Laura Prather Featured at Texas Tribune Open Government Panel


Haynes and Boone, LLP Partner Laura Prather was featured at a Texas Tribune discussion on the Texas Public Information Act and transparency in government on March 29 in Austin.

Prather said that the Texas Supreme Court in 2015 caused “a sea change” in a ruling that made it easier for businesses to shield their contracts for government projects from public scrutiny. She said the decision in Boeing Co. v. Paxton created “an enormous gaping loophole” in the Texas Public Information Act.

“You are no longer able to find out how your money is being spent,” she said.

Prather said access to information has been curtailed in other ways, including the shielding of birth dates in public records so that, for instance, a parent can't research a school bus driver's criminal history. She said the restrictions also impact businesses doing same-day credit checks and background checks on prospective employees.

Texas Tribune Executive Editor Ross Ramsey moderated the panel, titled “Open Government, Engaged Citizens: A Conversation on Texas’ Public Information Act.” It included state Rep. Todd Hunter, R-Corpus Christi, Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin, and James Quintero of the Texas Public Policy Foundation.

To watch Prather’s highlights, click here. (Video courtesy of Texas Tribune)

To watch the full video, click here.

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