Texas Public Information Act and Researching in the State Archives
Records of the legislative and executive branches of state government and local government records held by the State Archives are subject to the provisions of the Public Information Act. The Act makes records open for research with certain exceptions. While only the Texas Attorney General can determine if information cannot be released, the Archives must determine if information may potentially be confidential before an Attorney General's decision can be requested.
Some records in the State Archives require an archivist's review for information that may be confidential before they can be used for research. If no records are found that may be confidential, the records will be available upon completion of the review. If the archivist finds information that may be confidential, the requester will be consulted to determine if redacting and/or removing the information is acceptable to the research needs. New exceptions to the Public Information Act are created during each legislative session. To date, the Archives normally redacts or removes:
- Social security numbers
- E-mail addresses
Home addresses, phone numbers, social security numbers, and personal
family information of government employees and officials
- Physical and mental health information
- Account numbers (e.g., credit cards, FedEx accounts, bank accounts, etc.)
- Driver's license numbers
- Names of juvenile offenders
- Private information about an individual
- Names and other identifying information about recipients of social services
- Information about jurors and prospective jurors
If the researcher wishes to seek access to this or other information excepted from disclosure by the Public Information Act, the Archives will immediately seek an Attorney General's decision. By law, the Attorney General has 45 working days to render a decision.