Texas Legislature passes bill to restore Open Meetings Act

Published 8:00 am Friday, May 31, 2019

To The Leader

AUSTIN, Texas – Last week, Senate Bill 1640, authored by Senator Kirk Watson and sponsored by Representative Dade Phelan, was approved by the Texas legislature and sent to Governor Greg Abbott to sign into law. SB 1640 restores the “walking quorum”, which is a key provision of the Open Meetings Act.

Earlier this year, the Court of Criminal Appeals ruled that the “walking quorum” prohibition was unconstitutionally vague on its face. SB 1640 addresses the Court’s concerns by replacing vague phrases with more precise language designed to capture the same scope of prohibited activities. This legislation will not only address the constitutional concerns but also it will help governmental actors better understand the boundaries of the law.

“It was an honor to work with Senator Watson on this critical pieces of legislation,” Phelan said. “Texans deserve an open and transparent government and I believe that we have restored the

Open Meetings Act to its original intent.”

Representative Phelan is serving his third term in the Texas House of Representatives. He proudly serves House District 21, representing both Jefferson and Orange Counties. He serves as the Chairman of the House Committee on State Affairs.