May 18, 2019
The Texas House of Representatives gave final approval on Friday night to bipartisan legislation that closes significant loopholes in the Texas Public Information Act.
Senate Bill 943 restores public access to state and local contracting information in the wake of two Texas Supreme Court rulings that allowed private entities to more easily conceal their dealings with government.
“Today’s passage of SB 943 is a strong statement for transparency in government contracting. I am proud to have worked on this legislation over the last two and a half years to bring back the fundamental importance of knowing how our tax dollars are being spent,” said Rep. Giovanni Capriglione (R-Southlake), who carried the legislation with Sen. Kirk Watson (D-Austin).
“The Legislature is finally in a position to restore the public’s right to know,” Sen. Watson said. “If Texans are to hold their public officials accountable, access to public information is essential. I’m proud the Texas Legislature has stood strong for government transparency, and I’m grateful to Representative Capriglione and the dozens of stakeholders who worked with us to develop these agreed-to bills.”
Watson and Capriglione set out this session to address businesses’ legitimate concern about protecting proprietary information while ensuring the public can obtain key information about the deals made in the public’s name.
SB 943 strikes this balance by:
The legislation was crafted in consultation with the Texas Sunshine Coalition, which was formed during the last interim to advocate for greater government transparency. The coalition includes the Texas Public Policy Foundation, ACLU Texas, the League of Women Voters of Texas and several other organizations.
The Senate will concur with the amendments to the bill before it is sent to Gov. Abbott.
Kate Alexander, Office of Sen. Kirk Watson: (512) 463-0114
Katy Aldredge, Office of Rep. Giovanni Capriglione: (512) 463-0690