Public Information Act

Texas law gives you the right to access government records and government officials may not ask why you want them. All government information is presumed to be available to the public. Certain exceptions may apply to the disclosure of the information. Governmental bodies shall promptly release requested information that is not confidential by law or information for which an exception to disclosure has been sought.

Rights of Requestors:

  • Prompt access to information that is not confidential or otherwise protected;

  • Receive treatment equal to all other requestors, including accommodation in accordance with ADA requirements;

  • Receive certain kinds of information without exceptions, like the voting record of public officials or information related to the receipt, expenditure or estimated need for public funds, and other items;

  • Receive a statement of estimated charges, when charges exceed $40, in advance of work being started and opportunity to renegotiate the request if charges are too high;

  • Choose whether to inspect the requested information (most often at no charge), receive copies of the information or both;

  • A waiver or reduction of charges if the governmental body determines that access to the information primarily benefits the general public;

  • Notice when the governmental body asks the Office of the Attorney General for a ruling on whether the information can be withheld under one of the accepted exceptions;

  • Lodge a complaint about charges for public records with the General Services Commission and a complaint related to other possible violations with the county attorney, criminal district attorney, or Office of the Attorney General.

You have the right to:

  • Prompt access to information that is not confidential or otherwise protected;

  • Receive treatment equal to all other requestors, including accommodation in accordance with ADA requirements;

  • Receive certain kinds of information without exceptions, like the voting record of public officials or information related to the receipt, expenditure or estimated need for public funds, and other items;

  • Receive a statement of estimated charges, when charges exceed $40, in advance of work being started and opportunity to renegotiate the request if charges are too high;

  • Choose whether to inspect the requested information (most often at no charge), receive copies of the information or both;

  • A waiver or reduction of charges if the governmental body determines that access to the information primarily benefits the general public;

  • Notice when the governmental body asks the Office of the Attorney General for a ruling on whether the information can be withheld under one of the accepted exceptions;

  • Lodge a complaint about charges for public records with the General Services Commission and a complaint related to other possible violations with the county attorney, criminal district attorney, or Office of the Attorney General.

 

Procedures to Obtain Information

  • Submit a written request (mail, fax, email or in person) according to a governmental body's reasonable procedures.

  • Include enough description and detail about the information requested to enable the governmental body to accurately identify and locate the items requested.

  • Cooperate with the governmental body's reasonable efforts to clarify the type or amount of information requested.

A. Information to be released

  • You may review it promptly, and if it cannot be produced within 10 working days the public information officer will notify you in writing of the reasonable date and time when it will be available.

  • Keep appointments to inspect records or pick up copies or risk losing the opportunity to see the information.

 

Cost of Records

  • You must respond to any written estimate of charges within 10 days of the date the governmental body sent it or the request may be deemed withdrawn.

  • If estimated costs exceed $100.00 (or $50.00 if a governmental body has fewer than 16 full time employees) the governmental body may require a bond, prepayment or deposit.

  • You may ask the governmental body to determine whether providing the information primarily benefits the general public, resulting in a waiver or reduction of charges.

  • Make a timely payment for all mutually agreed charges. A governmental body can demand payment of overdue balances exceeding $100.00, or obtain a security deposit, before processing additional requests from you.

 

B. Information that may be withheld due to an exception

You have the right to:

  • By the 10th business day after you file your request, a governmental body must:

    • request an Attorney General opinion and state which exceptions apply;

    • notify the requestor of the referral to the Attorney General; and

    • notify third parties if the request involves their proprietary information.

    • Failure to request an AG opinion and notify the requestor within 10 business days will result in a presumption that the information is open unless there is a compelling reason to withhold it.

  • Requestors may send a letter to the Attorney General arguing for release, and may review arguments made by the governmental body.

  • The Attorney General must issue an opinion by the 65th working day from the day you made the request.

  • Governmental bodies must release information determined by the Attorney General to be open or file suit within 30 calendar days, and they may not ask the Attorney General to "reconsider" an opinion.

  • To request information from this governmental body, please contact:

 

By mail to:

Cynthia Trowbridge, Director of Administration
Deep East Texas Council of Governments
210 Premier DR
Jasper, TX 75901

 

By e-mail to:

Cynthia Trowbridge, Director of Administration
Deep East Texas Council of Governments
ctrowbridge@detcog.org

 

By fax to:

Cynthia Trowbridge, Director of Administration
Deep East Texas Council of Governments
409-384-5390

 

By person at:

Cynthia Trowbridge, Director of Administration
Deep East Texas Council of Governments
210 Premier DR
Jasper, TX 75951
Jasper, TX 75901

For complaints regarding failure to release public information please contact your local County or District Attorney.
 

You may also contact the Office of the Attorney General, Open Records Hotline, at 512-478-6736 or toll-free at 1-877-673-6839.
 

For complaints regarding overcharges, please contact the General Services Commission at 512-475-2497.
 

If you need special accommodation pursuant to the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), please contact our ADA coordinator, at:
 

Charlesetta Malone, ADA Coordinator
Deep East Texas Council of Governments
210 Premier DR
Jasper, TX 75951
409-384-5704 (Phone)
409-384-5390 (Fax)
409-384-5975 (TDD)
cmalone@detcog.org (E-mail)

2019 by Deep Texas Council of Governments