Public Information Act

Public Information Act

The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) has set forth tips to help you make a successful Public Information Act request. (https://www.texasattorneygeneral.gov/og/how-to-request-public-information) In part, the tips are as follows:

1. Your request must be in writing to the governmental entity you believe maintains the documents
2. Your request should be for documents or other information that is already in existence

Governmental bodies are not required to answer questions, perform legal research, or comply with a continuing request to supply information on a periodic basis as such information is prepared in the future.

3. The OAG recommends that all requests be sent by U.S. mail, electronic mail, hand delivery, or any other method approved by the governmental body and that a copy of the original request and proof of its receipt by the governmental body be kept.
4. The OAG recommends that all requests be addressed to the Officer for Public Information or the chief administrative officer of the governmental body. Requests made by electronic mail must be addressed to the Officer for Public Information or the chief administrative officer in order to trigger an obligation under the Public Information Act.
5. If you believe that a governmental body has not responded as required by the Public Information Act, the OAG recommends that you contact the OAG Open Records Division Hotline at (512) 478-6736 or toll-free (877) 673-6839.

 What Requestors Can Expect After a Request is Made

• The governmental body must "promptly" produce public information in response to your request. "Promptly" means that a governmental body may take a reasonable amount of time to produce the information, which varies depending on the facts in each case. The amount of information you have requested is highly relevant to what makes for a reasonable response time.
• The Public Information Act prohibits the governmental body from asking you why you want the information you have requested. The governmental body may, however, ask you to clarify your request if they are uncertain as to what you want, and they may discuss with you how the scope of your request may be narrowed if you have requested a large amount of information.
• If the governmental body wishes to withhold information from you, it must:
1. Seek an attorney general decision within ten business days of its receipt of your request and state the exceptions to disclosure that it believes are applicable. The governmental body must also send you a copy of its letter to the attorney general requesting a decision within ten business days. If the governmental body does not notify you of its request for an attorney general decision, the information you requested is generally presumed to be open to the public.
2. Within fifteen business days of receiving your request, the governmental body must send the attorney general its arguments for withholding the information you requested and copies of the information you have requested. You are entitled to receive this notice; however, if the letter to the attorney general contains the substance of the information requested, you may receive a redacted copy of the letter. If the governmental body does not send you a copy of this letter, you may request it from the attorney general by writing to:

Lauren Downey, Public Information Coordinator
Office of the Attorney General
P.O. Box 12548
Austin, Texas 78711-2548
FAX (512) 494-8017

If the governmental body does not timely request an attorney general decision, notify you that it is seeking an attorney general decision, and submit to the attorney general the information you requested, the information is generally presumed to be open to the public.

When an Attorney General Decision is Issued

The OAG generally issues its decisions within 45 days of receipt of the request for a decision. At that time, The OAG will send you a copy of the ruling. The OAG will also send the governmental body a copy of the decision, as well as the information that you requested. If the decision requires that some or all of the information be released to you, the governmental body will send you the information. If you have questions about a decision you have received, you may call the Open Government Hotline toll free at (877) 673-6839 (877-OPENTEX).

If the decision requires the governmental body to release certain information to you, the governmental body must do one of three things:

1. release the information to you;
2. notify you of the exact day, time and place that copies of the records will be provided or that the records can be inspected; or
3. notify you of its intent to challenge the decision in court.

If the governmental body fails to do one of these three things, you should submit a written complaint to the Open Records Division. You may also file a complaint with your local district or county attorney or follow the litigation option identified in subchapter H of chapter 552 regarding civil enforcement actions.

If you have received a ruling that allows the governmental body to withhold all or some of the information you have requested, and you disagree with the ruling, you can appeal that decision by litigation. See subchapter H, chapter 552 of the Texas Government Code.

If you have questions about charges for the information you have requested, contact the Open Government Cost Hotline for the Office of the Attorney General at (512) 475-2497. 

Public Information Request

If you would like to view or obtain copies of records under the Texas Public Information Act, please send a written request. 

The request should include your name, address, and as much description as you can provide regarding the records you are requesting.  Requests for information may be mailed to the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement - Public Information Coordinator, 6330 East Hwy. 290, Ste. 200, Austin, Texas 78723; dropped off in person at 6330 East Hwy. 290, Ste. 200; or submitted via email to open_records@tcole.texas.gov

Please note that as of September 1, 2019, requests for information sent via fax will no longer be accepted. 

TCOLE has available a Public Information Request form that may be submitted electronically to open_records@tcole.texas.gov.

TCOLE will not accept email requests which contain a secure site to open the request.

TCOLE is under no legal obligation to respond if the requirements of the Public Information Act are not followed.  For questions about the Public Information Act, please contact the Texas Attorney General.

TCOLE charges for certifying copies.  Our charges are based on the schedule recommended by the Office of the Attorney General.  A certified copy will cost $0.50 per page and a cost statement will be provided to you after the request is received and the cost is calculated.  Per TCOLE's rules handbook, a business record affidavit will require a $35.00 service fee.  See rules handbook for fee schedule 

Media Information

Request for information by a media outlet that is not for open records information may contact the Government Relations Office at 512-936-7715.

Law Enforcement Investigative Requests and Subpoena Requests

Requests from law enforcement agencies conducting investigations on licensees or requesting information via subpoena should contact the Enforcement Division at (512) 936-7700