Editor’s note: State Bar of Texas President Tom Vick sent the following message to members on Thursday.
Starting Sunday, open government advocates will recognize Sunshine Week, a yearly celebration of access to public information. In that spirit, I’m pleased to announce that the State Bar of Texas is moving forward with plans to begin videotaping its quarterly Board of Directors meetings and sharing the videos on our website and social media.
The videos will be posted at texasbar.com/board soon after each board meeting. We’ll be piloting the new recording process starting with the next board meeting on April 27 in Fort Worth. We believe this will promote transparency by making it easier for you to learn about the work of your elected representatives and the issues affecting you.
State Bar board meetings are already open to the public, and anyone is welcome to come and address the board. But Texas is a big state, so getting to the meetings can be impractical. We do our best to come to you by holding board meetings in different cities, but with video we will now be even more accessible.
I want to thank President-elect Joe K. Longley for making this issue a priority and Executive Director Trey Apffel and the State Bar staff for making it happen. The State Bar has also received requests to live-stream board meetings, and we are studying that possibility.
The State Bar will post the April 27 meeting agenda at texasbar.com/board at least seven days before the meeting. In the meantime, you can visit the site to read past meeting minutes.
Our Finances, Online
The State Bar also recently launched the Our Finances page with several years’ worth of budget documents, financial statements, and independent auditors’ reports.
Today, the board’s Executive Committee received the State Bar’s 2017 fiscal year internal audit reports, and the findings are positive. The CPA firm of McConnell & Jones LLP conducted the audit, which focused on the State Bar’s compliance with:
- the Public Funds Investment Act; and
- State Bar Act, State Bar Rules, and State Bar Board Policy Manual provisions related to the following departments:
o Advertising Review;
o Budget and Finance;
o Purchasing and Facilities; and
o Information Technology.
The audit found all areas to be in compliance. It also found the State Bar has adopted best practices in a variety of areas to better serve its members and the public. You can read the reports at the Our Finances page.
Bar Card Replacement Fee Cut
Finally, the cost of a replacement bar card is dropping from $25 to $15, effective immediately. The State Bar has been working toward this change for some time in response to members’ requests, so I’m pleased to see it become a reality. Go here for instructions on how to request a replacement bar card.
Be on the lookout for an email from your district directors in coming days with more updates from your State Bar.
President, State Bar of Texas