A Thousand Texas Cities

August 8, 2010

Until a recent action taken by a judge, four Texas cities (Alpine, Pflugerville, Rockport, and Wichita Falls) were joined in a lawsuit in opposition to the Texas Open Meetings Act. More than a thousand Texas cities did not join in the lawsuit.

One can only wonder whether the residents of the four cities actually supported the opposition of their city councils to the Open Meetings Act.

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The TOMA Lawsuit: July 2010 Update

July 31, 2010

Much has been happening recently.

Both the plaintiffs and the defendants  have filed for summary judgment.

Later, a federal judge dismissed cities from the lawsuit.

See “Judge tosses Texas Cities from open meetings suit” Associated Press, The Dallas Morning News, July 28, 2010.

TOMA Support from the Republican Party of Texas

May 24, 2010

According to a May 11, 2010, blog entry by William Lutz in The Lone Star Report, the Executive Committee of the Republican Party of Texas passed a resolution in support of the Texas Open Meetings Act on March 27, 2010. The text of the resolution is included in the blog post.

A New TOMA Reference

April 20, 2010

The lawsuit directed against certain provisions of the Texas Open Meeting Act (TOMA) is not receiving the attention in news reports and editorials that it did earlier this year.

Yet, a new summary of the purposes and provisions of the TOMA and the circumstances under which closed meetings can be held by governing bodies and administrative bodies subject to the law has just appeared with a discussion appropriate for its inclusion in the Texas Professional License Defense Lawyer Blog. The blog entry dated April 20, 2010 was “What is the Texas Open Meetings Act?” by Louis Leichter.

Sunshine Week

March 17, 2010

In the Pflugerville Key to the City, there was no notice that March 14-20, 2010, is Sunshine Week.  But see, for example, “Letting the Sun Shine: Promoting Open Government” by Texas State Senator Judith Zaffirini, Wilson County News, March 17, 2010.

This might be just the right time to write to the Pflugerville City Council and ask that Pflugerville be withdrawn from the TOMA (Texas Open Meeting Act) lawsuit.

Should a Petition Be Started in Pflugerville?

March 4, 2010

The Pflugerville City Council has not yet shown any inclination to withdraw Pflugerville from the lawsuit directed against TOMA (Texas Open Meetings Act).

Should Pflugerville begin to follow the kind of advice offered to cities and towns in Galveston County in The Daily News (a newspaper published in Galveston County)? In an article entitled “League isn’t worth the price,” it is advocated that cities and towns in Galveston County quit the Texas Municipal League on the basis of positions taken by this organization toward open government. It is further advocated that petitions be started if city governments do not act.

Another Resolution in Support of TOMA

February 17, 2010

According to the Beaumont Enterprise, the Beaumont City Council unanimously passed a resolution in support of the Texas Open Meetings Act.

This is what the Pflugerville City Council should also be doing.

Fewer Cities Now Joined in TOMA Lawsuit

January 21, 2010

City officials in Big Lake have been reported to have withdrawn the city from the TOMA (Texas Open Meetings Act) lawsuit. 

See 

Texas town backs out of open meetings suit” (AP article) The Houston Chronicle, January 21, 2010.

Perhaps it is about time for the Pflugerville City Council to withdraw Pflugerville from the TOMA lawsuit, also.

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TOMA Lawsuit Defended in Pflugerville City Council Meeting

January 13, 2010

Item 10A in the regular meeting yesterday of the Pflugerville City Council was about the TOMA (Texas Open Meetings Act) lawsuit filed in December. A video of the Item 10A proceedings is available here from the City of Pflugerville website. (Video is no longer available.)

In the video, much of what was presented in defense of the participation of Pflugerville in the TOMA lawsuit seemed to be an elaboration upon arguments given in this lawsuit that were offered in opposition to preserving TOMA in its present form. It may be noted that the complaint in the current lawsuit is the same (according to page 16) as that in an earlier lawsuit. It is not surprising then that a brief, dated August 28 and prepared by the State of Texas for the earlier lawsuit, appears to address effectively many of the concerns and arguments brought up in the current lawsuit and in the video.  

As one tries to evaluate the arguments presented in the video, one may question why such a small number of the more than 1000 Texas cities are joining in the TOMA lawsuit if pursuing this litigation is justified and very important.

Added Note: Another relevant brief, dated September 3, 2009, was submitted for the earlier TOMA lawsuit from The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and 23 News Media Organizations.

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Support for TOMA from West University Place

January 12, 2010

According to the West University Examiner, the West University Place City Council voted yesterday for a resolution supporting TOMA (Texas Open Meetings Act). The wording of the resolution was

“We support the fundamental proposition contained in TOMA that elected officials should not participate in closed meetings to discuss and resolve public issues. We believe that TOMA is necessary to assure the citizens of Texas that the decisions of their elected officials are made in a public meeting, properly noticed and open to the public.” 

There has been much criticism in the media directed toward the TOMA lawsuit. Very few Texas cities have joined in the lawsuit. It is possible that more city councils in Texas will follow the example set in West University Place and actually pass resolutions in support of TOMA.

West U stands for open government.” by George Boehme, GeorgeBoehme.com, January 12, 2010. 

Council moves to support Open Meetings Act” by Steve Mark, West University Examiner, January 12, 2010. 

Open Meetings Act Fight May Affect You” by Greg Googan, My Fox Houston, January 11, 2010.

We need more transparency in government, not less” by George Boehme, GeorgeBoehme.com, January 9, 2010.

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For entering your name with your comment, use a pseudonym if you wish. Please keep the discussion polite with no personal attacks, foul language, racial slurs, etc.