By Naishtat H.B. No. 3129
A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
1-1 AN ACT
1-2 relating to public access to information of the Texas Natural
1-3 Resource Conservation Commission; providing a penalty.
1-4 BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
1-5 SECTION 1. Section 5.121, Water Code, is amended to read as
1-7 Sec. 5.121. PUBLIC INFORMATION. (a) The commission shall
1-8 establish uniform procedures for providing access to public
1-9 information of the commission in its offices in Austin and in all
1-10 district offices.
1-11 (b) The commission:
1-12 (1) shall encourage all commission employees to assist
1-13 with access to public information; and
1-14 (2) may create an office in the agency to assist with
1-15 public participation.
1-16 (c) The commission shall comply with Section 2001.004,
1-17 Government Code, by indexing and making available for public
1-19 (1) all rules and all other written statements of
1-20 policy or interpretations formulated, adopted, or used by the
1-21 commission in the discharge of its functions; and [
1-22 (2) [ (b) The commission shall comply with Section
1-23 2001.004, Government Code, by indexing and making available for
1-24 public inspection] all of the commission's final orders, decisions,
2-1 and opinions.
2-2 SECTION 2. Subchapter D, Chapter 5, Water Code, is amended
2-3 by adding Section 5.123 to read as follows:
2-4 Sec. 5.123. CONFIDENTIALITY. (a) The commission shall
2-5 adopt rules for the submission to the commission of information
2-6 excepted from disclosure under Chapter 552, Government Code.
2-7 (b) A person who requests that the commission withhold from
2-8 public disclosure any information contained in one or more
2-9 documents must provide the commission:
2-10 (1) a list of each document or part of a document
2-11 claimed to be excepted from disclosure under Chapter 552,
2-12 Government Code, and a justification for the claim; and
2-13 (2) a copy of the document with the word
2-14 "confidential" marked conspicuously on each page that contains
2-15 information claimed to be excepted from disclosure under Chapter
2-16 552, Government Code.
2-17 (c) If, before the commission completes its review of an
2-18 application, a person requests access to information that relates
2-19 to the application and is claimed to be excepted from disclosure
2-20 under Chapter 552, Government Code, the commission may not proceed
2-21 with any process involving public participation in the review of
2-22 the application or make a decision on the application until:
2-23 (1) the attorney general renders a decision under
2-24 Chapter 552, Government Code, on the claim; or
2-25 (2) the person making the request agrees the process
2-26 may proceed or the decision may be made.
2-27 (d) If a person claims that information in an application or
3-1 related document submitted to the commission is excepted from
3-2 disclosure under Chapter 552, Government Code, and the commission
3-3 disagrees, the commission shall:
3-4 (1) deny the application; or
3-5 (2) return the application or related document to the
3-6 applicant and require the applicant to correct the application or
3-7 related document and refile it.
3-8 (e) A person commits an offense if the person:
3-9 (1) claims that information in a document submitted to
3-10 the commission is excepted from disclosure under Chapter 552,
3-11 Government Code; and
3-12 (2) knows or should know that the claim is erroneous.
3-13 (f) An offense under Subsection (e) is punishable under
3-14 Section 26.122, 26.136, or 26.2121 in the same manner as a
3-15 violation of a reporting requirement.
3-16 SECTION 3. The importance of this legislation and the
3-17 crowded condition of the calendars in both houses create an
3-18 emergency and an imperative public necessity that the
3-19 constitutional rule requiring bills to be read on three several
3-20 days in each house be suspended, and this rule is hereby suspended,
3-21 and that this Act take effect and be in force from and after its
3-22 passage, and it is so enacted.