The Texas Open Meetings Act is a state law that requires government meetings to be held publicly unless expressly authorized as closed meetings, according to the Open Meetings Handbook. In addition, all government-related topics are to only be discussed when a majority of the body is present, the handbook says.
“The Williamson County Commissioners Court supports the principles of an open and transparent government, allowing taxpayers the ability to monitor deliberations, decisions and spending of the Court, while also providing opportunity for public comment,” the resolution said.
Precinct 1 Commissioner Terry Cook brought the agenda item up for discussion during a March 19 meeting. It was tabled to clarify terminology in the resolution.
Cook said she wanted to make clear to Williamson County residents through the resolution that the commissioners have been and will continue to be transparent in the decisions they make.
The Open Meetings Act took a hit in February after a Texas court struck down a provision that prevents officials from having government-related discussions due to the language being “unconstitutionally vague.”
Bipartisan bills to counter the ruling were filed in the Texas 86th Legislature on March 6.
“We will try to keep all business right here, open on video in public,” Cook said during the March 19 meeting. “It’s a little awkward sometimes when you have to do your discussions in public, but it’s something we ought to do.”
In other business:
- The court declared April 2 as April Pools Day in a resolution. The recognition aims to bring awareness to water safety in Williamson County. In Texas so far, eight children have drowned, said Jessica Brown, program director for Colin’s Hope, an organization that raises water safety awareness. In 2018, there were more than 90 water-related fatalities involving children in Texas, Brown said.
- The court also appointed K.C. Bumpas of Round Rock, and Cathy Hord of Jarrell, to the Williamson County Child Welfare Board. The term is for three years and will run until September 2022.