Texas Open Meetings Act
Effective March 16, 2020, the Governor suspended various provisions of the Texas Open Meetings Act that require government officials and members of the public to be physically present at a specified meeting location. The suspension will allow for telephonic or videoconference meetings of governmental bodies that are accessible to the public in an effort to reduce in-person meetings that assemble large groups of people.
What this means is that for the time being, governmental entities can hold Board meetings via telephone or videoconference so long as the following protections remain in place:
- Members of the public will be entitled to participate and address the governmental body during the telephonic or videoconference meeting the same as a regular in-person meeting (although done virtually);
- To hold a telephonic or videoconference meeting, a governmental body must post a written notice that gives the public a way to participate remotely, such as a toll-free dial-in number, and that includes an electronic copy of any agenda packet that officials will consider at the meeting; and
- A governmental body must provide the public with access to a recording of any telephonic or videoconference meeting.
The ability to hold meetings in this manner will continue until the Governor’s emergency declaration is revoked or expires. The Governor most recently extended his emergency declaration on May 12, 2020, thereby allowing governmental entities to continue holding virtual meetings.
If you additional questions, please do not hesitate to contact the firm.