Saturday, December 12, 2009

Texas: Increase in requests to withhold public data worries advocates

Requests that the Texas attorney general withhold information requested by the public increased 88 percent in five years, according to a Caller-Times analysis of state records.

It’s a trend that open-government advocates say could indicate an abuse of the state system by local governments.

The city of Corpus Christi sought to deny more than a third of the requests it received for public information in 2008 and nearly half the requests in the first six months of 2009. The practice mirrors a pattern among state agencies and Texas cities: referring an increasing percentage of requests to the attorney general for review and possible denial, despite no major changes in the law’s exceptions that allow some types of information to be withheld.

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