Federal judge upholds Texas Open Meetings Act

Monday, March 28, 2011

PECOS, Texas — A federal judge has upheld the Texas Open Meetings Act in a long-running case originally filed by members of the Alpine City Council.

The March 25 ruling by U.S. District Judge Robert Junell found that the law doesn't muzzle the First Amendment right to free speech as had been alleged by a group of plaintiffs that included city council members from Alpine and 11 other Texas cities.

Junell wrote in Asgeirsson v. Abbott that the state law 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.

Junell held a bench trial on the issue last November after an appeals court reversed an earlier ruling.