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Relating to the right of officers of counties, county boards of school trustees, and county boards of education to obtain information, documents, and records.
No significant fiscal implication to the State is anticipated.
SB 335 adds a new section to the Local Government Code. Specifically, this bill would allow a county officer the right to access all confidential information of the government body the county officer oversees. This bill would require the government body to provide any public and confidential information to the county officer. However, the government body may require the county officer to sign a confidentiality agreement before handing over sensitive information.
If the county officer questions whether certain documents listed in a confidentiality agreement are confidential in nature, then he or she may request the attorney general (AG) to make a ruling on this matter. The AG would have to make this determination within a 45-day time period. Upon making the decision, this bill would allow the government entity or the county officer to appeal the AG’s decision to the district court if necessary.
SB 335 amends the Local Government Code by adding a new section to chapter 89. Specifically, this bill would grant a county official unfettered access to all documents within the government body overseen by that county official. This bill would reinforce and clarify existing law on this right for county officials.
It is within the proper role of government to allow county officials to have access to all information concerning the government body under their jurisdictional purview. Additionally, this legislation allows government entities to implement safeguards for confidential information by requiring county officials to sign a confidentiality agreement before relinquishing any documents.
For these reasons, we support SB 335 because it is within the proper role of government and it creates personal responsibility for anyone who has access to confidential information.