SB 308

84(R) - 2015
Senate Criminal Justice
Senate Criminal Justice

Vote Recommendation

  • Neutral
  • Neutral
  • Neutral
  • Positive
  • Positive


John Whitmire


Rodney Ellis

Bill Caption

Relating to the application of public information laws to campus police departments at private institutions of higher education.

Fiscal Notes

No significant fiscal implication to the State or local government is anticipated.

Bill Analysis

SB 308 applies Chapter 552, Government Code “Open Government; Ethics” to campus police departments at private institutions. This bill allows campus police departments to be considered as a law enforcement agency for the purpose of this specific chapter. Chapter 552, Government Code is intended to allow Texans to remain “informed so that they may retain control over the instruments they created.”  Chapter 552.108 within the Government Code allows exceptions for law enforcement agencies to withhold information in cases where releasing the information would interfere with an investigation, the information that was requested did not result in a conviction, it is information related to a threat against a peace officer, or an internal record of law enforcement agency that is maintained for internal use only.

Vote Recommendation Notes

The intent of SB 308 according to the Committee Clerk of Senate Criminal Justice and the analysis provided on TLO is to stop private university police departments from withholding information from the public related to arrests. However, as the bill is written it still allows campus police departments numerous exceptions to withhold information where it is appropriate via Sec. 552.108 of the Government Code. This bill requires private university police departments to be held under the same standard as public university police departments.

Generally we do not support increased government regulations on private institutions. In this case, the police departments associated with private universities are fully vested by the state with the same authority as police departments on public universities. It makes perfect sense therefore that these police departments be subject to the same transparency and accountability standards regardless of what type of campus they serve. Harmonizing the transparency standards for law enforcement agencies authorized under state law is within the proper role of a limited government.

Organizations Supporting

Texas Municipal Police Association