Travis County has officially launched a lawsuit against Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton in a dispute over how much information the county should share about a program that seeks to give ex-convicts access to jobs.
County Attorney David Escamilla filed a six-page brief with the 98th District Court on Wednesday challenging a recent ruling made by Paxton on an activist’s request for public records related to the County Justice Planning Department’s Workforce Development Services program.
The program is a service that links private employers to job seekers with criminal backgrounds. On its website, the department states, “Out of respect for employers’ privacy, the WDS program coordinator does not publicize which businesses are engaged with the program.”
However, in December activist Zenobia Joseph submitted a public information request to the county to obtain the names of the companies that participate. After the county blocked that request, Joseph appealed to Paxton’s office, which opined last month that the Public Information Act does not protect the identities of the employers.