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May 9, 2000

Sergeant Wyman Hopkins
City of Rosenberg
2120 Fourth Street
Rosenberg, Texas 77471

OR2000-1787

Dear Sergeant Hopkins:

You ask whether certain information is subject to required public disclosure under chapter552 of the Government Code. Your request was assigned ID# 135838.

The Rosenberg Police Department (the "department") received a request for information related to a specified accident. You claim that a portion of the requested information is excepted from disclosure under sections 552.101 and 552.130 of the Government Code. We have considered the exceptions you claim and reviewed the submitted information.

The department asserts the responsive incident report contains phone company generated information made confidential pursuant to section 772.318 of the Health & Safety Code. Government Code section 552.101 excepts from disclosure "information considered to be confidential by law, either constitutional, statutory, or by judicial decision." This section encompasses information protected by statute. Section 772.318 of the Health & Safety Code affords confidentiality to certain information obtained from telephone company databases. In Open Records Decision 649 (1996), we concluded that only the originating telephone numbers and addresses gained by the 9-1-1 district's use of the phone company's database are confidential and the governmental body must withhold this information from the requestors. Section 772.318 does not except from disclosure all information obtained during a 9-1-1 call.(1) The department must withhold the originating 9-1-1 callers' telephone numbers and addresses pursuant to section 552.101.

The department also asserts that the report contains information protected by section 552.130. Section 552.130 excepts from disclosure information related to a motor vehicle operator's or driver's license or permit issued by an agency of this state. The department must withhold the information you have highlighted pursuant to section 552.130.

This letter ruling is limited to the particular records at issue in this request and limited to the facts as presented to us; therefore, this ruling must not be relied upon as a previous determination regarding any other records or any other circumstances.

This ruling triggers important deadlines regarding the rights and responsibilities of the governmental body and of the requestor. For example, governmental bodies are prohibited from asking the attorney general to reconsider this ruling. Gov't Code 552.301(f). If the governmental body wants to challenge this ruling, the governmental body must appeal by filing suit in Travis County within 30 calendar days. Id. 552.324(b). In order to get the full benefit of such an appeal, the governmental body must file suit within 10 calendar days. Id. 552.353(b)(3), (c). If the governmental body does not appeal this ruling and the governmental body does not comply with it, then both the requestor and the attorney general have the right to file suit against the governmental body to enforce this ruling. Id. 552.321(a).

If this ruling requires the governmental body to release all or part of the requested information, the governmental body is responsible for taking the next step. Based on the statute, the attorney general expects that, within 10 calendar days of this ruling, the governmental body will do one of the following three things: 1) release the public records; 2) notify the requestor of the exact day, time, and place that copies of the records will be provided or that the records can be inspected; or 3) notify the requestor of the governmental body's intent to challenge this letter ruling in court. If the governmental body fails to do one of these three things within 10 calendar days of this ruling, then the requestor should report that failure to the attorney general's Open Government Hotline, toll free, at 877/673-6839. The requestor may also file a complaint with the district or county attorney. Id. 552.3215(e).

If this ruling requires or permits the governmental body to withhold all or some of the requested information, the requestor can appeal that decision by suing the governmental body. Id. 552.321(a); Texas Department of Public Safety v. Gilbreath, 842 S.W.2d 408, 411 (Tex. App.--Austin 1992, no writ).

If the governmental body, the requestor, or any other person has questions or comments about this ruling, they may contact our office. Although there is no statutory deadline for contacting us, the attorney general prefers to receive any comments within 10 calendar days of the date of this ruling.

Sincerely,

Don Ballard
Assistant Attorney General
Deputy Chief, Open Records Division

JDB/CHS/ljp

Ref: ID# 135838

Encl. Submitted documents

cc: Mr. Zack Davis
2514 South Bar Road
Rosenberg, Texas 77471
(w/o enclosures)


 

Footnotes

1. Subchapters B and C contain similar confidentiality provisions. See Health & Safety Code 772.118, .218.
 

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