Another example of a Texas public entity avoiding the Public Information Act by claiming ‘skeleton crew’

This tweet by reporter Dave Hendricks about IDEA Public Schools is yet another example of abuse of the Texas Public Information Act and the Texas attorney general’s “skeleton crew” guidance. The school system should have responded to records requests even though they were working remotely during COVID-19 over the past year. Most records are available electronically these days.

Additionally, the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas has urged the AG’s office to update its guidance on TPIA business days in relation to government office physical closures and “skeleton crews.” The guidance needs to be adjusted for the modern work world and remote staffing. Many governmental entities are misusing the current AG guidelines and making up their own rules for responding to information requests.

The FOI Foundation along with other members of the Transparent and Accountable Government Coalition sought to straighten out this problem during the spring legislative session through House Bill 1416 by Rep. Giovanni Capriglione. The Texas House of Representatives passed the measure. The Texas Senate did not act on it.