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PUBLIC INFORMATION DEFINED

 

As used in this policy, “public information” means, but is not limited to, information that is written, produced, collected, assembled, or maintained under a law or ordinance or in connection with the transaction of official business or as otherwise defined in the Texas Public Information Act (PIA).  Gov’t Code 552.002 et. seq.:

  1. By a board;
  2. For a board and the board:
    1. Owns the information;
    2. Has a right of access to the information; or
    3. Spends or contributes public money for the purpose of writing, producing, collecting, assembling, or maintaining the information; or
  3. By an individual officer or employee of a district in the officer’s or employee’s official capacity and the information pertains to official business of the district.

“Official business” means any matter over which a district has any authority, administrative duties, or advisory duties.

Information is “in connection with the transaction of official business” if the information is created by, transmitted to, received by, or maintained by an officer or employee of the district in the officer’s or employee’s official capacity, or a person or entity performing official business or a governmental function on behalf of a district, and pertains to official business of the district.

The definition of “public information” above applies to and includes any electronic communication created, transmitted, received, or maintained on any device if the communication is in connection with the transaction of official business.

Gov’t Code 552.002(a)–(a-2), .003(2-a)

Forms of Public Information

The general forms in which the media containing public information exist include a book, paper, letter, document, e-mail, Internet posting, text message, instant message, other electronic communication, printout, photograph, film, tape, microfiche, microfilm, photostat, sound recording, map, and drawing and a voice, data, or video representation held in computer memory.

The media on which public information is recorded include:

  1. Paper;
  2. Film;
  3. A magnetic, optical, solid state, or other device that can store an electronic signal;
  4. Tape;
  5. Mylar; and
  6. Any physical material on which information may be recorded, including linen, silk, and vellum.

Gov’t Code 552.002(b)–(c)

ONLINE MESSAGE BOARD

If a board maintains an online message board or similar Internet application under Government Code 551.006 [see BBI], and the board removes from the online message board or similar Internet application a communication that has been posted for at least 30 days, the board shall maintain the posting for a period of six years.  This communication is public information and must be disclosed in accordance with the PIA.  Gov’t Code 551.006(d)

Adopted: 3/12/82

Amended: 1/29/93, 3/22/96, 5/25/05, 9/29/17

Reviewed: