|Office of the Attorney General - State of Texas
August 23, 2000
Mr. J. Robert Giddings
Dear Mr. Giddings:
You ask whether certain information is subject to required public disclosure under chapter 552 of the Government Code. Your request was assigned ID# 138267.
The University of Texas System (the "system") received a request for a "draft copy of the University of Texas-Austin budget for 2000-2001." You claim that the requested information is excepted from disclosure under sections 552.106 and 552.111 of the Government Code. We have considered the exceptions you claim and reviewed the submitted information.
Section 552.111 excepts "an interagency or intraagency memorandum or letter that would not be available by law to a party in litigation with the agency." Gov't Code § 522.111. In Open Records Decision No. 615 (1993), this office reexamined the predecessor to the section 552.111 exception in light of the decision in Texas Department of Public Safety v. Gilbreath, 842 S.W.2d 408 (Tex. App.-Austin 1992, no writ), and held that section 552.111 excepts only those internal communications consisting of advice, recommendations, opinions, and other material reflecting the policymaking processes of the governmental body. The draft of a document that has been released or is intended for release in final form necessarily represents the advice, opinion, and recommendation of the drafter as to the form and content of the final document, and may therefore be withheld under section 552.111 of the Government Code. See Open Records Decision No. 559 (1990). Generally, section 552.111 does not except from disclosure purely factual information that is severable from the opinion portions of internal memoranda. Open Records Decision No. 615 at 4-5 (1993). Yet, where a document is a genuine preliminary draft that has been released or is intended for release in final form, factual information in that draft which also appears in a released or releasable final version is excepted from disclosure by section 552.111. Open Records Decision No. 559 (1990). However, severable factual information appearing in the draft but not in the final version is not excepted by section 552.111. Id.
You state that the draft budget is a working document which goes through numerous revisions at different levels of the system's administration until it is approved by the Board of Regents at a public meeting held in August, 2000. You further state that the budget will be subject to release after the Board of Regent's approval. Based on your representations and our review of the information, we conclude that the draft copy of The University of Texas-Austin budget for 2000-2001 is excepted under section 552.111.(1) Therefore, you may withhold the draft budget.
If this ruling requires or permits the governmental body to withhold all or some of the requested information, the requestor can appeal that decision by suing the governmental body. Id. § 552.321(a); Texas Department of Public Safety v. Gilbreath, 842 S.W.2d 408,411 (Tex. App.-Austin 1992, no writ).
Ref: ID# 138267
Encl: Submitted documents
cc: Ms. Sharon Jayson
1. Because we have found that the information is excepted under section 552.111, we need not discuss the applicability of section 552.106.