Brazos County Clerk's Office Gets Assistance

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The Brazos County Clerk's Office is getting much needed help.

Tuesday morning, Brazos County Commissioners approved hiring two full-time positions to temporarily help with the demands of the Attorney General's recent opinion to remove Social Security numbers from public documents.

However, that opinion could be short lived. A measure approved by Texas House members Monday would let county and district clerks release Social Security numbers under the Texas Public Information Act. They passed the proposal despite an opinion to the contrary last month from the Texas Attorney General.

The measure says county or district clerks can disclose those numbers contained in information held by their offices without being subjected to civil or criminal liability. The measure also would require the public official to redact all but the last four digits of a person's Social Security number if that person requests it.

Existing law declares a Social Security number is confidential. It was designed to prevent identity theft.

Social Security numbers are routinely included on marriage license applications, tax liens, child support liens and court abstracts, all of which are public information.

The measure also would direct preparers of real estate documents to stop putting Social Security numbers in such documents.

The bill is House Bill 2061.