Rep. Todd Hunter named Open Government Lawmaker of the Year

AUSTIN — Rep. Todd Hunter, who has authored legislation to improve public access to government and protect First Amendment rights, is receiving the Open Government Lawmaker of the Year Award from the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas.

Hunter, R-Corpus Christi, is chairman of the House Calendars Committee. He served in the House from 1989-97 and returned in 2009. He has long been an advocate for open government. Hunter will receive the award during the FOI Foundation’s annual conference Aug. 9 in Austin.

During the 83rd Legislature this year, Hunter worked to modernize the Texas Public Information Act to reflect the widespread use of electronic devices. He also passed legislation that encourages retractions and corrections in defamation claims involving published or broadcast reports and passed legislation clarifying appeal protections for whistleblowers, journalists and others who are subjected to lawsuits attempting to stifle free speech.

“Since his return to the Legislature in 2009, Chairman Hunter’s dedication to open government has been unsurpassed in the House. He has strongly defended and expanded the free speech rights of Texas citizens through passage of seminal laws in this arena each of the last three sessions,” said Laura Prather, former president of the FOI Foundation and co-chair of its legislative committee.

Hunter is dedicated to government transparency and accountability, Prather said, and is not swayed by governmental agencies or officials when it comes to ensuring the public has access to information and that there is independent oversight of government spending and actions.

“I believe in supporting open government and protecting free speech rights of the public,” Hunter said about receiving the award.

For FOIFT conference information go to http://www.foift.org/ or call 512-377-1575.

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The Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation dedicated to enhancing the public’s right to know about government and other public entities. The organization is supported by tax-deductible donations, as well as grants from foundations and private citizens. More information is available at www.foift.org. The Freedom of Information Foundation’s main offices are at 3001 N. Lamar Blvd., Suite 302 in Austin, Texas 78705.