Texans are an essential part of the Texas government. The wants and needs of the citizens should be part of every action their elected officials take.
Part of the process for Texans being involved in their government includes having information about what is happening and what has happened. The Texas Public Information Act (PIA) was designed to help citizens get the information they need about their government and their state.
Here’s an overview of what information is part of the PIA.
What information is included under the PIA?
The Public Information Act applies to all governmental bodies, including:
- Boards and committees
- Legislative bodies
- Private organizations that hold governmental records
With few exceptions, any member of the public can request information from any Texas governmental body.
How fast do we need to provide information?
It is not always possible to drop everything and get a large amount of information to a requestor. There is, however, an expectation that citizens can count on receiving information “promptly.”
There is no specific rule on what, “promptly” means, but communication is vital. If a request is going to take more than 10 business days, you must notify the requestor when you can release the information.
What about the cost?
The time and resources needed to put information together for a requestor can add up; especially if there are many people requesting information from your government office. While you do not have to provide the information for free, you do need to disclose the estimated cost to the requestor in advance.