Gov. Abbott Urges Texas Agencies to Follow ‘spirit' of Open Meetings After Court Axes Key Provision

AUSTIN — Gov. Greg Abbott is urging state agencies to continue to follow the "spirit" of the Texas Open Meetings Act despite a recent ruling that struck down a key provision in the law."Texas has long been, and will continue to be, a leader in governmental transparency," Abbott wrote to agency heads and appointees Thursday. "Regardless of yesterday's ruling, my standard and expectation is for all agencies and boards to continue to follow the spirit of the law. You should not waver in your commitment to providing transparency in the work you perform for Texans at your respective governmental entities."On Wednesday, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals struck down a part of the state's open meetings law that makes it a crime for officials to circumvent a quorum to hold "secret deliberations." The ruling essentially renders the enforcement provision of the law unenforceable. The court, in its ruling, said the measure was "unconstitutionally vague."But Abbott, a former associate justice on the Texas Supreme Court, said he still expects his employees to honor the law and its intent."Although the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals has today declared Section 551.143 of the Texas Open Meetings Act unconstitutional, all other provisions of that statute remain valid and binding," he wrote.   Continue reading...

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