The 86th Texas Legislative session ended on May 27th, and just last week, Governor Greg Abbot finished signing bills into law. According to the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas, 193 of those bills discussed were related to public records - three of which deserve particular attention.
Over 150,000 acres were ravaged in Northern California last November, taking with it 86 lives and tens of billions of dollars in property damage. Butte County’s Camp Fire marks the list as one of California’s top 20 largest wildfires in history, leaving massive structural and environmental damages for years to come. With ongoing investigations to determine a culprit, all roads seem to lead to California’s biggest investor-owned utility company, Pacific Gas & Electric - sparking renewed discussion over the necessity of public oversight.
For years, quasi-government agencies have operated under grey areas in oversight and accountability. After a number of reports of embezzlement, financial malpractice, and misuse of funds, state governments have started to keep a closer watch on them.
Taxpayer funds are a key part in sustaining public services and our overall government. Our democracy is responsible for government oversight and ensuring the process of checks and balances works. But with some entities operating in both the public and private sectors, many quasi-government entities opt for the secrecy afforded to private companies.