Federal Judge: Texas Open Meetings Act Does Not Violate First Amendment Rights of Officials!

I am completely digging transparency as a “compelling government interest”!

A federal judge upheld the constitutionality of the Texas Open Meetings Act on Friday in a long-running case originally filed by members of the Alpine City Council. Council members from 11 cities later joined the case, including Mel LeBlanc of Arlington.

U.S. District Judge Robert Junell, based in West Texas, wrote that the law doesn’t muzzle the First Amendment right to free speech, as plaintiffs asserted, but instead protects “the compelling interest of governmental transparency.”

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, the named defendant, praised the ruling as a victory for democracy and the First Amendment.

In a Star-Telegram opinion column in December, LeBlanc explained why he joined the suit. The open meetings act, he wrote, “is a vague and confusing law, made more so by opinions handed down by attorneys general and appellate court rulings throughout its 43-year history. Confusion creates a milieu of silence and non-action, hesitation that stems from fear of reprisal, including jail time and fines, or of simply making a mistake.”

Read more: http://www.star-telegram.com/2011/03/25/2950984/federal-judge-upholds-texas-open.html#ixzz1Hie5TluN

 

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