Texas Public Information Act and Researching in the State Archives

Executive branch state government records and local government records held by the State Archives are subject to the provisions of the Texas Public Information Act (PIA). The PIA makes records open for research with certain exceptions. Restricted information, as outlined in the statutes, applies to both physical and electronic records. As laws change, statutory restrictions may be added to or removed from these records.

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. 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. 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.

Requests for materials held within the State Archives, whether a Research Request or Public Information Act Request, must be submitted via this form: https://www.tsl.texas.gov/sites/default/files/public/tslac/ref/Texas_State_Archive_Material_Request_Form.pdf.  A Research Request is sufficient for requesting most State Archives materials. While a PIA Request is always an option, a PIA Request for State Archives materials is required only if a researcher does not agree to the redaction or removal of restricted government information (see: Texas Gov’t Code Chapter 552).

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

For further assistance with accessing materials within the State Archives, contact the Reference Desk: archinfo@tsl.texas.gov or 512-463-5455.

Page last modified: August 4, 2020