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Why Did Texas Gov. Greg Abbott Halt Interstate Cleanup in Austin?

In late-2019, I submitted an open records request to the Texas Department of Transportation (TXDoT) seeking an explanation for why they halted highway cleanups in the Austin area. I requested documents relating to the decision to discover why — of all the thousands of miles of interstates and highways that TXDoT crews clean regularly — Austin was excluded until the city council decriminalized homelessness. Only when public camping became the new avenue for Republicans to bash Democrats did Gov. Abbott “send in the state” to clean up Austin’s interstates and highways again. But why did he stop it in the first place? TXDoT, in concert with the Governor’s Office, sought an opinion from Republican Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton to block the release of documents explaining why they halted the highway clean-ups. A few months later, Paxton wrote back and ordered them to release some of the documents that he did not believe were exempt from public review under the Open Records Act. Since that determination, TXDoT has completely stopped responding to me — and never released the documents I requested that were ordered released by the Texas Attorney General. So, my question now is: what are they hiding?

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For Texas, the new year will bring stronger contract transparency

For Texas, the new year will bring stronger contract transparency

In January, amendments made under recent Texas legislation will go into effect, strengthening the Texas Public Information Act (PIA) and addressing court-created obstacles to accessing contractor information within the state.

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In Texas, Attorney General judgements on exceptions are the rule

In Texas, Attorney General judgements on exceptions are the rule

Appeals are a critical tool for records requesters who want government agencies to cough up their secrets, but what if an agency puts up its defense before you even know you’re in a disclosure fight?

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Homeland Security IG can’t compel safer immigration detention facilities fast enough

Homeland Security IG can’t compel safer immigration detention facilities fast enough

MuckRock wants to learn more about the operations of these immigration detention facilities, private and public. If you’re a group local to a facility and want to help our effort, let us know.

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This week’s FOIA round-up: DEA database points to companies’ roles in opioid epidemic and Interior emails reveal violations of federal ethics rules

This week’s FOIA round-up: DEA database points to companies’ roles in opioid epidemic and Interior emails reveal violations of federal ethics rules

In this week’s FOIA round-up, the Washington Post and HD Media gain access to a database that tracks opioid distribution, emails obtained through a FOIA request reveal the extent of a top Department of the Interior official’s violations of federal ethics rules, and city and court records reveal that in one Alaska town every single police officer has been convicted of domestic violence.

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This week’s FOIA round-up: Judge rules that Trump’s transition team emails are not subject to release under FOIA, and ICE’s internal documents show tactics, arrest quotas

This week’s FOIA round-up: Judge rules that Trump’s transition team emails are not subject to release under FOIA, and ICE’s internal documents show tactics, arrest quotas

In this week’s FOIA round-up, a federal judge ruled that Trump transition team emails are not subject to release, documents reveal years of Immigration and Customs Enforcement raid tactics, and a recently released report showed federal agents feared riots by migrants who were being held in overcrowded and unsanitary cells. Meanwhile, in Montana, the state supreme court ruled that a university player’s privacy rights as a student outweigh the public’s right to know.

And belated happy birthday to FOIA, signed 53 years ago this week by President Lyndon Johnson in 1966.

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