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Relating to changing the criminal offense of conspiracy to
circumvent the open meetings law.
No significant fiscal implication to the State is anticipated.
SB 1640 would amend the Texas Open Meetings Act (TOMA) as a response to it being struck down as unconstitutionally vague by the Court of Criminal Appeals in February 2019. Specifically, the bill would prohibit a member of a governmental body from knowingly engaging in at least one among a series of communications that each occur outside of an open meeting concerning any public business of the governmental body where the individual communications are among fewer than a quorum of members.
In addition, the member would have to know at the time he or she engaged in the series of communications that the series would involve a quorum and constitute a deliberation in violation of TOMA if the communications had occurred in a single instance among every member involved in the series.
Texas Action supports SB 1640 for promoting the principles of limited government. This bill will help to ensure that meetings between government officials remain transparent and open to the public, so as to keep the government accountable to the people.