Some public officials confused over new law allowing public comment at meetings

By Steve Miller
The Texas Monitor
Originally published Nov. 7, 2019

The Amarillo City Council once tried to ban clapping at its meetings, then decided to start meeting at 7 a.m., a move some local critics claimed was done to reduce public input. Finally, last year, the council moved all public comments to a work session an hour before the regular meeting.

In South Texas, Hidalgo County commissioners and the city councils of Pharr, Mercedes and Donna elected to completely halt public comment at meetings.

So did the City of McAllen, where council members claimed that someone could get sued over remarks made by citizens.

Such actions paved the way for the Texas Legislature this year to pass a law requiring that all local governments allow public comment before votes are taken on agenda items. Read the full story here.