AUSTIN _ First Amendment and open government advocates will address court access, social media usage and updates to public records laws when the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas hosts its state conference Sept. 12.
This year’s conference, “A Road Map to Open Government,” takes place at the Hilton Austin and includes speakers and attendees from throughout Texas.
“It’s an opportunity for Texans who are devoted to open government – whether at the state Capitol, city hall or the courts – to come together to learn and exchange ideas,” said Kelley Shannon, executive director of the FOI Foundation of Texas. “We adhere to the principle put forth by our nation’s founders that the people’s participation in democracy is paramount, and citizens need access to participate.”
Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson is keynote speaker for the conference’s John Henry Faulk Awards Luncheon, where the non-profit FOI Foundation presents the James Madison Award to a First Amendment champion and the State Bar of Texas presents its Gavel Awards to outstanding journalists.
Rep. Todd Hunter, chairman of the Texas House Calendars Committee, will participate in a panel discussion on updates to the Texas Public Information Act.
Other conference panelists are Travis County Court At Law Judge Elisabeth Earle; Tarrant County District Attorney Joe Shannon; First Amendment attorneys Bill Aleshire and Joel White; assistant attorney general and open records division chief Amanda Crawford; University of Texas new media expert Robert Quigley; Texas A&M Transportation Institute researcher Steven Polunsky; and reporters Peggy Fikac of the San Antonio Express-News and Terri Langford of the Texas Tribune.
Registration for the daylong conference, including the luncheon, is $110 until Aug. 29. Then the price increases to $125. The luncheon only cost is $75. For the full agenda and to register go to the activities and programs page of www.foift.org or contact the FOI Foundation at 512-377-1575.