Office of the Attorney General
2020 Open Government
December 3, 9, 10 & 17, 2020 - 2-5 p.m.
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conference webinar materials.
December 3, 2020 - 2-5 p.m.
The Basics of the Public Information Act
This session will build on the Public Information Act 101 video presentation. Please watch the video prior to this webinar to ensure that you have a solid foundation to respond to requests received under the Public Information Act.
Practical Tips: Your To-Do List: To do lists help make sure nothing is missed, even in complicated processes. Here we will cover the basic steps you can use to handle public information requests and will discuss advanced topics related to the open records process so you can create your own workflow.
Cost Basics: Here we will focus on the basics of charges for providing information under the Public Information Act. It will include an emphasis on the obligations a governmental body has when charging for providing information to requestors.
PIA Update and Look Forward: This portion of the session will focus on everything new under the Public Information Act and provide a look forward to the coming legislative session.
December 9, 2020 - 2-5 p.m.
Beyond the Basics of Open Government
This session will focus on situations when a governmental body will need to consider confidentiality interests beyond its own. It will also look at times a governmental body does not need to request a ruling and conclude with a look at common cost pitfalls.
Rights of Access: We will look at situations when a requestor may have a right of access to information that other members of the public do not.
Redacting On Your Own: Governmental bodies can withhold numerous types of information without the necessity of requesting an attorney general decision. This topic will address redacting information as allowed by law so you can release information to requestors quickly and accurately.
Advanced Cost Rules: To end today's training, we will focus on the pitfalls and mistakes the Open Records Division sees most often when a governmental body calculates allowable charges under the Public Information Act.
December 10, 2020 - 2-5 p.m.
Open Meetings Act
This session focuses on the suspension of certain provisions in the Open Meetings Act during the COVID-19 pandemic and how governmental bodies are adapting during this time. If you are not familiar with the basic requirements of the OMA, please take this Open Meetings Act Basic Training course.
The Governor’s Suspension of Certain OMA Provisions in Response to COVID-19: At the beginning of the COVID-19 disaster, the Governor suspended certain provisions of the Open Meetings Act to generally allow governmental bodies to meet remotely. This section will review the Governor’s suspension order in detail to discuss which provisions were suspended and which remain.
Conducting Virtual Meetings: The Open Meetings Act allows for meetings by videoconference to some extent, and the Governor’s suspension increases the flexibility that governmental bodies have to meet remotely. This section will discuss the current law surrounding virtual meetings and provide a survey of various tools and technologies governmental bodies are using to conduct their meetings.
Public Comment During the COVID-19 Disaster: Newly enacted 551.007 of the Government Code requires local governmental bodies to provide the opportunity for public comment, and the Governor’s suspension order requires that members of the public still be entitled to participate and address the governmental body during a telephonic or videoconference meeting. This session will discuss the current status of the law and provide examples of how some governmental bodies are conducting public comment sessions while meeting remotely.
Hybrid or In-Person Meetings: Despite the Governor’s suspension allowing for remote meetings, some governmental bodies desire to continue or return to in-person meetings. This session will discuss legal points to consider, options that governmental bodies have in conducting these meetings and steps that governmental bodies can take to better protect their members staff and the public at in-person meetings.
December 17, 2020 - 2-5 p.m.
When is Information Excepted From Disclosure?
This session will review a variety of exceptions to disclosure under the Public Information Act. It is designed to help governmental bodies and requestors understand when information may be withheld to protect a governmental body’s interests and when information must be withheld to protect others.
Personnel Files: This section will focus on the privacy doctrines and statutes that make certain information maintained in personnel files and administrative records excepted from disclosure under the Public Information Act.
Third Party Records: We will look at how to handle records where other parties, including other governmental bodies and private entities, may have an interest.
Law Enforcement Records: This section will focus on the exceptions and statutes that may apply to information contained in records created during law enforcement and first responder activities.