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Beaumont council passes resolution supporting TOMA

The Beaumont city council unanimously passed a resolution Feb. 16 in support of the Texas Open Meetings Act.

The resolution comes after the council had considered and rejected in January joining the federal lawsuit filed in December by four Texas cities that challenges the constitutionality of the TOMA.

The Beaumont resolution said the TOMA ?embodies our fundamental commitment to open and accessible government? and acknowledges the criminal provisions within the Act.

It is the first resolution passed by a city acknowledging the criminal provisions as necessary to enforcement of the Act.

The resolution praises TOMA as ?a means of promoting open government at all levels.?

Councilmember Nancy Beaulieu, wife of former TAB Chairman Larry Beaulieu of KFDM-TV, initiated the council?s consideration of the resolution.

Earlier this month, the Texas Attorney General?s office filed a motion seeking to strike the cities that are part of the federal lawsuit.

Attorney General Greg Abbott filed a 10-page motion in federal court in Pecos to dismiss Alpine, Pflugerville, Rockport and Wichita Falls from the case because, as ?creatures of the state? cities ?may not assert constitutional claims against the state."

Those cities and 15 elected state officials filed a lawsuit in December arguing that the act violates the First Amendment by barring elected officials from speaking in public or private about public issues.

Read more about this issue in the February TABulletin.

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