County, City and other public meetings have a new requirement as of September 1st. All of these must include and allow for public comment. The change comes with Texas HB 2840 signed by Governor Greg Abbott in May of this year.
The law states that the governing body must allow for each member of the public who desires to address the body regarding an item on an agenda for an open meeting be given an opportunity to address them before or during the consideration of the item. It also states that the governing body can set reasonable guidelines regarding the public’s right to address the issue. This can include setting a time limit to the amount of time the person has to voice their concerns.
More importantly, the act states that the governing body may not prohibit criticism of the governmental body, an act or omission.
Several local entities have removed public comments from their normal agenda unless there is a request from the public previously confirmed. At the last commission meeting, this past Tuesday, the agenda did not have the item listed which could be a violation since the act took effect on September 1st.
We look forward to seeing if there are any changes to the next agendas.