National Freedom of Information Coalition
Protecting Your Right to Open Government

Texas Senate approves Kirk Watson bill aimed at bolstering Public Information Act

The Texas Senate on Wednesday overwhelmingly approved a bill by Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin, that aims to restore the strength of the state’s freedom-of-information law following two 2015 court rulings that critics say undermined transparency by opening up massive loopholes for government contracting records.

In the 2017 legislative session, the Senate approved a more ambitious version of Watson’s bill that was aimed at reversing the effects of the two state Supreme Court rulings on the Public Information Act — Boeing vs. Paxton and Greater Houston Partnership vs. Paxton — but the proposal died in the House.

This session, Watson tailored Senate Bill 943 to meet the concerns of those who opposed his 2017 effort, especially business interests who said they feared the bill would have forced them to reveal trade secrets and proprietary information. (Read more here…)