AUSTIN — Prominent Texas legislators urged Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas conference attendees Friday to remain vigilant in their open government and free speech advocacy.
Rep. Todd Hunter, R-Corpus Christi, who received the organization’s inaugural Open Government Lawmaker of the Year Award, said he was raised in a family that valued free speech and noted that many elected officials support open government and First Amendment rights.
The keynote speaker, Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, told the crowd that some open government gains were made by this year’s Legislature, but that more work remains to be done. Government must be open and clear, and an informed public is powerful, said Davis, vice chair of the Senate Open Government Committee.
Davis and Hunter in separate speeches at the daylong conference praised journalists and open government advocates for their work.
Other speakers at the FOIFT annual meeting included Sen. Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, who told of her numerous efforts to obtain records in higher education governance, and freshman Rep. Giovanni Capriglione, R-Southlake, who explained his own public access efforts before and since his election to the Texas House. Several journalists and public interest activists also participated in the day’s panel discussions.