6 December 2009 at 4:12:58 PM
Excellent letter in the Waco paper from Bill Hobby.
TML wants criminal penalties such as jail time stripped from the law, which has protected the public for more than four decades. They believe the current language is too punitive and argue “less restrictive penalties would not only continue to preserve the integrity of the Texas Open Meetings Act but would also recognize the fundamental right of city officials to free speech.”
In other words, if public officials break the law in the future by conducting business in secret — such as exercising their rights to free speech behind closed doors — then a slap on the wrist should be punishment enough.
And an editorial regarding same from the Waco paper
The TML, which is a mainstay when the Texas Legislature is in session, says it has not decided whether it intends to pursue weakening this law legislatively.
If they do, we strongly believe that seeking legislative relief is a foolish exercise that would normally be laughable if it weren’t such a waste of taxpayer resources.
Taking taxpayer money to help fund an effort to weaken governmental accountability to these very taxpayers is not only a cruel irony, it is a slap in the face.
If the TML continues to pursue this insulting course, we would strongly urge all local municipalities to deliberate in public about the wisdom of this organization and to reconsider using our taxpayer money to pay their membership dues to this organization
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