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Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Legislature overturns ruling, keeps travel details secret

The Texas Legislature voted to overturn the ruling by the Third Court of Appeals that travel records for the governor's security detail should be released to newspapers, the Houston Chronicle reported. Sen. Jeff Wentworth said releasing the records could compromise security. Someone who wanted to harm a public official could find out how many bodyguards travel with Gov. Perry, where they stay and whether or not they travel in advance of the governor, he told the Chronicle. A costs summary for the security detail can, however, be disclosed.
The state House and Senate voted Sunday night to restrict access to travel vouchers for the security details that travel with the governor and other top elected officials, days after an appeals court ruled that the records should be turned over to Texas newspapers.

Sen. Jeff Wentworth, R-San Antonio, said the provision would overturn an appeals court ruling last week that said the records should be disclosed to newspapers, including the Houston Chronicle and San Antonio Express-News, which sued to obtain the records.

The Senate had passed a bill to exempt the records from public disclosure, but Wentworth said the bill got “stuck in the House.” So lawmakers in both chambers voted, without opposition, to add the language to another public records bill.

More here.

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