Texas open-government advocates look to 2019 to improve transparency

Open government advocates are spending the year ahead of the 2019 legislative session rallying allies to restore access to public information lost after a 2015 Texas Supreme Court ruling.
That year, the court ruled in Boeing v. Paxton that information that could help a business’ competitor cannot be made public, even if that company enters into an agreement with a governmental entity that involves taxpayer money. Local government officials have broadly used the ruling to block from the public access to contracts and information about people seeking publicly funded jobs.

In Austin, the city invoked the Boeing ruling to refuse access to the names of candidates for city manager, and Capital Metro pointed to the ruling to justify not releasing the names of candidates for its next president and CEO. In both cases the names were eventually released after Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton issued opinions in favor of the American-Statesman, which was seeking the names.

The restrictions don’t stop there, American-Statesman Editor Debbie Hiott said. Read more…