The silly constitutional challenge to open meetings law in Texas may never end…

It’s a fundamental flaw in the fabric of FOI: requesters stonewalled by government agencies square off with taxpayer-funded lawyers with all the time in the world on their hands…

Signaling their intention to go to court forever to withhold information from the public, lawyers for 15 city officials begin today trying to convince the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals the Texas Open Meetings Act violates their freedom of speech.

The officials from Alpine, Wichita Falls, Pflugerville, Sugar Land, Arlington, Heath, Rockport, Leon Valley, Whitesboro, Hurst and Bellmead filed suit in 2009 contending they conduct public business in terror of violating the law.

In March of 2011, U.S. District Judge Robert Junell took 37 pages to call their contention nonsense. Junell said the Open Meetings Act was not vague, or too broad, or suppressive of free speech.

Oh, but why let a ringing judicial smackdown make you hold your meetings in public, when you can waste some more tax dollars dragging this out?

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The Constitutional Challenge to Arkansas Sunshine is Getting Weird…

A western Arkansas judge has refused a request from Attorney General Dustin McDaniel to review a ruling against part of the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act, a move likely to send the case to the state Supreme Court.

Sebastian County Circuit Judge James Cox said in a brief letter Tuesday that he didn’t see the need to temporarily halt the effect of his Oct. 4 ruling declaring that the criminal penalty of the state sunshine law was unconstitutional.

The judge also denied the attorney general’s request to intervene in the case so his office could formally defend the law in court.

“I conducted a trial in this case in which the issues were thoroughly presented after notice had been given to all interested parties,” Cox said in his letter. “I have been unable to discern any new information … which compels me to amend the final order which was entered in this case.”

The Arkansas Freedom of Information Act has a possible criminal penalty, a misdemeanor that carries up to 30 days in jail, for violators of the law. When the city of Fort Smith was sued by a local attorney over several conversations between the former city administrator and board members, Fort Smith’s attorneys argued the law was too vague for the criminal penalty to be fair.

Cox agreed, saying in his decision that the state Supreme Court had erred in previous rulings on the law and the Arkansas Legislature needed to clarify whether sending emails, making phone calls or handing out material before a meeting could be considered a violation.