Your Right to Know: Public Information Act

The Brazos River Authority (BRA) website is a great resource to answer many questions you may have about the BRA organization and its services. Information ranging from camping to hiking trails to river levels can be found either on the site, through an email request for information or with a call to the BRA.

If you are having trouble finding answers to your questions or you’re looking for more detailed information, it may be available from the BRA through an Open Records request.

The Texas Public Information Act, formerly known as the Open Records Act, gives you the right to inspect or copy government records, including those of the BRA.

Obtaining Information

You may receive information from the BRA in a number of ways:

  1. You may visit the Authority’s Central Offices in Waco to inspect the records at no charge to you. Arranging your visit in advance will save you time by allowing the BRA staff to compile information and have it waiting for you when you arrive.
  2. You may fax your request to Riley Woods, staff counsel at 254-761-3207. A clear, specific request is recommended.
  3. You may email your request to Mr. Woods at rwoods@brazos.org, or
  4. You may mail your request to the Brazos River Authority, 4600 Cobbs Drive, Waco, Texas 76710.

Once your request is received, the BRA will respond to you within 10 business days. If the requested information cannot be provided within that time period, BRA will contact you to confirm and give you an estimated date on when it can be provided.

Exceptions to the Texas Public Information Act

Although most government information is available to the public, there are some circumstances in which information is confidential by law or includes information for which an exception has been sought. If this is the case or if the BRA questions the ability to disclose the information, the BRA may request an Attorney General’s opinion on the legality of releasing the requested information. The request to the Attorney General’s office must take place within 10 business days from the date the request was received.

Cost of Open Records Requests

Beginning on Sept. 1, 2007, House Bill 2564 took effect in the State of Texas. The bill gives government bodies the authority to charge a fee for the time and materials needed to complete the information request.

In this case, the BRA will provide a written estimate of the costs when charges exceed $40. The estimate will include personnel time, materials and overhead costs. Charges are established based on the guidelines prescribed by the attorney general under Sections 552.262(a) and (b).

More information on the Public Information Act, including the 2008 Public Information Handbook, can be found on the Office of the Attorney General website at http://www.oag.state.tx.us/.