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Legislation filed in response to fight between city of Byran and its electric company could end city-owned utilities open records exemption

Municipally owned utility companies could lose their exemption to parts of the Texas Open Meetings Act under a bill filed by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Steve OgdenThe bill was filed in response to a dispute between the City of Bryan and its publicly operated electric company.

Last year City of Byran officials asked Bryan Texas Utilities to provide them with the compensation packages for 13 top executives as part of their budget preparations. The utility refused, citing a provision in the 1999 electric market restructuring law that allows them to withhold some information if it would put publicly owned companies at a competitive disadvantage.

Senate Bill 366 would strip that exemption from the government code.  Ogden filed the bill  just days after the utility relented and agreed to release part of the information that city officials were requesting. The Bryan-College Station Eagle also filed numerous open records requests for the information.

We’ll be watching this bill with some interest.