The Legal Brief: Did You Receive a PIA Request from Mayes Middleton?

What is it?

A public information request under Texas Government Code section 552.008 asking that districts “produce the line items in the adopted 2021 budget showing any planned expenses for directly or indirectly attempting to influence legislation”, as required by Texas Local Government Code Section 140.0045.

Should our district respond?

Yes. Rep. Middleton’s request was made under the Public Information Act, so your district should respond within 10 business days of receiving the letter.

TASB’s Position:

TASB provides districts with the portion of the district’s dues that are directed to advocacy efforts. According to TASB, decisions about whether districts should include this amount on a budget line item should be made locally in consultation with legal counsel.  Regarding the TASB Risk Management Fund (Fund), the Fund is a separate legal entity from TASB. Individual district contributions for Fund coverage do not include an amount for lobbying. See TASB letter to Superintendents:

How do I respond?

Though it is not entirely clear, Rep. Middleton’s reference to a district’s “adopted 2021 budget” likely refers to the district’s adopted budget for the current fiscal year. If your district would prefer to seek clarification from Rep. Middleton on this point, you should follow the usual procedures for seeking clarification under the PIA.

Assuming your district responds using its current fiscal year budget, your district’s budget may or may not include a line item for Section 140.0045 expenses related to influencing legislation.

If it does not, the response is “there are no responsive documents to your request.”

If it does, provide a copy of your budget.


Article written by Michelle Alcala.