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RULE §1.10Administration of the Open Records Act

(a) The agency requires that all public information requests be in writing unless there are special circumstances. The Commissioner or his or her designee may determine whether a verbal request may be accepted.

(b) The person handling the request for public information shall review the request and determine what records are requested; who is requesting the records; whether inspection or actual copies of the records are requested; and whether the requested records are open, confidential, or partially open and partially confidential. The Office of General Counsel shall provide assistance in making these determinations.

(c) To the extent possible, the agency shall attempt to accommodate a requestor by providing information in the format requested. For example, if a requestor asks that information be provided on a diskette and the requested information is electronically stored, the agency will provide the information on diskette. The agency is not required to acquire software, hardware, or programming capabilities that it does not already possess to accommodate a particular kind of request except in accordance with the Open Records Act, (Texas Government Code, §552.231).

(d) Provision of a copy of public information in the requested medium must not violate the terms of any copyright agreement between the agency and a third party.

(e) Charges for public records shall be made in accordance with the rates established in the rules of the Texas Building and Procurement Commission with the following exceptions:

  (1) The agency, at its discretion, may provide public information without charge or at a reduced charge if the waiver or reduction of the charge is in the public interest, because providing the copies primarily benefits the general public, or if the cost for the collection of a charge will exceed the amount of the charge.

  (2) The agency may set the price for publications it publishes for public dissemination or it may disseminate them free of charge. This rule does not limit the costs of agency publications.

(f) The person handling the request for public information must have the records ready for inspection or copies duplicated within 10 business days after the date the agency received the request. If the records cannot be produced for inspection or duplication within 10 business days after the date the agency received the request, the agency shall certify that fact in writing to the requestor and set a date and hour within a reasonable time when the information will be available for inspection or duplication.

  (1) Prior to the end of the 10 business days or the set date and hour, if applicable, the agency shall notify the requestor of the estimated costs if the costs will be over $100.

  (2) The agency may require a cash deposit on requests for copies of public information which are estimated to exceed $100.

  (3) All efforts shall be made to process requests as efficiently as possible so that requested information will be provided at the lowest possible charge.

  (4) Full disclosure shall be made to the requesting party as to how the charges were calculated.

  (5) All charges for public information must be paid to the agency before the public information is actually provided to the requestor by inspection or duplication. Failure of the requestor to pay the costs of the copies within 30 days of notification of the estimated costs, or a longer period of time, if granted by the agency, shall be considered a withdrawal of the request for information.

  (6) If a request for information requires programming or manipulation of data pursuant to Texas Government Code, §552.231, the time frame in this subsection shall not apply until the requestor files the written statement described in the Texas Government Code, §552.231(d)(1) or (2). Once the written statement is filed, the agency shall comply with this subsection.

Source Note: The provisions of this §1.10 adopted to be effective February 26, 2004, 29 TexReg 1658

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