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eXpendit

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Restricted Expenditures — Publications and Advertising
Publicity of Individuals or State Agencies

Promoting and advertising restrictions

A state agency may not use appropriated money to publicize or direct attention to an individual officer or employee of state government. The inclusion of names in an agency publication merely to facilitate the reader’s understanding of a story is permissible.

A state agency may not use appropriated money to:

  • Maintain a publicity department or office.
  • Employ an individual who has the title or duties of a public relations or press agent.
  • Pay a public relations agent or business.

A state agency may not engage in advertising or public relations campaigns regarding the agency, unless the agency has specific statutory authority to do so. An advertising or public relations campaign would include any activity designed to provide the agency with statewide or nationwide recognition or exposure.

Promoting and advertising authorizations

A state agency has implied statutory authority to inform the public about its regulatory functions. The agency may enter into contracts for goods and services as necessary to exercise this authority. The agency may not fund a nonprofit corporation to inform the public about the agency’s regulatory functions, unless it has specific statutory authority to do so.

An executive head of a state agency may issue, through agency channels, oral or written information relating to the activities or legal responsibilities of the agency. The executive head must consider the public interest. The information must be issued in the name of the state agency and include the name of the individual authorized to issue the information.

An institution of higher education may operate a news and information service for the benefit of the public if the operation has been authorized and approved by the institution’s governing body.

See also: Publications.

Definitions:

State agency
  • A department, commission, board, office or other entity in the executive branch of state government.
  • The Supreme Court, the Court of Criminal Appeals, another entity in the judicial branch of state government with statewide authority or a court of appeals.
  • A university system or an institution of higher education as defined by Texas Education Code Section 61.003. (Texas Government Code Section 2113.001(1))

Sources [+]

Texas Government Code Section 2113.011; Opinion of the Texas Attorney General NOS. JC-350 (2001), MW-323 (1981). Opinion of the Texas Attorney General NO. H-1272 (1978). Opinion of the Texas Attorney General No. M-1138 (1972) (upholding a state agency’s purchase of bumper stickers as part of the agency’s environmental education program).

Documentation Requirements [+]

  1. A state agency that uses funds appropriated by the GAA to pay for a publication or advertisement must retain an original of the item in its files.
  2. Comptroller object 7218 must be used for the printing of a publication.
  3. Comptroller object 7273 must be used for other printing services.
  4. Comptroller object 7281 must be used for advertising.