- Texas Tribune: Senate committee hears testimony on open records law
- Austin Statesman: Senate panel considers tighter open records law
- Austin Statesman: Make public record law more open
- SA Express News: Lawmakers to review Texas Open Records Act
- Fort Worth Star-Telegram: Openness in records law could be stronger
- Houston Chronicle: Texas open records act needs update, advocates say
- Texas Watchdog: Government contractors resist open records law with lawsuits
- Beaumont Enterprise: Legislature should improve, not weaken Open Records law
For about 20-25 years after the Sharpstown Bank scandal - the corruption episode which first spawned Texas' open records and open meetings acts - Texas did indeed have arguably the strongest open records law in the nation. Experts debated whether Texas or Florida had the stronger statute, but a legitimate case could be made for both. Today, no one could claim with a straight face that Texas' open records law holds a candle to Florida's, and there hasn't been an effective legislative champion for greater openness since around the time the Southwest Conference closed up shop.
With so few senators attending Monday's committee hearing, it's hard to judge legislative attitudes toward the issues raised there. (Regrettably, it sounds as though the Swiss-cheese-like law enforcement exception was barely discussed, if at all, though state Rep. Harold Dutton has filed a bill to reinstate the stronger, older standard for law enforcement disclosure.) Certainly, though, if the Legislature is going to take up open records questions next year, their goal should be to give the public more information, not to protect government and its agents from scrutiny.