Texas Supreme Court ruling helps bar the door to public release of company records, critics say

A Texas Supreme Court decision last year that one open records advocate said "blew a hole in the Texas Public Information Act" has been used in the past few months to shield records ranging from Uber's driver information in Houston to how much singer Enrique Iglesias was paid for a McAllen Christmas concert.

The 7-1 decision, in the Boeing v. Paxton case, was issued on June 19. In it, the justices decided businesses can assert in Texas that information they turn over to a government agency that could give competitors an advantage can be withheld from public review.

Lowering the standard for claiming a competitive advantage worries public access advocates and some lawmakers because of its potential for abuse. Companies can claim a long list of details they provide to public agencies are secret because they could give someone in their industry a leg up."We are just now starting to see the effects of it and it does widely expand this claim of competitive advantage," said Kelley Shannon, executive director of the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas. Continue…