Federal and State Resources for Community Colleges

Community colleges are subject to federal and state statutes and regulations in addition to court cases and regulatory opinions. Though this list is not exhaustive, the following governmental entities provide college districts online access to relevant legal authority:

The U.S. Library of Congress, through the Thomas Website, provides information regarding legislation pending before or passed by the U.S. Congress, which is composed of the House of Representatives and Senate.

The U.S. Government Printing Office, through the Federal Digital System, provides access to the federal statutes reflected in the U.S. Code, the Code of Federal Regulations adopted by governmental agencies; select federal court opinions; and other legislative and executive resources.

The U.S. Department of Education (DOE) establishes policies related to federal education funding, distributes the funds, and monitors their use; collects data and oversees research on the nation's colleges; brings attention to major issues in education; and through the Office for Civil Rights (OCR), enforces federal laws prohibiting discrimination in programs that receive federal funds.

The U.S. Supreme Court, composed of nine justices nominated by the President and confirmed by Congress, and the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, the federal appeals court with jurisdiction over Texas, publish information regarding pending cases as well as the opinions issued by the Courts.

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) Website provides resources related to the accreditation process and institutional effectiveness.

The Texas Legislature, composed of the House of Representatives and the Senate, meets biennially to debate and pass legislation that goes into effect subject to veto by the Texas Governor.

The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) is a state administrative board composed of nine members appointed by the governor to serve as the rulemaking authority for higher education; the board appoints the commissioner of higher education to fulfill various administrative and statutory duties.

The Texas Attorney General defends state law; represents the state and all boards and agencies of state government in litigation; approves public bond issues; and issues opinions, upon request by authorized state officials, interpreting existing law that carry the weight and force of law unless or until modified or overruled by a court decision or legislative amendment.

In addition, a number of governmental entities publish online resources to assist college districts in applying legal requirements. Relevant resources listed below are grouped by subject matter based on the structure of the Community College Policy Reference Manual. Note, the resources are not intended to substitute for the advice of an attorney. Learn more about our Terms and Conditions of Use.

Governance

The Texas Attorney General Website includes a number of resources regarding the Texas Open Meetings Act (OMA), ethics laws, and conflict of interest laws.

The Texas Ethics Commission Website includes information regarding campaigning and campaign finance laws, conducting elections, political advertising, and conflicts of Interest, as well as related forms, reports, and opinions.

The Texas Secretary of State Elections Division Other Political Subdivisions Website provides a wealth of information, including election procedures, election calendars, voter accessibility requirements, and Elections Division advisories and memos.

Business

Facilities

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Website includes information on a variety of environmental health topics, such as chemical use; energy efficiency; facility construction, operations, and maintenance; air quality; waste; and water issues.

The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) Indoor Air Quality Program Website provides information to help schools prevent or address air quality issues.

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) Website provides information to enhance environmental quality, on topics such as such as recycling and permits.

The Texas State Energy Conservation offices (SECO) State and Local Governments Website provides information about energy education, energy efficiency/management, and renewable energy and alternative fuels.

The SECO Schools/Local Government Energy Program Website provides resources to aid college districts in setting up and maintaining energy efficiency programs, such as the preliminary energy assessment service.

The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) Elimination of Architectural Barriers Website provides information about compliance with the Architectural Barriers Act and the Texas Accessibility Standards as well as related forms and guidance.

The U.S. Access Board Website provides information about accessible facility and transportation design to address the needs of individuals with disabilities.

The U.S. DOJ Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Website provides information about facility accessibility requirements for individuals with disabilities, as well as related guidance and technical assistance.

The DSHS Public Swimming Pools and Spas Website provides information about the laws and regulations that apply to public pools, spas, drains, and water features.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission Pool Safely State & Local Officials Website provides information about federal pool safety standards.

Emergency Management and Safety Standards

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) ready.gov Website provides communities, businesses, and individuals information on emergency preparedness and response.

The FEMA Website provides information about disaster preparedness, declared disasters, and requests for assistance.

The Texas School Safety Center (TxSSC) provides several resources, including those addressing Internet safety, school safety standards, emergency management, safety audits, and preparedness drills.

The Texas Emergency Management Website provides information about the state's emergency management program, such as plans for emergency preparedness and response and training opportunities.

The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) Crime Records Service Website includes links to searchable criminal conviction and sex offender databases containing information made available to the public.

Technology and Intellectual Property

The U.S. DOJ Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Website provides information about legal issues involving technology, such as computer hacking, piracy, copyright infringement, Internet fraud, free speech issues, and privacy issues.

The Texas Department of Information Resources (DIR) Secure Texas Website provides information about cyber security issues, such as Internet fraud, spyware, and related issues.

The U.S. Copyright Office Website includes the federal copyright laws and regulations, a searchable database of registered copyrighted works, and related materials.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) Trademarks Website includes the federal trademark laws and regulations, a searchable database of registered trademarks, and related materials.

The U.S. PTO Patents Website includes the federal patent laws and regulations, a searchable database of patents, and related materials.

The Texas Secretary of State Trademarks & Service Marks Website includes the state trademark laws and regulations, a searchable database of registered trademarks, and related materials.

Insurance

The Texas Employee Retirement System (ERS) Website provides information and resources related to the Texas Employees Group Benefits Program, the health care program for qualified college district employees and family members.

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) Portability of Health Coverage Website provides information about the Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act (HIPAA), including information on privacy protections.

The U.S. DOL Continuation of Health Coverage - COBRA Website provides information about health plans and the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA).

The IRS Affordable Care Act Provisions for Employers Website include resources for employers navigating their responsibilities under the ACA.

The Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) Especially for Texas Employers Website provides information about insurance topics, such as unemployment insurance and COBRA.

The TWC Unemployment Claim and Appeals Information Website provides general information for employers about unemployment insurance, including information about taxes, claims, and appeals as well as related forms.

The Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) Division of Workers' Compensation Workers' Compensation Resources for Employers Website provides a number of resources for employers, including information about the claims process, workplace safety, and helping employees return to work.

Purchasing

The State of Texas CO-OP Purchasing Website provides a purchasing option for college districts seeking certain products like office supplies.

The Department of Information Resources (DIR) Cooperative Contracts Website provides college districts a purchasing option for certain technology products.

The Texas Ethics Commission’s Website includes a Certificate of Interested Parties electronic filing application.

Taxation and Bonds

The Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts Website provides a number of resources regarding local property taxes, including a Truth-in-Taxation Guide, which provides information about setting college district tax rates.

The Texas Bond Review Board Website provides information about debt issuance, finance, and debt management.

Records Management

The Texas State Library and Archives Commission Records Management Publications for Local Governments includes links to records retention schedules, forms, and other records management documents.

Personnel

The U.S. DOL Website includes several resources related to employment, such as information on the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), wage rates, work hours, workplace safety, and accommodations for individuals with disabilities.

The TWC Especially for Texas Employers Website provides general information for employers in Texas about FLSA, harassment, and other employment issues.

The Texas Teacher Retirement System (TRS) Website includes a number of resources for employers, active members, retirees, and the public related to employee retirement, such as information about benefits, contributions, and investments.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) provides information about federal laws prohibiting discrimination based on sex, national origin, race, color, religion, age, disability, and genetic information in employment; the agency's enforcement activities; and the EEOC complaint process.

The TWC Civil Rights and Discrimination Website provides information about state and federal laws prohibiting discrimination based on sex, national origin, race, color, religion, age, and disability in employment; complaint procedures; and related reports and publications.

The U.S. DOJ ADA Website provides information about facility accessibility requirements and employment accommodations for individuals with disabilities as well as related guidance and technical assistance.

The U.S. DOE Office for Civil Rights (OCR) Website provides information about disability discrimination in violation of Section 504 of the federal Rehabilitation Act and Title II of the ADA as well as Title IX retaliation claims.

The U.S. DOE Disability Employment 101 guide is a comprehensive resource for hiring employees with disabilities.

Students

The U.S. DOE OCR Website provides several resources related to federal civil rights laws, such as Title IX, Section 504 of the federal Rehabilitation Act, and Title II of the ADA, for college districts, students, and the public to address and prevent discrimination in educational institutions.

The U.S. DOE Family Policy Compliance Office (FPCO) Website provides a number of resources related to compliance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

Community

The Texas Attorney General Open Government Website provides information on the Public Information Act (PIA), the PIA request process, and how to obtain a ruling from the attorney general, as well as links to the searchable open records decision and open records letter ruling databases and related forms.

The U.S. DOJ ADA Website provides information about facility accessibility requirements and accommodations for individuals with disabilities as well as related guidance and technical assistance.