|Office of the Attorney General - State of Texas
October 17, 2000
Ms. Nydia D. Thomas
Dear Ms. Thomas:
You ask whether certain information is subject to required public disclosure under chapter 552 of the Government Code. Your request was assigned ID# 140253.
The Texas Juvenile Probation Commission (the "commission") received a request for the e-mail addresses of all county juvenile probation offices throughout the state. You claim that the requested information is excepted from disclosure under section 552.117 of the Government Code. We have considered the exception you claim and reviewed the submitted information.
Section 552.117 of the Government Code provides that information may be withheld if it is:
information that relates to the home address, home telephone number, social security number, or that reveals whether the following person has family members:
(1) a current or former official or employee of a governmental body, except as otherwise provided by Section 552.024[.] [Emphasis added.]
Gov't Code § 552.117 (part). Section 552.117(1) excepts from required public disclosure the listed information of public employees who request that this information be kept confidential under section 552.024 of the Government Code. The information requested, and the representative sample of information you submitted for our review, all relate to business e-mail addresses. Section 552.117 does not except from required public disclosure any business addresses or e-mail addresses. Therefore, you may not withhold the requested information under section 552.117.
We also understand you to argue that the information is not "public information" subject to the Public Information Act, at least not in the possession of the commission, because: the commission has not been specifically statutorily authorized to publish the business e-mail addresses of the juvenile probation departments it regulates; each local juvenile probation department should have the discretion to release or challenge the release of the information; and the e-mail capability "has been utilized solely to facilitate internal communications between the [commission] and the local departments." We disagree. Section 552.002 of the Government Code provides that information is "public information" if it is:
collected, assembled, or maintained under a law or ordinance or in connection with the transaction of official business:
(1) by a governmental body; or
(2) for a governmental body and the governmental body owns the information or has a right of access to it.
The commission maintains this information in connection with the transaction of official business. The information is public information, not subject to any exception to required public disclosure. The commission must release the requested information to the requestor, promptly. See Open Records Decision No. 664 (2000).
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).
Please remember that under the Act the release of information triggers certain procedures for costs and charges to the requestor. If records are released in compliance with this ruling, be sure that all charges for the information are at or below the legal amounts. Questions or complaints about over-charging must be directed to the General Services Commission at 512/475-2497.
Patricia Michels Anderson
Encl. Submitted documents
cc: Mr. Rafael F. Otero