Lynne Liberato in The Houston Chronicle: Open Records Law Limited

06/29/2015

The Texas Supreme Court on Friday limited the public's right to know about private groups that get government funds. 

In a 6-3 opinion, the court sided with the Greater Houston Partnership, agreeing that GHP doesn't have to open its check registers even thought it received funds from the city of Houston and other local governments worth about $1 million per year...

The case stemmed from a 2007 request by Jim Jenkins of Montgomery County, who wanted to see how GHP spends the city's money. GHP, the region's major economic development group, argued it wasn't a governmental body for the purposes of the act, and eventually sued to block disclosure of its finances...

Lynne Liberato, who argued for GHP, said governments outsource to the private sector all the time - like the foreign companies that build and operate toll roads. She said even in those situations, much information is still available through the government, such as contracts, reports and expenditures.  

The act defines it as an organization "supported in whole or in part by public funds."

The attorney general rulings that construed this to reach private entities were "bad law, and it doesn't make it any better that it's existed for 40 years," Liberato said. 

Excerpted from The Houston Chronicle. To read the full article, click here.

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