Is the lab subject to the open records law in its state? Yes
Is the lab subject to federal FOIA? No
Name: Texas Anti-Cruelty Laws
Citation: VTCA Penal Code § 4209,§ 42091,§ 42092,§ 4210,§ 42105
Open Records Law
Name: Texas Public Information Act
Citation: T.G.C. Chapter 552 Subchapter A
Anyone can file a request. Initial response time is ten business days. Texas has a unique system for public-records requests. If a university wants to withhold some or all documents that you’ve requested, it usually asks the Texas Attorney General for a ruling beforehand. The Texas AG almost always rubberstamps universities’ requests to deny documents. If this occurs, then you have no right to appeal. But if a university withholds documents without first asking for a ruling, you have the right to appeal to the AG. For requests under fifty pages, you can be charged only for the actual cost of duplication. Over fifty, you can be charged for labor and overhead. The law says that a university “shall” waive fees if the request is in the public interest. You can appeal fee determinations to the Texas Attorney General. When it comes to animal documents, Texas has a couple of devious ways to hide them. First, all records involving a university’s Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) are considered medical committee documents and, thus, are completely exempt from release under state law. Also, veterinary records are off the table unless the veterinarian’s employer (i.e. the university itself) consents to their release, but – guess what? – most universities don’t. The situation isn’t completely hopeless, though. While some universities go running to the Texas AG to withhold every record we ask for, others release varying amounts of documents even though they technically could withhold them.