Texas Watchdog wants to help you get information from government. Here's how

Maybe you saw our story today about state Sen. Rodney Ellis' work as a subcontractor for the Houston school system. Maybe you saw our recent story about Sen. Royce West pushing for public contracts to be subject to less review. Or maybe you saw our story about former state Rep. Fred Hill becoming a lobbyist for city and county governments.

Did you know that you could find out information like that, too?

You can -- by using public records laws.

This week is national Sunshine Week -- and today, Monday, March 16, is National Freedom of Information Day, celebrated on the birthday of Bill of Rights author James Madison. So we wanted to remind everyone that we have a standing offer of help and training to Texas bloggers, citizen-journalists, and activists of all causes and political persuasions who are trying to find out what their government agencies are up to.

We enjoyed getting to know several Houston-area bloggers at a meet-up we put on here earlier this year. We’re planning another one in April, details TBD. If you'd like to come or have questions or ideas, let us know in the comments below or e-mail leeann@texaswatchdog.org.

We’re also available by phone or e-mail — at 713-980-9777 and leeann@texaswatchdog.org — to help folks needing information from local or state government. Have you filed a public records request and been stonewalled? Do you have a question for a public official but need help getting the answer? Or is there a government program or agency you would like to spotlight or investigate on your blog?

We’d like to assist you any way we can:

~ In getting public information.

~ In figuring out how to share it via your blog.

~ In working with you to make local and state government more open and accountable to the public.