Tue September 25, 2012
Appeals Court Upholds Open Meetings Law
A federal appeals court is upholding a Texas law aimed at government transparency.
A group of city officials from across Texas had challenged the Texas Open Meetings Act, saying it violates their free speech rights. The law requires public officials to post notices and agendas for their meetings and restricts how officials can meet with each other to discuss public business.
The ruling today from the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upholds a lower court ruling that found the law is constitutional and does not improperly limit elected officials speech.
"Today’s ruling is a great victory for democracy and the First Amendment. The decision further guarantees the public will continue to have access to information about how their government works," said Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott in a written statement. "Making meetings accessible and allowing the public to see how decisions are made are the foundation of open government. A healthy democracy requires that the public have access to how government operates."