Open meetings

Texas attorney general says no constitutional rights for cities

Miranda Fleschert | Freedom of Information | Quicklink | February 3, 2010
February 3, 2010

Four Texas cities that filed a federal lawsuit claiming that the state's open meetings law infringes on their right to free speech must withdraw as plaintiffs because government agencies cannot have their First Amendment rights violated, the state attorney general argued yesterday, according to the Associated Press.

Wyoming high court sides with newspaper in open meetings suit

Amanda Becker | Freedom of Information | Quicklink | January 12, 2010
January 12, 2010

The Wyoming Supreme Court sided with the Wyoming Tribune Eagle last week in a lawsuit over whether a building code appeals board improperly held a secret meeting  to decide whether to issue demolition permits for six historic homes, The Associated Press reported.

Texas public officials file suit to overturn open meetings law

Miranda Fleschert | Freedom of Information | Quicklink | December 14, 2009
December 14, 2009

Public officials throughout the state of Texas filed a lawsuit Monday to overturn the state's open meetings law, claiming the provision that bars officials from meeting in secret violates their right to free speech.

Georgia's House Republican caucus votes to kick out press

Ansley Schrimpf | Freedom of Information | Quicklink | December 11, 2009
December 11, 2009

Republican legislators in Georgia voted today in a secret ballot to close the doors and keep the press out of an open caucus meeting.

Texas Municipal League says no jail for open meetings law violations

Amanda Becker | Freedom of Information | Quicklink | December 4, 2009
December 4, 2009

The Texas Municipal League, the lobbying arm of the state's cities, has endorsed a proposal to remove jail time from the list of punishments that can follow violations of Texas' Open Meetings Act, the Waco Tribune reported.

More Texas public officials will sue to conduct business in secret

Miranda Fleschert | Freedom of Information | Quicklink | November 23, 2009
November 23, 2009

Yet another Texas municipality has signed onto a lawsuit that challenges the state’s Open Meetings Act and seeks to do away with criminal sanctions for elected officials who conduct public business behind closed doors.

The city of Rockport voted Nov. 3 to join at least a dozen other cities, including Pflugerville and Alpine, in the suit expected to be filed before the first of the year.

Texas officials to file second suit over meetings act

Miranda Fleschert | Freedom of Information | Feature | October 15, 2009
October 15, 2009

Texas public officials are arguing for the second time this year that the state's Open Meetings Act violates their right to free speech. At least 20 elected officials from cities across the state have signed onto a potential lawsuit, including the mayor and four city council members in Pflugerville, the Austin American Statesman reported.

Eight officials charged with violating Oklahoma's open meetings law

Kirk Davis | Freedom of Information | Quicklink | October 1, 2009
October 1, 2009

Eight county officials in Oklahoma have been charged with 38 violations of the state's Open Meetings Act, the Associated Press reported on Wednesday.

Five members of the Okmulgee County Criminal Trust Authority and the county's sheriff, police chief and commissioner are charged with taking unauthorized votes, not recording votes and failing to give notice of action taken, among other misdemeanor violations of Oklahoma's Open Meetings Act.

Open meetings law stands in 5th Cir.

Corinna Zarek | Freedom of Information | Feature | September 10, 2009
September 10, 2009

The Texas Open Meetings Act remains good law after withstanding a constitutional challenge by former city council members who asserted the law violated their rights to exchange e-mail messages discussing city business in secret.

After four years of litigation, the U.S. Court of Appeals in Dallas (5th Cir.) dismissed the case today as moot. Although both Alpine, Texas, councilors' terms had ended, Avinash Rangra remained an active plaintiff in the case. Sixteen judges held Rangra lacked the proper standing to sue.

Court will re-hear Texas open meetings law case

Hannah Bergman | Freedom of Information | Reaction | July 30, 2009
July 30, 2009

A federal appellate court rightly decided this week to re-hear a case on the constitutionality of the Texas Open Meetings Act.

The U.S. Court of Appeals in New Orleans (5th Cir.) took the unusual and laudable step of granting a petition for en banc review, meaning the full court will now consider a case that a three-judge panel of the court previously decided.