Government

County Attorney Responds To Our Children’s Open Records Intervention Request

As readers may remember, we asked the County Attorney – to intervene on behalf of the El Paso taxpayers – to ask the Texas Attorney General to determine whether the El Paso Children’s Hospital is subject to the Texas Public Information Act. As we previously reported, the El Paso Children’s Hospital is arguing that as a non-profit it does not need to comply with Texas’ open records law.

In arguing that they are not subject to the open records laws, according to our understanding of previous Texas Attorney General opinions, the El Paso Children’s Hospital seems to have missed the important step of asking the Texas Attorney General for an opinion before unilaterally making the determination that they are not subject to the state’s transparency laws.

Because of that, we requested the County Attorney’s office to request an opinion from the Texas Attorney General.

On Friday, April 30, 2021, the El Paso County Attorney acknowledged the receipt of our request. They wrote to us:

“The County Attorney has received your request to seek an opinion from the AG regarding whether the El Paso Children’s Hospital is a ‘governmental body’ under the Texas Public Information Act.”

The County Attorney added that we will “receive a response once a determination has been made.”

In their response to us, the County Attorney also copied the County Judge and County Commissioners as well as UMC and the attorney for the El Paso Children’s Hospital.

Where’s The News Media?

El Paso Politics received questions from readers asking if we were the only ones working on trying to determine whether the children’s hospital was required to answer open records requests.

We have shared our packet with some local news media directly as well as making our research publicly available as a downloadable document on our original report.

We understand that the work we do, reporting on government, would not be possible without the open records laws and transparency in government. As such, we champion and challenge officials to adhere to the transparency laws.

We think that the news media would encourage open and transparency in government affairs to do their jobs. The apparent lack of interest by the El Paso news media on this issue puzzles us as we assume that they, as well, would want to know whether the El Paso Children’s Hospital is subject to the Texas Public Information Act, if for nothing else to report to the community at large what they know about the issue.

However, what puzzles us the most is the apparent lack of interest on this issue by the elected officials who promise transparency in government when they run for office.

El Paso Politics will continue to report as new developments arise from our quest to determine whether the El Paso Children’s Hospital is subject to the Texas Public Information Act.

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