Thursday, February 4, 2010

UPDATE: Texas AG Says Towns Lack 1st A Right to Contest Open Meetings Act

Pflugerville City HallImage via Wikipedia
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott has filed a 10-page motion in federal court in Pecos seeking to have four municipalities dropped as parties to a case challenging the constitutionality of the Texas Open Meetings Act ("TOMA")[Tex. Govt. Code Sec. 551.001(3)], See "TUOL" post 12/15/09 for details concerning the case.

Alpine, Rockport, Wichita Falls and Pflugerville, along with 15 town officials, alleged in their complaint that TOMA violated their First Amendment free speech rights by barring elected officials from discussing public issues in public or private. Violators face up to six months in prison and a $500 fine.

Abbott contends that the four municipalities are "creatures of the state," and, as such, can't assert constituional claims against Texas, and that only citizens possess First Amendment rights. No date has been set by the court to hear the motion as of yet.
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