SB 515

85(R) - 2017
Senate Business & Commerce
Senate Business & Commerce
Local Government
Open Records
Public Lands

Vote Recommendation

  • Neutral
  • Neutral
  • Neutral
  • Positive
  • Neutral


Van Taylor

Bill Caption

Relating to the right of certain public officers to access public information, documents, records, and property.

Fiscal Notes

No significant fiscal implication to the State is anticipated.

Bill Analysis

Under current law, there are no provisions which explicitly facilitate a process for certain government officials to access confidential information. SB 515 would allow state officials and certain local government officials access to public information. This would include confidential information, as bound under a confidentiality agreement, and would introduce a process for request and appeal that certain information be deemed not confidential by the attorney general. This bill would also ensure government officials have access to public lands and buildings. Mishandling of confidential information by an elected official would be a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in a county jail, up to $1,000 in fines, or both.

Vote Recommendation Notes

Legislators and other elected officials are charged by the voters with holding agencies and governmental entities accountable. Yet currently these entities can delay, withhold, or even refuse to provide information to elected officials unless a number of hurdles are jumped. SB 515 aims to cut through the red tape and supports the principle of limited government because enabling more officials access to public information increases the transparency and effectiveness of state and local governance. For this reason, we support SB 515.