|Office of the Attorney General - State of Texas
March 26, 1999
Dear Ms. Soldano:
You ask whether certain information is subject to required public disclosure under the Open Records Act, chapter 552 of the Government Code. Your request was assigned ID# 124679.
Section 552.301(a) of the Government Code provides in part that:
A governmental body that receives a written request for information that it wishes to withhold from public disclosure and that it considers to be within one of the [act's] exceptions . . . must ask for a decision from the attorney general about whether the information is within that exception if there has not been a previous determination about whether the information falls within one of the exceptions. The governmental body must ask for the attorney general's decision and state the exceptions that apply within a reasonable time but not later than the 10th business day after the date of receiving the request.
In this case, this office did not receive the request for a decision within the 10 business day period mandated by section 552.301(a). Because the request for a decision was not timely received, the requested information is presumed to be public information. Gov't Code § 552.302; see Hancock v. State Bd. of Ins., 797 S.W.2d 379 (Tex. App.--Austin 1990, no writ).
In order to overcome the presumption that the requested information is public information, a governmental body must provide compelling reasons why the information should not be disclosed. Hancock, 797 S.W.2d at 381; see Open Records Decision No. 630 (1994). You asset that section 552.105 requires the information to be protected from disclosure, but your section 552.105 interest was waived by failure to timely seek a decision from this office. Thus, we conclude that the information must be released to the requestor.
We are resolving this matter with this informal letter ruling rather than with a published open records decision. This ruling is limited to the particular records at issue under the facts presented to us in this request and may not be relied upon as a previous determination regarding any other records. If you have questions about this ruling, please contact our office.
Yours very truly,
Ruth H. Soucy
Assistant Attorney General
Open Records Division
Ref.: ID# 124679
Enclosures: Submitted documents
cc: Ms. Holly Montalbano
POST OFFICE BOX 12548, AUSTIN, TEXAS 78711-2548 TEL: (512) 463-2100 WEB: WWW.OAG.STATE.TX.US