The Texas Public Information Act provides that information in the possession of a governmental body is public information and open to the public unless it falls within one of the Act's specific exceptions to disclosure. This means that each person is entitled to complete information about the affairs of government and the official acts of public officials and employees at all times, unless otherwise expressly provided by law. Upon a proper request, governmental bodies shall promptly release requested information that is not confidential by law or information for which an exception to disclosure has been sought.
The Texas Board of Nursing is committed to upholding the Public Information Act and to ensuring public access to its records.
Rights of Requestors
You have the right to:
- Prompt access to information that is not confidential or otherwise protected;
- Receive treatment equal to all other requestors, including accommodation in accordance with ADA requirements;
- Receive certain kinds of information that are not excepted, like the voting record of public officials or information related to the receipt, expenditure or estimated need for public funds;
- Receive a statement of estimated charges, when charges exceed $40, in advance of work being started and opportunity to renegotiate the request if charges are too high;
- Choose whether to inspect the requested information, receive copies of the information or both;
- A waiver or reduction of charges if the governmental body determines that access to the information primarily benefits the general public;
- Notice when the governmental body asks the Office of the Attorney General for a ruling on whether the information can be withheld under one of the accepted exceptions;
- Lodge a complaint about charges for public records with the General Services Commission and a complaint related to other possible violations with the county attorney, criminal district attorney, or Office of the Attorney General.
Responsibilities of Governmental Bodies
All governmental bodies responding to information requests have the responsibility to:
- Establish reasonable procedures for inspecting and copying public information and inform requestors of these procedures;
- Treat all requestors equally, including accommodation in accordance with ADA requirements;
- Be informed about open records laws and educate employees on the requirements of those laws;
- Inform requestors of the estimated charges greater than $40 and any changes in the estimates, and confirm that the requestor agrees in writing to pay the costs before finalizing the request;
- Inform the requestor if the information cannot be provided promptly and establish a date and time to provide it within a reasonable time;
- Ask for a ruling from the Office of the Attorney General regarding any information to be withheld and inform the requestor of this request for ruling;
- Segregate public information from information that might be withheld and provide that public information promptly;
- Inform third parties if their proprietary information is being requested from the governmental body;
- Respond in writing to all written communications from the General Services Commission or the Office of the Attorney General regarding complaints about violations of the Act.
Procedures to Obtain Information
If you want to view or obtain copies of Board records, there are several options available. You may:
- Mail a written request to: Texas Board of Nursing, Attn: Custodian of Public Records, 333 Guadalupe, Ste 3-460, Austin, Texas 78701-3944;
- Email your request to: email@example.com;
- Fax your request to: (512) 305-7401; or
- Visit the Board office in person at: 333 Guadalupe, Ste 3-460, Austin, Texas.
What Your Request Should Include
Please include the following information to help ensure you receive the information you want:
- Your name and mailing address;
- Your telephone number (so we can contact you directly if we have questions about your request); and
- A list or description of the specific information of interest to you.
Be as specific as possible about the information you are seeking.
Exceptions to the Public Information Act
All Board of Nurse Examiner's records are available for public view unless one of the exceptions to disclosure listed in the Public Information Act applies. Subchapter C of Government Code Chapter 552 - Public Information lists the exceptions.
Information That May be Withheld Due to an Exception
- If the Texas Board of Nursing wishes to withhold public information, state law requires the Board to seek a ruling from the Attorney General within 10 business days of receipt of the written request.
- Failure of the governmental body to request an Attorney General opinion and notify the requestor within 10 business days will result in a presumption that the information is open unless there is a compelling reason to withhold it.
- If the Board cannot produce the requested public information within 10 business days, the Board must respond in writing to the requestor stating that fact and setting a reasonable time when the information will be available for inspection or duplication.
- Requestors may send a letter to the Attorney General arguing for release, and may review arguments made by the governmental body.
- Governmental bodies must release information determined by the Attorney General to be open or file suit challenging the decision no later than 30 days from receipt of the ruling.
Cost of Records
The Board of Nurse Examiner's charges for copies are based on the schedule recommended by the General Services Commission.
- You must respond to any written estimate of charges within 10 days of the date the governmental body sent it or the request may be deemed withdrawn.
- If estimated costs exceed $100.00 (or $50.00 if a governmental body has fewer than 16 full time employees) the governmental body may require a bond, prepayment or deposit.
- You may ask the governmental body to determine whether providing the information primarily benefits the general public, resulting in a waiver or reduction of charges.
- Make a timely payment for all mutually agreed charges. A governmental body can demand payment of overdue balances exceeding $100.00, or obtain a security deposit, before processing additional requests from you.
For complaints regarding failure to release public information, please contact your local County or District Attorney at 512-473-9415 or 512-473-9400 (Travis County).
- You may also contact the Office of the Attorney General, Open Records Hotline, at 512-478-6736 or toll-free at 1-877-673-6839.
- For complaints regarding overcharges, please contact the General Services Commission at 512-475-2497.
If you need special accommodation pursuant to the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), please contact our ADA Coordinator, Mark W. Majek, 512-305-6801.