Definition of Public Record

The law covers nearly all documents that are in the possession of government agencies in the state that are covered by the law. Section 552.002 says that information is public if it “is collected, assembled, or maintained under a law or ordinance or in connection with the transaction of official business” by a governmental body or for a governmental body, and the governmental body owns the information or has a right of access to it. 1

Exemptions to Public Records

Closed: Attorney consultations; real estate transactions; hearings of the ethics commission; personnel and individual student matters; and emergency medical service quality reviews, etc. 2

Who Can Make The Request?


Response Timeframe

10 days. 3

Information on Fees

Fees may cover copies. They may include labor, but such inclusion requires description. 4

Enforcement Mechanisms

You can sue. “(a) A requestor or the attorney general may file suit for a writ of mandamus compelling a governmental body to make information available for public inspection if the governmental body refuses to request an attorney general’s decision as provided by Subchapter G or refuses to supply public information or information that the attorney general has determined is public information that is not excepted from disclosure under Subchapter C.” Texas Government Code, Title 5, Subtitle A, Chapter 552, Subchapter A § 552.321 5

Attorney Fees

Yes, you can win attorney’s fees. 6

Do You Want to Make a Public Records Request?

The public records process begins with a public records request. Our guide outlines best practices for drafting well-defined requests for public information.

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Questions? Contact the Goldwater Institute.

If you have any questions regarding this guide or your rights to public information, please contact the Goldwater Institute at info@goldwaterinstitute.org to determine if the Institute can help you access information necessary to hold your government accountable.

Goldwater Institute