Materials are listed below. Click to download.

December 3, 2020 - 2-5 p.m.

The Basics of the Public Information Act 

Practical Tips: Your To-Do List (PDF):  To do lists help make sure nothing is missed, even in complicated processes.  Here we cover the basic steps you can use to handle public information requests and advanced topics related to the open records process so you can create your own workflow.

Cost Basics (PDF): Here we focus on the basics of charges for providing information under the Public Information Act.  It includes an emphasis on the obligations a governmental body has when charging for providing information to requestors.

PIA Update and Look Forward (PDF): This portion of the session addressed everything new under the Public Information Act and provide a look forward to the coming legislative session. 

December 9, 2020 - 2-5 p.m.

Beyond the Basics of Open Government

Rights of Access (PDF): We look at situations when a requestor may have a right of access to information that other members of the public do not.

Redacting On Your Own (PDF): Governmental bodies can withhold numerous types of information without the necessity of requesting an attorney general decision.  This topic addressed redacting information as allowed by law so you can release information to requestors quickly and accurately.

Advanced Cost Rules (PDF):  This topic focused on the pitfalls and mistakes the Open Records Division sees most often when a governmental body calculates allowable charges under the Public Information Act.  

December 10, 2020 - 2-5 p.m.

Open Meetings Act 

The Governor’s Suspension of Certain OMA Provisions in Response to COVID-19 (PDF): At the beginning of the COVID-19 disaster, the Governor suspended certain provisions of the Open Meetings Act to generally allow governmental bodies to meet remotely.  This section reviews the Governor’s suspension order in detail to discuss which provisions were suspended and which remain.

Conducting Virtual Meetings (PDF): The Open Meetings Act allows for meetings by videoconference to some extent, and the Governor’s suspension increases the flexibility that governmental bodies have to meet remotely.  Here we discussed the current law surrounding virtual meetings and provided a survey of various tools and technologies governmental bodies are using to conduct their meetings.    

Public Comment During the COVID-19 Disaster: Newly enacted 551.007 of the Government Code requires local governmental bodies to provide the opportunity for public comment, and the Governor’s suspension order requires that members of the public still be entitled to participate and address the governmental body during a telephonic or videoconference meeting.  This session discussed the current status of the law and provide examples of how some governmental bodies are conducting public comment sessions while meeting remotely.

Hybrid or In-Person Meetings (PDF): Despite the Governor’s suspension allowing for remote meetings, some governmental bodies desire to continue or return to in-person meetings. This session discussed legal points to consider, options that governmental bodies have in conducting these meetings and steps that governmental bodies can take to better protect their members staff and the public at in-person meetings.

December 17, 2020 - 2-5 p.m.

When is Information Excepted From Disclosure?

Personnel Files (PDF): This section focused on the privacy doctrines and statutes that make certain information maintained in personnel files and administrative records excepted from disclosure under the Public Information Act.

Third Party Records (PDF): This presentation showed you how to handle records where other parties, including other governmental bodies and private entities, may have an interest.

Law Enforcement Records (PDF): This section focused on the exceptions and statutes that may apply to information contained in records created during law enforcement and first responder activities.