by Mattie Tullos, Law Clerk

Effective September 1, 2023, the recently passed House Bill 3033 will alter the processes and procedures surrounding the Public Information Act, most notably regarding how to count the days following a public information request.

As the bill reads currently, a governmental body that receives an information request must respond to the request within ten business days. Business days, prior to the passing of House Bill 3033, encompassed only the days that the governmental body’s office(s) were open. Therefore, if a school district was not open on Fridays, the day would not count toward any statute imposed deadline.

However, upon the passage of House Bill 3033, the only days that are not included within “business days” are Saturday or Sunday, national holidays, or state holidays. Furthermore, the Board of Trustees may designate ten nonbusiness days each calendar year when the school and offices are closed.

This means that schools must be hyper-vigilant concerning when a public information request is received and know which days on their calendar will be deemed business days, regardless of whether they are physically in the office or school. Moreover, it will be important to consider when to utilize the ten designated nonbusiness days each year. Placing these days strategically throughout the year will be critical when it comes to public information response time limits.

If a school district makes a request for an attorney general decision, the district must then respond to the requestor within a practicable period of time, but no later than the 30th day after receiving the decision. Although it is always best to respond as soon as possible, at a minimum, before the 30-day deadline, the school district must respond in one of five ways:

(1) Provide the requestor with an itemized estimate of charges for production of the information;
(2) Take appropriate steps if the requested information is voluminous;
(3) Produce the information if so required;
(4) Notify the requestor that the governmental body is withholding information; or
(5) Notify the requestor that the governmental body has filed suit against the attorney general regarding the issue.

Please note, the attorney general may require public officials of a governmental body to complete a training program if it is found they were noncompliant with the Public Information Act. The training instruction must be completed within sixty days from the date of notice.

Also, through the enactment of House Bill 3033, any information related to general, primary, or special elections must be disclosed, which aims to enhance transparency and accountability surrounding election records.

In an effort to promote efficiency and consistency, requests for an attorney general decision must now be made through electronic submission, eliminating the option to mail in a paper request.

If you would like to read House Bill 3033 in its entirety, click here.

If you have any additional questions regarding House Bill 3033, please do not hesitate to contact the attorneys at Leasor Crass.

What our clients say

Great Service, Professional Staff

Leasor Crass has been an invaluable asset to Wylie Independent School District for 8 years. As a trusted advisor and reliable guide, the firm has consistently supported us through every challenge we’ve faced. Their common sense and pragmatic approach to the law have earned them greater trust with each passing year. We feel incredibly fortunate to have them represent our school district. With their ongoing support and guidance, we are confident in our ability to overcome any obstacle as we continue to strive for educational excellence.

– Dr. David Vinson, Superintendent, Wylie Independent School District

Read our Testimonials

Leasor Crass, P.C.
July 11, 2023

House Bill 3 Strengthens School Safety and Security

House Bill 3 brings major changes to school safety, specifically requiring districts to strengthen active shooter policies and safety plans. Effective September 1, 2023, it is imperative that districts begin to review the new requirements of HB 3 to ensure policies and procedures are compliant in time for the upcoming school year. Security Officers/Facility Safety […]

Read More
Visit Blog