Laura Lee Prather in Statesman: Sen. Kirk Watson Tries to Restore Strength of Texas Public Information Act, Again

02/27/2019

Laura Lee Prather, partner and head of Haynes and Boone, LLP’s Media Law Practice Group, talked with the Austin American-Statesman about a loophole in the Texas Public Information Act that critics say allows governments and private companies to withhold basic records about how taxpayer money is spent.

The article cites the 2015 Boeing Co. v. Paxton decision, which Texas Sen. Kirk Watson has been pushing to undo.

Here is an excerpt of the article:

In the Boeing ruling, the court significantly expanded a provision to the Public Information Act designed to protect the trade secrets and proprietary information of private companies that pursue government contracts, letting them withhold not just industry-specific business secrets but also such basic information as the amount of taxpayer money paid to the vendors.

As of January, the attorney general’s office, which adjudicates disputes over which records ought to be public, has cited the Boeing ruling more than 2,600 times in open records decisions. In almost all of those cases it did so to prevent information from being disclosed to the public, according to Laura Lee Prather, a partner with the Haynes and Boone law firm who specializes in First Amendment issues.

To read the full article, click here.

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