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Texas Municipal League says no jail for open meetings law violations

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  1. Freedom of Information
The Texas Municipal League, the lobbying arm of the state's cities, has endorsed a proposal to remove jail time from…

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.

The resolution, which the league may pursue when it lobbies during the next legislative session, follows a lawsuit filed by dozens of Texas cities that challenges the state’s Open Meetings Act and seeks to do away with criminal sanctions for elected officials.

The resolution passed says the act creates an “unreasonable and possibly unconstitutional constraint on the ability of public officials to communicate with their colleagues regarding public matters outside of governmental meetings” by imposing sanctions that include a $500 fine and up to six months in jail, though prosecutions under the law are rare.

The Reporters Committee previously supported the constitutionality of the Open Meetings Act when it filed a brief with the Fifth Circuit during a similar lawsuit, which ended because the city council members involved were no longer in office.