San Antonio City Council Closed-Door Meeting Spurs Debate On Transparency, Texas Law
District 6 City Councilman Greg Brockhouse has asked Bexar County District Attorney Nico LaHood to investigate a potential violation of the Texas Open Meetings Act by the San Antonio City Council.
The dispute was sparked earlier this month, when council met behind closed doors – in executive session – to discuss whether the city should submit a bid to host the Republican National Convention in 2020.
Following the meeting, Mayor Ron Nirenberg announced that the city would not pursue the opportunity, a final decision that seems to have been made in closed session.
In addition to providing the public advance notice of the subjects to be considered in a closed executive session, state law says that votes, decisions or any final actions must be made in public.
The City Attorney's office maintains that the proceedings were protected by state law, due to an exception which allows for "economic development issues" to be discussed in private.
Should closed-door meetings be recorded to avoid future issues? How does the Texas Open Meetings Act shape policymaking for local governments across the state?
- Andy Segovia, San Antonio City Attorney
- Greg Brockhouse, San Antonio City Council representative for District 6
- Joe Larsen, board attorney for the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas
- Scott Houston, deputy executive director and general counsel for the Texas Municipal League
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