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April 23, 1999

Mr. James J. Savage
Assistant County Attorney
Harris County
1019 Congress, 15th Floor
Houston, Texas 77002-1700

OR99-1099

Dear Mr. Savage:

You ask whether certain information is subject to required public disclosure under the Public Information Act, chapter 552 of the Government Code. Your request was assigned ID# 125503.

Section 552.301(a) of the Government Code provides in part that:

A governmental body that receives a written request for information that it wishes to withhold from public disclosure and that it considers to be within one of the [act's] exceptions . . . must ask for a decision from the attorney general about whether the information is within that exception if there has not been a previous determination about whether the information falls within one of the exceptions. The governmental body must ask for the attorney general's decision and state the exceptions that apply within a reasonable time but not later than the 10th business day after the date of receiving the request.

In this case, this office did not receive the request for a decision within the 10 business day period mandated by section 552.301(a). Because the request for a decision was not timely received, the requested information is presumed to be public information. Gov't Code 552.302; see Hancock v. State Bd. of Ins., 797 S.W.2d 379 (Tex. App.--Austin 1990, no writ).

In order to overcome the presumption that the requested information is public information, a governmental body must provide compelling reasons why the information should not be disclosed. Hancock, 797 S.W.2d at 381; see Open Records Decision No. 630 (1994). You have not raised any specific compelling reasons to overcome the presumption that the information is public. Thus, except for the information discussed below, we conclude that the information must be released to the requestor.

The submitted information contains information protected from disclosure by sections 552.101 and 552.130 of the Government Code. The social security numbers in the reports may be confidential if they were obtained or are maintained by the department pursuant to any provision of law, enacted on or after October 1, 1990. 42 U.S.C. section 405(c)(2)(C)(vii); see Open Records Decision No. 622 (1994). Section 552.130 excepts information that relates to a motor vehicle operator's or driver's license or permit issued by an agency of this state or a motor vehicle title or registration issued by an agency of this state. You must withhold the driver's license numbers under section 552.130.

We are resolving this matter with this informal letter ruling rather than with a published open records decision. This ruling is limited to the particular records at issue under the facts presented to us in this request and may not be relied upon as a previous determination regarding any other records. If you have questions about this ruling, please contact our office.

Sincerely,

Yen-Ha Le
Assistant Attorney General
Open Records Division

YHL/eaf

Ref.: ID# 125503

encl. Submitted documents

cc: Mr. Clay D. Dewees
The Hindley Group
46 Biscay Place
The Woodland, Texas 77381

(w/o enclosures)


 

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