August 21, 2019
Re: SB 944 Changes to Texas Public Information Act concerning personal devices
Dear TMPA Members,
We have received several inquiries concerning the effect of SB 944, which is now codified as part of Texas Government Code 552.
With respect to personal devices, this bill basically put into statute what had already been determined in a previously existing attorney general opinion: that official business conducted on a personal device is subject to an open records request. This statute does not prohibit an officer from conducting official business on a personal device, but makes such business, including text messages, subject to production under an open records request.
Our prior recommendation that officers should not use their personal devices to conduct official police business remains.