• Revised Master WEB
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    2013 amendments to the Texas Open Meetings Act

    now permit electronic communication about official business

    between members of a governmental body 

    provided certain conditions are met.

  • Premissible use of e-mail requires:

    Use of a message board viewable by the public.

    All message must be viewable for 30 days.

    Messages must be archived for 6 years.

    No action can be taken through electronic messages. 

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    TX OPEN MEETINGS

    Enabling Texas Open Meeting Act

    Prescribed e-Mail Discussion

    by members of  

    Texas Governmental Bodies

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    Use e-Mail to Communicate with Other Board Members

    Discuss Topics Outside Of Formal Open Meetings While Maintaining Compliance.

    Carry on extended discusssion without meeting time constraints.

    Improve Time Efficiency of Formal Meetings

    Be Fully Informed - Make Better decisions

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    Read About How It Works

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    Contact Us for More Information

Texas Open Meeting Act

The Texas Open Meetings Act (TOMA), Government Code Chapter 551, effectively restricts members of a governmental body from discussing public business or public policy within their jurisdiction outside of an open meeting (except for expressly authorized executive sessions).
 
FAILURE OF ELECTED OFFICIALS TO COMPLY WITH THE OPEN MEETING ACT CAN RESULT IN CRIMINAL PROSECUTION.

Impact of e-Mail Limitations

The potential for an e-mail message to create an illegal walking quorum has traditionally limited the use of e-mail as a mode of communication between members of a governing body. In a five member governing body, an e-mail conversation between two board members can easily be transmitted to a third member, which constitutes a majority and which can violate the law. This can also occur by mistake by simply selecting "reply to all" on and a group broadcast message.

2013 Amendments

In 2013, the Texas Open Meeting Act was amended to specifically allow electronic communication between members of a governing body without violating the Texas Open Meeting Act, provided certain conditions were met. 
  • Messages are posted and viewable by the public on an on-line message board.
  • Communications are displayed in real time and remain viewable for at least 30 days.

New Opportunities

When appropriately used in conjuction with a public message board, e-mail can now be used as an effective communication tool for members of a governmental body. Permitted electronic discussions provide members with a way to openly communicate and discuss issues with each other outside of the formal public meeting without violation the open meeting act. This allows for exploration of different perspectives as well as full understanding and identification of options.