77521
(w/o enclosures)


 

POST OFFICE BOX 12548, AUSTIN, TEXAS 78711-2548 TEL: (512) 463-2100 WEB: WWW.OAG.STATE.TX.US
An Equal Employment Opportunity Employer


Home | ORLs