Texas' highest criminal court has struck down a key provision of the state's open meeting laws as "unconstitutionally vague."
The decision Wednesday by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals was swiftly criticized by open government advocates as a move that could weaken transparency in the state.
The ruling strikes at part of the law aimed at preventing officials from discussing government business outside view of the public. In a 7-2 decision, the all-Republican court struck down criminal penalties that officials could face for knowingly trying to circumvent a quorum for the purpose of taking part in "secret deliberations."
James Hemphill is president of the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas. He says the ruling removes an effective enforcement tool of the Texas Opens Meetings Act.