The Texas Legislature in 1973 reacted to the shame of a scandal involving legislators and state officials by passing a package of reform measures promoting a more open government.
The preamble of what’s now known as the Public Information Act said Texans “do not give their public servants the right to decide what is good for the people to know and what is not good for them to know. The people insist on remaining informed so that they may retain control over the instruments they have created.”
Now two rulings by the Texas Supreme Court have created gross exceptions to the law that violate that guiding principle.
A 2015 San Antonio case involving aerospace giant Boeing Co. has allowed companies and individuals holding government contracts to block disclosure of the terms by claiming it would give an advantage to competitors.
That same year, the Greater Houston Partnership was allowed to block release of information regarding its contracts to perform government services.