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Bill would bar information on deadly agents

Houston Chronicle, May 6, 2009

AUSTIN, Texas The Texas Senate has approved legislation that would keep state laboratories' information on "select agents" such as the Ebola virus, anthrax and other deadly substances off limits to the public.

Sen. Joan Huffman, a Houston Republican pressing for the legislation, contends that release of the information would pose a threat to homeland security because the materials are potential bioterrorism agents.

Under the proposal approved Wednesday, the Texas Public Information Act would be amended to keep that information off limits, as the federal law does. The legislation now goes to the House.

The University of Texas Medical Branch-Galveston's National Lab researches such substances and has received an open records request.

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