​Texas counties are committed to common sense transparency.

Transparency in government decisions, deliberations and information is a cornerstone of citizen participation. Texas counties are committed to this principle, abiding by open meetings and public information laws.

County government works to promote and achieve this transparency every day. While state legislative efforts to improve transparency are often well-intentioned, they do not always reflect the capabilities and needs of local communities.

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Key Points

  • Texas counties are committed to transparency in government decisions, deliberations and information.
  • County governments must abide by the state’s open meetings and public information laws.
  • County governments abide by strict transparent procedures set by statute when setting tax rates, including requirements that they hold certain hearings, utilize specific language, and draft and post certain notices.
  • Counties often create transparency measures beyond state requirements based on local community needs.
  • Many changes proposed in recent legislative sessions would have a limited effect on transparency, and add an undue burden on local entities. County and state officials should work together to ensure that any proposed statewide policy does not deter real improvement in transparency.

Related Articles

New law could change citizen comment procedures at some government meetings in Texas

Community Impact Newspaper, Sept. 24, 2019


In September, a bill passed by the 86th Texas Legislature went into effect allowing each member of the public who wants to address a governmental body to provide comment at an open meeting before or during consideration of that item...

County asks state to waive Open Meetings Act during times of crisis

Fort Bend Herald, Apr. 5, 2019


Precinct 3 county Commissioner Andy Meyers told a state House committee this week he supports legislation that would allow county judges and commissioners to communicate during a disaster without a quorum of Commissioners Court...

Our view: 'Walking quorum' loophole must be closed

Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, Mar. 11, 2019


It did not take long for a Texas Court of Criminal Appeals ruling that struck down the so-called “walking quorum” portion of the Open Meetings Act to evoke swift action on behalf of open government from the state legislature...

Testing that text message as a public record

Denton Record-Chronicle, Mar. 10, 2019


Some elected officials text or use other instant messaging services, such as Facebook Messenger — even during public and closed meetings. It can be a quiet, reliable way to get a short message to a family member or co-worker, or to communicate...

Greg Abbott tells state agencies to continue to "follow the spirit" of Texas' open meetings law

The Texas Tribune, Feb. 28, 2019


A day earlier, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals struck down a provision of the law that makes it a crime for public officials to deliberate privately in small groups...

Texas court blows a hole in state's Open Meetings Act

Houston Chronicle, Feb. 27, 2019


The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals on Wednesday struck down a key provision of the state’s Open Meetings Act, finding the section that makes it a crime for government officials to meet secretly to discuss the public’s business is “unconstitutionally vague..."