Happy FOIA Fourth from the ABC13 Investigative Team

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Happy Fourth of July, a celebration of freedom and the things that make our country great. (KTRK)

Happy Fourth of July, a celebration of freedom and the things that make our country great.

Here in the Ted Oberg Investigates office, one of the freedoms we celebrate every year is freedom of information.

We rely on it. Without the laws that insist government documents belong to you, and not them, we wouldn't know half the stuff we learned this year.

For example:

The surprising fact that OSHA only has 24 inspectors to oversee every workplace in the entire Houston area. This was found thanks to the Freedom of Information Act signed into law 50 years ago this week.

See the original report here: OSHA in Houston: A worker's watchdog with no teeth

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In the wake of a seven-story scaffolding collapse near Minute Maid park, the Occupational Safety & Health Administration began to investigate.

The fact that every student investigated for lunch line forgery was a student of color was dug up in documents turned over because Texas law says they have to be.

See the original report here: Lunchroom Lunacy: ISD cops investigate $2 bill spent on school lunch

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Ted Oberg examines police reports that deal with lunch line forgery.

Also, a Hawaiian golf date between airport vendors and the director of the Houston Airport System airport was found in an email given to us because by law it belongs to you.

See the original report here: Houston airport chief teed up in Hawaii with company execs who won piece of $1.5B deal

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In the run up to the Houston Airport System issuing bids for an expansion project, the airport's director played golf with executives of a firm who won a key piece of the deal.

But we can't celebrate every day.

When crates of chemicals exploded in west Houston, we wanted to know what their owner's emergency plan was.

As it turns out, that planning had been delegated to a woman who was working another job that day and couldn't, or wouldn't, go look until the following week. When she looked, they didn't have documents state law suggest they should.

When Uber drivers are accused of breaking the law, it would be nice to know who Uber employs, but the company has repeatedly used provisions of the Texas law to keep that secret.

But the best sign this year that the fight to free information isn't over yet was this: The Transportation Security Administration sent us 1034 pages of your documents detailing bad behavior by Houston-based TSA agents.

They redacted more than 800 pages of it.

You may want to do some soul searching about the Fourth, TSA.

But the Ted Oberg Investigates team wants to wish a Happy Fourth to you, the taxpayer.

We'll keep fighting for you.
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