Texas Open Government Laws
Texas Open Government Laws
Texas Public Information Act An Overview
Outline of PIA <ul><li>Overview of the law </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Definitions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>General Rule </li>...
Public Policy <ul><li>Under the fundamental philosophy of the American constitutional form of representative government th...
Public Policy <ul><li>Under the fundamental philosophy of the American constitutional form of representative government th...
Public Policy <ul><li>Under the fundamental philosophy of the American constitutional form of representative government th...
Public Policy <ul><li>Under the fundamental philosophy of the American constitutional form of representative government th...
Public Policy <ul><li>Under the fundamental philosophy of the American constitutional form of representative government th...
Definition of Public Information <ul><li>ALL Information that is collected, assembled, or maintained by, or for, a governm...
Definition of Governmental Body <ul><li>A board, commission, department, committee, institution, agency, or office that is...
General Rule <ul><li>ALL </li></ul><ul><li>INFORMATION </li></ul><ul><li>Collected, stored or used by a governmental entit...
Typical Requestors <ul><li>News media </li></ul><ul><li>Concerned citizen groups. </li></ul><ul><li>People interested in a...
Examples of Public Information <ul><li>A completed audit or report or investigation. </li></ul><ul><li>Name, sex, ethnicit...
Examples of Public Information <ul><li>Administrative staff manuals and instructions to staff that affect a member of the ...
Items Which are Not Public Information <ul><li>Tangible items such as a tool or a key. </li></ul><ul><li>Computer source c...
Statutory Exceptions to Disclosure <ul><li>Information Confidential by Law </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Social security numbers <...
Statutory Exceptions to Disclosure <ul><li>Personal information (invasion of personal privacy) </li></ul><ul><li>Employee ...
Statutory Exceptions to Disclosure <ul><li>Attorney client privileged communications </li></ul><ul><li>Court-ordered confi...
Statutory Exceptions to Disclosure <ul><li>Home addresses and telephone numbers </li></ul><ul><li>Information about an emp...
Penalties <ul><li>Criminal: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Failure to release information </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Releasing info...
 
 
 
 
 
 
<ul><li>Comments on why exception applies. </li></ul><ul><li>Copy of written request. </li></ul><ul><li>Signed statement a...
 
 
Summary <ul><li>Public policy is to make all records available. </li></ul><ul><li>Limited time period in which to respond....
Texas Open Meetings Act An Overview
Outline <ul><li>Overview of Law </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Definitions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>General Rules </li></ul></ul>...
Definition of Governmental Body <ul><li>A board, commission, department, committee, institution, agency, or office that is...
Definition of Meeting <ul><li>A  deliberation  between a  quorum   of a governmental body, or between a a quorum of a gove...
Definition of Meeting
Definition of Meeting
Definition of Meeting
Definition of Meeting
Definition of Meeting
Definition of Meeting
Definition of Meeting <ul><li>A “gathering” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>That is conducted by the governmental body or for which ...
Committee Meetings <ul><li>Generally meetings of less than quorum are not subject to act. </li></ul><ul><li>BUT, if commit...
Video, Telephone, Internet Meetings <ul><li>Generally prohibited. </li></ul><ul><li>Emergency telephone meetings are permi...
Notice Requirements <ul><li>Written notice of all meetings required. </li></ul><ul><li>Date, hour, place and subject. </li...
Emergency Posting <ul><li>Allows two hour notice when, </li></ul><ul><li>Immediate action required of a governmental body ...
Consequences <ul><li>Actions taken in violation of notice requirements are voidable. </li></ul><ul><li>Governmental body m...
Open Meetings <ul><li>Convened only when quorum is physically present in meeting room.  </li></ul><ul><li>Must convene in ...
Closed Meetings <ul><li>Process </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Convene meeting in open session. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Announce...
Closed Meetings <ul><li>Can only deliberate in closed meetings.  Cannot vote. </li></ul><ul><li>“A final action, decision,...
Closed Meetings: Authorized <ul><li>Consultations with Attorney. </li></ul><ul><li>Purchase, sale or exchange of real prop...
Closed Sessions: Who may attend <ul><li>Members of governmental body. </li></ul><ul><li>Employees of governmental body who...
Civil Remedies <ul><li>An interested person, including a member of the news media, may sue to stop, prevent, or reverse a ...
Criminal Penalties <ul><li>Participation in closed meeting knowing that a certified agenda or tape recording is not being ...
Criminal Penalties <ul><li>Knowingly calling, aiding or participating in a closed meeting not permitted under the OMA is p...
Questions? <ul><li>William L. Banowsky </li></ul><ul><li>Board Certified - Civil Trial Law  </li></ul><ul><li>Texas Board ...
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Texas Open Government Presentation

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  • Often referred to as the Open Records Act—old name Not confused with the Freedom of Information Act
  • This is the public policy as set forth in the statute Source: Gov Code sec.552.001 Together with the Open Meetings Act, the Public Information Act are the FOUNDATION of the open government laws
  • This is the public policy as set forth in the statute Source: Gov Code sec.552.001 Together with the Open Meetings Act, the Public Information Act are the FOUNDATION of the open government laws
  • This is the public policy as set forth in the statute Source: Gov Code sec.552.001 Together with the Open Meetings Act, the Public Information Act are the FOUNDATION of the open government laws
  • This is the public policy as set forth in the statute Source: Gov Code sec.552.001 Together with the Open Meetings Act, the Public Information Act are the FOUNDATION of the open government laws
  • This is the public policy as set forth in the statute Source: Gov Code sec.552.001 Together with the Open Meetings Act, the Public Information Act are the FOUNDATION of the open government laws
  • Gov. Code sec. 552.002; Government not required to create the information requested. But programming to pull electronic data out may be required under certain circumstances.
  • 552.0034 Note that it does not include the judiciary. Private entities supported by public funds can be “government entities” for purpose of the act
  • Self-appointed and otherwise
  • Preliminary reports not public
  • Information used solely as a tool to maintain, manipulate or protect public property was not public information Personal notes related to government business are public information. This rule of exclusion is eroding. Commercially available information. Eg research books. Can allow access. Must allow access if information in the book is referred to a rule of a policy of the governmental body.
  • Constitutional, statutory, judicial 552.101 Very broad exception and one that most often causes the most difficulty It is a misdemeanor to release information confidential under law. A government can release most information even if exempt if it chooses to but not material confidential by law. Very broad—often requires legal advice to sort through
  • Personal information to the extent it constitutes an unwarranted invasion of personal property. 552.102 Transcript. 552.101. Except for degree obtained and the curriculum. i.e. no grades. Evals. Tex. Educ. Code. 21.355. Litigation. 552.103. Only if litigation is pending or reasonably anticipated when request was received. Competitive Bidding. 552.104. If release would give advantage to competitor or bidder. Property info. 552.105. for property to be acquired by entity. Military records. Third-party information.
  • Attorney-Client communications. 552.105 Court-ordered confidential information. Private communications. Agency memorandum: deliberative process privilege and work product privilege. Must be privileged in litigation. 552.111. Advice, opinions, or recommendations on policy issues. Student records: FERPA; Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974. Generally not applicable to HPISD because no federal funds. But state law incorporates privacy protection and thus applies to HPISD. Student record definition in state law is equivalent to FERPA. Directory information exception. [New statute] Computer security information Credit card numbers. 552.136
  • Addresses: if employee designated them as confidential within 14 days of employment. 552.024, 552.117. Family members. Test items. 552.122. Name of applicant for superintendent: Until finalists are named. 552.126. Informers. 552.135 Email addresses. Email addresses: Parent (and members of the public) email addresses provided to the district
  • Generally found at sections 552.351, 552.352, and 552.353 Criminal: Misdemeanor/$1000 fine/6-months jail for failing to release information. Destroying info: $25 to 4000 fine/3 days to 3-months in county jail Writ of mandamus: requestor or AG can file Dec/Injunctive relief: district has to have had an opportunity to cure. Attorneys fees and costs can be assessed against the governmental body
  • Written request required. Not oral. 552.301. May be made by fax or email. Does not have to use “magic language” May seek inspection or duplication or both. 555.221 But cannot require research, creation of records or answers to questions.
  • See 552.221, 552.222 Can also request clarification, or seek to narrow the scope of the request. 552.222 May also withhold information and rely on “previous determination” by the AG
  • Advise the time and date that the records can be reviewed Are not required to release originals. Reasonable fees can be charged for copies of documents. Rates must be reasonable and within 25% of those published by the TGSC. 552.262. If only inspection is requested, a charge can be levied if (1) records are more than five years old, or (2) the documents requested fill 6+ archival boxes; (3) or it will take greater than 5 hours to make available. If cost exceeds, $40, requestor must receive a notice from the governmental entity with notice of alternative cheaper method. 552.2615. Requestor must respond within 10 days, accepting the charges, disputing the charge, or modifying the request. A bond or deposit can be requested if estimated cost exceeds $100. 552.263. Charges can be waived if it is in the public interest to do so. 552.267. Can also charge for redacted copies. 552.271.
  • Request to AG must be 10 th business day after receipt of request. Failure to request within timeframe results in a presumption that the information is open and subject to disclosure unless the AG finds a “compelling reason” to withhold. 552.302. Seeking an AG opinion is improper if prior determination by AG that records are open. 552.301.
  • 15 business days after receipt of the request the supporting material must be submitted to AG.
  • This is what is required to be submitted to the attorney general
  • AG decision is due within 45 working days after request is received with an optional 10 day extension. 552.306.
  • Two choices: either produce the documents or file suit to prevent disclosure AG could rule that records should not be produced.
  • 551.002 Generally same definition at Public Information Act Private entities supported by public funds can be “government entities” for purpose of the act
  • As long as no formal action is taken and any discussion of public business is incidental to the social function, workshop or convention.
  • Video: if meeting extends to 3 or more counties and if majority of quorum is physically present at one location 551.127(c)
  • Vague terms like “old business”, “new business” are not sufficient. Place of posting: 551.051
  • Recording subject to reasonable rules in order to maintain order during the meeting.
  • Not an executive session.
  • Attorney consultations: 1) pending or contemplated litigation, 2) settlement offer; 3) “on a matter in which the duty of the attorney to the governmental body under the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct of the State Bar of Texas clearly conflict with this chapter.” Property: only closed if open session would have a detrimental effect on negotiations with third party Gifts: only closed if open session would have a detrimental effect on negotiations with third party
  • Attorney: when meeting under section 551.071 Adverse: opposing parties in litigation or real estate deal
  • Texas Open Government Presentation

    1. 1. Texas Open Government Laws
    2. 2. Texas Open Government Laws
    3. 3. Texas Public Information Act An Overview
    4. 4. Outline of PIA <ul><li>Overview of the law </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Definitions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>General Rule </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Exceptions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Penalties </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Overview of the process </li></ul><ul><li>Questions </li></ul>
    5. 5. Public Policy <ul><li>Under the fundamental philosophy of the American constitutional form of representative government that adheres to the principal that government is the servant and not the master of the people , it is the policy of this state that each person is entitled . . at all times to complete information about the affairs of government and the official acts of public officials and employees. The people, in delegating authority, do not give their public servants to decide what is good for the people to know and what is not good for them to know. The people insist on remaining informed so that they may retain control of the instruments they have created. The provisions of this [law] shall be liberally construed to implement this policy. </li></ul>
    6. 6. Public Policy <ul><li>Under the fundamental philosophy of the American constitutional form of representative government that adheres to the principal that government is the servant and not the master of the people, it is the policy of this state that each person is entitled . . at all times to complete information about the affairs of government and the official acts of public officials and employees. The people, in delegating authority, do not give their public servants to decide what is good for the people to know and what is not good for them to know. The people insist on remaining informed so that they may retain control of the instruments they have created. The provisions of this [law] shall be liberally construed to implement this policy. </li></ul>
    7. 7. Public Policy <ul><li>Under the fundamental philosophy of the American constitutional form of representative government that adheres to the principal that government is the servant and not the master of the people, it is the policy of this state that each person is entitled . . at all times to complete information about the affairs of government and the official acts of public officials and employees. The people, in delegating authority, do not give their public servants to decide what is good for the people to know and what is not good for them to know. The people insist on remaining informed so that they may retain control of the instruments they have created. The provisions of this [law] shall be liberally construed to implement this policy. </li></ul>
    8. 8. Public Policy <ul><li>Under the fundamental philosophy of the American constitutional form of representative government that adheres to the principal that government is the servant and not the master of the people, it is the policy of this state that each person is entitled . . at all times to complete information about the affairs of government and the official acts of public officials and employees. The people, in delegating authority, do not give their public servants to decide what is good for the people to know and what is not good for them to know. The people insist on remaining informed so that they may retain control of the instruments they have created. The provisions of this [law] shall be liberally construed to implement this policy. </li></ul>
    9. 9. Public Policy <ul><li>Under the fundamental philosophy of the American constitutional form of representative government that adheres to the principal that government is the servant and not the master of the people, it is the policy of this state that each person is entitled . . at all times to complete information about the affairs of government and the official acts of public officials and employees. The people, in delegating authority, do not give their public servants to decide what is good for the people to know and what is not good for them to know. The people insist on remaining informed so that they may retain control of the instruments they have created. The provisions of this [law] shall be liberally construed to implement this policy. </li></ul>
    10. 10. Definition of Public Information <ul><li>ALL Information that is collected, assembled, or maintained by, or for, a governmental body. </li></ul><ul><li>Includes paper, film, computer data, disks, tape, microfilm, maps, drawings, voice recordings, and video presentations. </li></ul><ul><li>Existing information only. No requirement to create. </li></ul>
    11. 11. Definition of Governmental Body <ul><li>A board, commission, department, committee, institution, agency, or office that is within or is created by the executive or legislative branch of the state government and is directed by one of more elected or appointed members. </li></ul><ul><li>A school district board of trustees. </li></ul><ul><li>Can include any entity receiving government funds. </li></ul>
    12. 12. General Rule <ul><li>ALL </li></ul><ul><li>INFORMATION </li></ul><ul><li>Collected, stored or used by a governmental entity </li></ul><ul><li>IS public information. </li></ul>
    13. 13. Typical Requestors <ul><li>News media </li></ul><ul><li>Concerned citizen groups. </li></ul><ul><li>People interested in a single issue. </li></ul><ul><li>“Watch dogs.” </li></ul><ul><li>Vendors. </li></ul>
    14. 14. Examples of Public Information <ul><li>A completed audit or report or investigation. </li></ul><ul><li>Name, sex, ethnicity, salary, title and dates of employment of each employee. </li></ul><ul><li>Email. </li></ul><ul><li>Information about expenditures of public funds. </li></ul><ul><li>All working papers, research material, and information used to estimate the need for a public expenditure or imposition of taxes. </li></ul>
    15. 15. Examples of Public Information <ul><li>Administrative staff manuals and instructions to staff that affect a member of the public. </li></ul><ul><li>Formal and informal polices and procedures. </li></ul><ul><li>Correspondence. </li></ul><ul><li>A litigation settlement agreement to which the governmental body is a party. </li></ul><ul><li>Name of each official and final voting record. </li></ul>
    16. 16. Items Which are Not Public Information <ul><li>Tangible items such as a tool or a key. </li></ul><ul><li>Computer source codes, documentation and program documentation standards. </li></ul><ul><li>Some personal notes and e-mails of public employees. </li></ul><ul><li>Commercially available information. </li></ul>
    17. 17. Statutory Exceptions to Disclosure <ul><li>Information Confidential by Law </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Social security numbers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Child abuse investigation records </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Medical records </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Individually identifiable health information </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Medical history given pursuant to ADA </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Common law privacy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Participants in a deferred compensation plan </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Information within the informer’s privilege </li></ul></ul>
    18. 18. Statutory Exceptions to Disclosure <ul><li>Personal information (invasion of personal privacy) </li></ul><ul><li>Employee college transcripts </li></ul><ul><li>Evaluations of teachers and administrators </li></ul><ul><li>Litigation information </li></ul><ul><li>Competitive bidding information </li></ul><ul><li>Location and price of property </li></ul><ul><li>Military discharge records </li></ul><ul><li>Third-party trade secrets, commercial and financial information </li></ul>
    19. 19. Statutory Exceptions to Disclosure <ul><li>Attorney client privileged communications </li></ul><ul><li>Court-ordered confidential information </li></ul><ul><li>Some private communications of an elected office-holder that would constitute an invasion of privacy </li></ul><ul><li>Agency memorandum (limited) </li></ul><ul><li>Student records </li></ul><ul><li>Computer security information </li></ul><ul><li>Credit card numbers </li></ul>
    20. 20. Statutory Exceptions to Disclosure <ul><li>Home addresses and telephone numbers </li></ul><ul><li>Information about an employee’s family members </li></ul><ul><li>Test items </li></ul><ul><li>Records of a library </li></ul><ul><li>Names of school superintendent applicants </li></ul><ul><li>School district informers </li></ul><ul><li>E-mail addresses provided to the governmental entity by members of the public </li></ul>
    21. 21. Penalties <ul><li>Criminal: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Failure to release information </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Releasing information not subject to disclosure </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Destroying or altering public information </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Civil: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Writ of mandamus </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Declaratory Judgment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Injunctive Relief </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Attorneys fees and costs </li></ul></ul>
    22. 28. <ul><li>Comments on why exception applies. </li></ul><ul><li>Copy of written request. </li></ul><ul><li>Signed statement as to when request received. </li></ul><ul><li>Copy of the information requested. </li></ul>
    23. 31. Summary <ul><li>Public policy is to make all records available. </li></ul><ul><li>Limited time period in which to respond. </li></ul><ul><li>Resources need to be dedicated to process. </li></ul>
    24. 32. Texas Open Meetings Act An Overview
    25. 33. Outline <ul><li>Overview of Law </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Definitions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>General Rules </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Exceptions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Penalties </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Process </li></ul>
    26. 34. Definition of Governmental Body <ul><li>A board, commission, department, committee, institution, agency, or office that is within or is created by the executive or legislative branch of the state government and is directed by one of more elected or appointed members. </li></ul><ul><li>A school district board of trustees. </li></ul><ul><li>Unlike the PIA, the OMA does not apply to governmentatl entities supported by public funds. </li></ul>
    27. 35. Definition of Meeting <ul><li>A deliberation between a quorum of a governmental body, or between a a quorum of a governmental body and another person, during which public business or public policy which the governmental body has supervision or control is discussed or considered or during which the governmental body takes formal action. </li></ul><ul><li>“Deliberation” and “discussion” are synonymous for the purposes of the act. Includes a verbal exchange as well as written or non-spoken exchange. </li></ul>
    28. 36. Definition of Meeting
    29. 37. Definition of Meeting
    30. 38. Definition of Meeting
    31. 39. Definition of Meeting
    32. 40. Definition of Meeting
    33. 41. Definition of Meeting
    34. 42. Definition of Meeting <ul><li>A “gathering” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>That is conducted by the governmental body or for which the governmental body is responsible; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>At which a quorum of the governmental body is present </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>That has been called by the governmental body; and </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>At which members receive information from, give information to, ask questions of, or receive questions from any third person, including an employee of the governmental body, about public business. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Does not include social functions or attendance at conventions or workshops. </li></ul>
    35. 43. Committee Meetings <ul><li>Generally meetings of less than quorum are not subject to act. </li></ul><ul><li>BUT, if committee decisions of are in fact “rubber stamped” by quorum of parent body, then committee meetings may be subject to act. </li></ul><ul><li>An purely advisory committee is not subject to the act, even if it includes members of the governmental body (as long as less than quorum). </li></ul>
    36. 44. Video, Telephone, Internet Meetings <ul><li>Generally prohibited. </li></ul><ul><li>Emergency telephone meetings are permitted. </li></ul><ul><li>Video conference permitted under very limited conditions, although governmental body may allow public to participate by video. </li></ul><ul><li>Consultation with outside legal counsel permitted by conference call. </li></ul><ul><li>Governmental body my broadcast meeting over Internet, but broadcast does not substitute for in-person meeting. </li></ul>
    37. 45. Notice Requirements <ul><li>Written notice of all meetings required. </li></ul><ul><li>Date, hour, place and subject. </li></ul><ul><li>Must be sufficient to apprise the general public of the subjects to be considered during the meeting. </li></ul><ul><li>Posted at a place “readily accessible to public.” For school districts, this means on a bulletin board at the central administrative office. </li></ul><ul><li>At least 72 hours before meeting. </li></ul><ul><li>School districts must also notify News Media if News Media has requested special notice and agrees to pay for special notice. </li></ul>
    38. 46. Emergency Posting <ul><li>Allows two hour notice when, </li></ul><ul><li>Immediate action required of a governmental body because of: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>An imminent threat to public health and safety or </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A reasonably unforeseeable situation. </li></ul></ul>
    39. 47. Consequences <ul><li>Actions taken in violation of notice requirements are voidable. </li></ul><ul><li>Governmental body may ratify an invalid act in a subsequent open meeting held in compliance with act. Ratification only effective from the date the valid action was taken. </li></ul>
    40. 48. Open Meetings <ul><li>Convened only when quorum is physically present in meeting room. </li></ul><ul><li>Must convene in open meeting even if agenda calls for an immediate closed meeting. </li></ul><ul><li>Meeting room must be accessible to public. </li></ul><ul><li>Public may record meeting. </li></ul>
    41. 49. Closed Meetings <ul><li>Process </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Convene meeting in open session. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Announce that a closed meeting will be held </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Identify the section of the OMA under which the closed meeting is to be held. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Record </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Certified agenda. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Tape recording. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Kept a minimum of two years. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Confidential </li></ul></ul>
    42. 50. Closed Meetings <ul><li>Can only deliberate in closed meetings. Cannot vote. </li></ul><ul><li>“A final action, decision, or vote on a matter deliberated in a closed meeting . . . may only be made in an open meeting . . ..” </li></ul><ul><li>Must reconvene in open meeting to take vote. </li></ul>
    43. 51. Closed Meetings: Authorized <ul><li>Consultations with Attorney. </li></ul><ul><li>Purchase, sale or exchange of real property. </li></ul><ul><li>Gift or Donations. </li></ul><ul><li>Personnel Matters. Employee may request open meeting. </li></ul><ul><li>Deployment of security personnel or devices. </li></ul><ul><li>Discipline of public school child. Parent may request open meeting in writing. </li></ul><ul><li>Deliberations that would reveal “personally identifiable” student information. Parent may request open meeting in writing. </li></ul>
    44. 52. Closed Sessions: Who may attend <ul><li>Members of governmental body. </li></ul><ul><li>Employees of governmental body whose participation is necessary. </li></ul><ul><li>Governmental body’s attorney. </li></ul><ul><li>Cannot allow attendance of person whose interests are adverse to the governmental body. </li></ul>
    45. 53. Civil Remedies <ul><li>An interested person, including a member of the news media, may sue to stop, prevent, or reverse a threatened violation of the OMA. </li></ul><ul><li>Governmental body may be assessed costs of litigation and reasonable attorneys fees. </li></ul>
    46. 54. Criminal Penalties <ul><li>Participation in closed meeting knowing that a certified agenda or tape recording is not being kept is a class C misdemeanor. </li></ul><ul><li>Knowingly disclosing the certified agenda or tape recording of closed meeting is a class B misdemeanor. Damages to persons injured by disclosure also available, along with attorneys fees and exemplary damages. </li></ul>
    47. 55. Criminal Penalties <ul><li>Knowingly calling, aiding or participating in a closed meeting not permitted under the OMA is punishable by a fine up to $500 and a jail term of up to six months. </li></ul><ul><li>Knowingly conspiring to circumvent the OMA by meeting in numbers less than a quorum for the purpose of secret deliberations is punishable by a fine up to $500 and a jail term up to 6 months. </li></ul>
    48. 56. Questions? <ul><li>William L. Banowsky </li></ul><ul><li>Board Certified - Civil Trial Law </li></ul><ul><li>Texas Board of Legal Specialization </li></ul><ul><li>Thompson & Knight, LLP </li></ul><ul><li>1722 Routh Street </li></ul><ul><li>Suite 1500 </li></ul><ul><li>Dallas, Texas 75201 </li></ul><ul><li>214-969-1231 phone </li></ul><ul><li>214-880-3254 fax </li></ul><ul><li>469-569-9402 cell </li></ul>

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