From San Antonio Express: AUSTIN — As the dust settles on the 83rd Texas Legislature, open government advocates are applauding new laws they say leverage evolving technology to increase access and shine light on all levels of government for both residents and officials.
Next month, Texas will become the first state allowing officials at all levels of government in the state to communicate with colleagues between official meetings — which has previously been banned — using an Internet message board maintained by the governing body. The online forum will be accessible to the public and content will be archived for six years and searchable.
Kelley Shannon, executive director of the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas, said the online message boards will benefit residents interested in keeping a close eye on local governments such as school boards and city councils.
“If [public officials] are tempted to have discussions between meetings that they shouldn't be having out of public view, this gives them a way to do it that lets us, the people, in on it,” Shannon said.