By Mike Cronin | Texas Watchdog
Two more local governments in Texas have passed laws designed to deter “serial requestors” of public records.
Corsicana and Kemah city councils earlier this month each passed ordinances that allow public officials to bill citizens for staff time that meets or exceeds 36 hours responding to public information requests during a 12-month period.
Those decisions revive a debate about the 2007 state law that enabled local government agencies to pass on such costs: Is the effect one of government efficiency or reduced government transparency?
Corsicana and Kemah city officials contend the new policies are necessary to prevent government employees from wasting valuable time rummaging for files when they should be attending to city business.
Open government advocates argue that providing citizens with public information is central to a government agency’s business.