"In October of 2004, a member of the city council in Alpine, Texas, sent an e-mail to other councilmembers asking if they wanted to place a particular item on a future council agenda. The following day, one of the other councilmembers responded to recipients of the first e-mail, stating that she agreed that the item should be discussed. The local district attorney decided that this e-mail exchange violated the Texas Open Meetings Act (TOMA) because the e-mails ultimately involved a quorum of the city council. As a result, two of the councilmembers were criminally indicted by a grand jury."
-- Texas Municipal League
I can understand why some good people may come to the conclusion that public service just isn't worth the aggravation. The idea behind the Texas Open Meetings Act (TOMA) is good, but it doesn't achieve its purpose. It doesn't drive government deliberations out into the open. It simply squelches them. Not by statute, but by practical effect. Good intentions, unintended consequences.
I know, I know, it sounds like I'm against motherhood and apple pie, against the flag, against good governance and for smoke-filled rooms, but ... after the jump, the case against the Texas Open Meetings Act. Not open meetings, mind you. The law.