Skip to Content

City Rep. Emma Acosta concerned about open records requests

An item on next week’s City Council meeting has some people scratching their heads.

City Rep. Emma Acosta wants to discuss stopping anyone with a felony or convicted of a crime of moral turpitude from being able to access public records.

Freedom of information advocates say a council doesn’t have the power to make those decisions.

Acosta showed ABC-7 several documents retrieved through the Freedom of Information Act.

The documents have people’s names, numbers and addresses.

Acosta says she’s trying to protect her constituents and that is why the council needs to have the discussion.

“We get a lot of information from our constituents were they give us information as to where they work,” Acosta said. “They give us information about their neighbors,
they give us information like their emails, their cell numbers, their work numbers and a lot of that information is being released.”

Acosta is concerned sensitive information could get into the wrong hands through an open records request.

“I don’t think we should be releasing that kind of information to someone who is convicted with charges of moral turpitude,” Acosta said.

A crime of moral turpitude is defined as:

“A conduct that is considered contrary to community standards of justice, honesty or good morals.”

The term is often called a catch-all phrase because many things can fall under the umbrella of a crime of moral turpitude including stealing, a sexual offense, or even computer hacking.

“You don’t know who’s submitting that request if your releasing addresses,” Acosta said. “You don’t know if that person is a sexual offender, you don’t know if that person has been charged with domestic violence and their looking for that person.”

“Texas information act is a very important law and it says that everyone must be treated equally,” said Kelley Shannon, executive director of the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas.

She says the item will more than likely not move beyond a conversation at the table.

“It’s a discussion that we shouldn’t even really be having because a local government cannot set up their own public information act, they have to follow the state law,” Shannon said.

Many phone numbers and addresses can be found publicly through many other sources like a yellow pages or online but this item walks a fine line between transparency and according to Acosta a person’s safety.

Acosta also added the council can discuss other options like notifying the person whose records are being requested.

The item will be discussed by the City Council Tuesday.

Article Topic Follows: News

Jump to comments ↓

Author Profile Photo



KVIA ABC 7 is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content