Texas Bill Would Allow Online Government Meetings

AUSTIN (March 7, 2013)--Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott and state Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin, are promoting a bill that would allow elected bodies to hold open meetings online.

Watson introduced Senate Bill 1297 on Thursday.

The attorney general is responsible for enforcing open meeting laws, and he says the bill will make elected officials more efficient.

Under the Open Meetings Act, a quorum of elected officials cannot meet and discuss public business without inviting the public.

Watson, a former Austin City Council member, said the rule slows down decision-making.

The bill would allow public officials to hold electronic meetings using an Internet chat room that the public could monitor live. But officials could still only vote at an official, public meeting.

The electronic conversations would be archived for future review.

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