Catastrophe Notice - Section 552.2325 of the Government Code
Note: The 87th Legislature amended certain subsections of section 552.2325 of the Government Code. These amendments are effective September 1, 2021.
Section 552.2325(a)(2) clarifies that a “catastrophe” does not mean a period when staff is required to work remotely and can access information responsive to an application for information electronically, but the physical office of the governmental body is closed.
Section 552.2325(d) also clarifies that governmental bodies may suspend the applicability of the requirements of Chapter 552 under this subsection only once for each catastrophe.
Additionally, the 87th Legislature added section 552.2211, which states, in part, “if a governmental body closes its physical offices, but requires staff to work, including remotely, then the governmental body shall make a good faith effort to continue responding to applications for public information, to the extent staff have access to public information responsive to an application, pursuant to this chapter while its administrative offices are closed.”
Pursuant to section 552.2325(b) of the Government Code, a governmental body may suspend the applicability of the requirements of the Public Information Act (the “PIA”) if the governmental body is currently significantly impacted by a catastrophe such that the catastrophe causes the inability of a governmental body to comply with the requirements of the Act and provides proper notice in accordance with this section. In order to suspend the requirements of the PIA, a governmental body must provide notice to the Office of the Attorney General (“OAG”) in accordance with sections 552.2325(c) and 552.2325(e) of the Government Code. The OAG is required to post a copy of a catastrophe notice provided under these subsections on its website for one calendar year from the date the OAG received a copy of the notice.
Submit a Catastrophe Notice
The OAG has created a web-based form to allow governmental bodies to electronically submit the information required by section 552.2325(l) of the Government Code. If a governmental body uses the new web-based form for submission, the governmental body should not submit a paper copy of the catastrophe notice. However, if a governmental body is unable to use the web-based form, it may submit a paper copy of the catastrophe notice by mail.
If a governmental body is unable submit a catastrophe via the above listed methods, please contact the Open Government Hotline at (512) 478-6736 or toll free at (877) 673-6839 for assistance.