KBS Reference Desk: Remote Participation in Meetings

Q:      One of our board members will be out of town on business during our next regularly scheduled board meeting. There are several important votes to be taken on some upcoming projects. If we are able to set up a conference call, can the board member participate by telephone? Can he vote?

A:      No. The Attorney General has found that if a quorum of the board is present at a meeting location, absent members cannot participate by telephone; however, Texas Law does authorize videoconference participation under certain circumstances.

The Texas Attorney General has stated that members of the governing body of a governmental entity may not participate in meetings remotely unless specifically authorized to do so by statute. Op. Tex. Att’y Gen.  JC-352 (2001). The law does not provide for teleconference participation by an absent board member; however, the Texas Government Code does allow for videoconference participation in certain situations. Thus, the Attorney General has concluded that telephone participation (i.e., deliberation, comments or voting) is not authorized by statute and thus prohibited.

If your district has the technological capabilities, videoconference participation is an option under Texas Government Code §551.127. If a quorum of the board is present at your regular meeting location, the law allows an absent member to participate by videoconference if:

  • the video/audio feed of the trustee’s participation is broadcast live at the meeting;
  • the member participating by videoconference is counted as present;
  • both locations (where the quorum is present and where the absent member is located) have two-way communication during the entire meeting;
  • the face of each participant in the videoconference call is clearly visible and his/her voice clearly audible (this applies to both the absent trustee and all physically present board members);
  • members of the public in attendance at open session are able to clearly see and hear the absent member participating by videoconference; and
  •  the videoconference call complies with the Department of Information Resources’ specific technological requirements regarding the quality of audio/video signals during video calls.

Because of the stringent requirements related to videoconference participation, it is recommended that you consult with your school district’s attorney and/or technology director before allowing a board member to remotely participate in a meeting via videoconference.
 

Related Posts

Recent Articles

KBS Reference Desk: Felony Conviction and School Board Candidates
April 9, 2021
KBS Reference Desk: T-TESS Rubric Virtual
April 2, 2021
KBS Reference Desk: COVID-19 Vaccination Status Questions and EEO Laws
March 26, 2021
KBS Reference Desk: Certification Addendum
March 19, 2021
KBS Reference Desk: Lifting of Mask Mandate and Implications for UIL Activities
March 12, 2021
KBS Reference Desk: Identification of TPIA Requestor
March 5, 2021
KBS Reference Desk: Pay During Closure
February 26, 2021
KBS Reference Desk: Vaccines and Quarantine
February 19, 2021
KBS Reference Desk: Face Masks and the First Amendment
February 12, 2021
KBS Reference Desk: Virtual Learning and Child Find
February 5, 2021
KBS Reference Desk: American Rescue Plan
January 29, 2021
KBS Reference Desk: Spring Testing
January 22, 2021
KBS Reference Desk: TOMA Suspension Extension – Additional 30 days
January 15, 2021
KBS Reference Desk: Updated FFCRA Guidance
January 8, 2021
KBS Reference Desk: New Stay-at-Home Protocols
December 18, 2020
KBS Reference Desk: Vaccine as a Requirement for School Attendance
December 11, 2020
KBS Reference Desk: Campus Closure due to COVID-19 and Funding
December 4, 2020
KBS Reference Desk: Nonexempt Volunteer Work
November 20, 2020
KBS Reference Desk: Required Transition from Virtual to ON-campus Learning
November 13, 2020
KBS Reference Desk: TPIA – 10-day Extension
November 6, 2020
KBS Reference Desk: Discontinue Virtual Learning
October 30, 2020
KBS Reference Desk: Political Dress
October 23, 2020
KBS Reference Desk: Emergency Safety Drills
October 16, 2020
KBS Reference Desk: Requests for Homebound Instruction During COVID
October 9, 2020
KBS Reference Desk: Mask Exception
October 2, 2020