FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 06/17/2013
THE GOVERNOR SIGNS INTO LAW HOUSE BILL 628 BY REPRESENTATIVE TONY DALE
THE GOVERNOR SIGNS INTO LAW HOUSE BILL 628 BY REPRESENTATIVE TONY DALE TO INCREASE SCHOOL BOARD TRANSPARENCY
AUSTIN -- Friday the Governor signed into law House Bill 628 to allow a member of the board of trustees of a school district to obtain information maintained by the district without requiring the member to submit a public information request. Representative Tony Dale (Cedar Park) was the primary author of this bill, but ten additional Texas House members signed on to the bill. The purpose of this legislation is to ensure those who are elected to lead and supervise our local education systems and set local property taxes are properly informed to make sound decisions.
“If we expect to hold our elected school board trustees to a high standard of accountability with regard to the votes they make, then we must allow them the tools to fully educate themselves on issues affecting their district,” said Representative Dale.
In 1983, in opinion number JM-119, Attorney General Mattox reiterates this opinion in regards to a similar issue. The opinion states that when a trustee, acting in his/her official capacity, requests information maintained by the district, the trustee is not considered a member of the "public." For this reason, the trustee is not subject to the Open Records Act. Lastly, General Mattox states, "[…] a member of that board has an inherent right of access to such records, at least when he requests them in his official capacity."
Dale was elected to the House in November 2012. He is a small business owner and veteran of the U.S. Army who previously served on the Cedar Park City Council. He represents western Williamson County, including the communities of Cedar Park, Leander and Brushy Creek, as well as parts of north Austin.