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Legislative: Texas Elections
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Texas Elections: A List of Do's and Don'ts

  • Public resources, no matter how small, cannot be used to advocate for or against an issue or candidate. Remember, a public servant commits a criminal offense if, with the intent to obtain a benefit or harm another, the public servant misapplies anything of value belonging to the government that is in their custody or possession by virtue of public office or employment. See Texas Penal Code § 39.02(a) (2). Simply stated, this means that all government property should be used for governmental purposes; not for personal or private purposes – including political campaigns.
  • Do not use a school district’s email to advocate for or against an issue or candidate. School email may be used to inform staff and patrons of elections, dates, and times for early voting and to encourage a culture of participation. You may certainly use your personal email account to advocate.
  • Do not use a school district’s social networks to advocate for or against an issue or candidate. School social networks may be used to inform staff and patrons of elections, dates and times for early voting and to encourage a culture of civic participation. You may certainly use your personal social network accounts to advocate.
  • Do not use a school district’s computers, photocopiers, telephones, facsimile, electronic printer or any other machine to advocate for or against an issue or candidate. You may use your personal equipment for this use.
  • Do not use state or local government time or state or local government equipment to work on an individual’s political campaign. See Ethics Advisory Opinion No. 172 (1993). You may advocate for or against an issue or candidate before or after work hours.
  • Do not use public funds in connection with a political campaign. The Texas Government Code prohibits a state agency or local government from using appropriated funds in connection with a political campaign. See Texas Government Code § 556.004. Officers and employees should not use their official authority to interfere with or attempt to influence the outcome of any election. See Texas Government Code § 556.004.
  • Do not be demanding or discourteous. By local board policy, many school districts mandate that an employee’s participation in community, political, or employee organization activities shall be entirely voluntary and shall not: (1) interfere with the employee’s performance of assigned duties and responsibilities; (2) result in any political or social pressure being placed on students, parents, or staff; or (3) involve treading on the employee’s position or title with the district.

Source: Texas Rural Education Association (TREA)

Contact TEPSA

501 East 10th Street
Austin, TX 78701
512-478-5268
800-252-3621
Fax: 512-478-1502

 
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