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Texas Supreme Court: Perry Can Travel in Secret

Photo by Bob Daemmrich for the Texas Tribune.
Texas Governor Rick Perry carries his bags off a private plane at the San Antonio International Airport on November 1, 2010.

The Texas Supreme Court ruled Friday that Texas Governor Rick Perry's travel plans and itineraries can be kept secret, overturning the rulings of two lower courts. The original case centered on whether DPS travel vouchers, normally subject to open records requests, should be made public in the case of the Governor's trips, reports the Houston Chronicle.

In an opinion written by Chief Justice Wallace B. Jefferson, the court ruled that the threat of physical harm trumped the state's open records law. The Department of Public Safety, which provides security for Perry, had argued that public scrutiny of the travel expenses for the security team would jeopardize the governor's safety. "The common-law right to be free from physical harm is an interest in personal integrity, distinct from that covered by the privacy interest, which the Court recognized as an exception to disclosures under the public information act," Jefferson wrote in his opinion.

The ruling comes as the Governor considers a run for the U.S. presidency, a move that would see him making a lot more out-of-state trips in the coming months.

On Sunday, Perry spoke at a summit near Vail, Colorado that was hosted by the the Koch brothers, billionaire political donors who hope to see a conservative take the White House in 2012. In the case of that visit, the Austin American Statesman tried to track Perry's travels through online flight records. The paper achieved some success, possibly identifying the plane that brought Perry to and from the event.

Mose Buchele focuses on energy and environmental reporting at KUT. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on Twitter @mosebuchele.