10/15/2010 4:15 PM
Rep. Larry Taylor (R-Friendswood) asked a Travis County District Court Oct. 10 to issue a writ of mandamus ordering the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (TWIA) to release documents he requested under the Texas Public Information Act. Taylor is seeking information about how much a recent lawsuit settlement cost and what the attorneys fees were for each attorney. A Galveston District Judge ordered TWIA not to release the document. Taylor's motion argued that the Galveston Judge's order violates the act. Click here to read Taylor's motion. Plaintiff's attorneys have argued the information is proprietary.
Taylor is co-chairman of a legislative committee that oversees TWIA -- a state-created insurance company financed in part by mandatory assessments to Texas private insurance companies. The Attorney General has deemed TWIA subject to the Public Information Act. Taylor's committee has to send a report to the Legislature on TWIA by Nov. 15. The court has not yet set a hearing date. Meanwhile, the Galveston County newspaper has discovered this issue. Click here to read the paper's editorial on the matter. This is a significant open records issue because the financial condition of TWIA has been a major political issue since 2003, and if the company runs out of money, it has the power to issue assessments that affect state general revenue becuase the insurance companies paying the assessments get tax credits.