FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 02/18/2013
Stephenson files HB 1331; a step towards smaller and wiser government
Recently Representative Phil Stephenson (HD 85, south Ft. Bend, Wharton, Jackson Counties), filed HB 1331, a bill which relates to confidentiality of complaints to, and investigations by, the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation. This bill is both a reinforcement of fundamental rights as well a solid step toward smaller government.
Presently, an open records request for documentation regarding a Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) complaint investigation often delays the investigation and the resolution of the complaint. Those open records requests mean TDLR must work with the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) to protect certain records from being released to prevent disclosure that would jeopardize the investigation. The process is also meant to protect persons accused of wrongdoing from having any complaint against them released before completion of an investigation and resolution. This bill would allow TDLR complaint and investigation records to be confidential and not subject to disclosure under the Texas Public Information Act, until after final resolution of the complaint.
HB 1331 mirrors legislation enacted in 1999 by the 76th Texas Legislature to amend Chapter 301, Texas Occupations Code, to make complaints and investigations confidential by the Texas Board of Nursing.
Any complaint filed with TDLR is investigated fully, and may result in no action by the agency. Releasing investigation and complaint documents is possibly threatening to innocent people as a normal investigation could make them appear to be guilty even though their case has not yet been resolved.
In America you are presumed innocent until proven guilty. Not only will HB 1331 reinforce this precious pillar of our Republic, it will save state time and money in the process.