Rep. Cason successfully passes his HB 2969 as an amendment

April 20, 2021

AUSTIN, TEXAS – Representative Jeff Cason successfully passed the language of his House Bill 2969 as an amendment to another bill on the House floor, today. Cason’s House Bill 2969 would have amended the Open Meetings Act to allow for a person attending a public meeting to stream live video and audio of the meeting on the internet.

The Open Meetings Act (TOMA) was Codified in 1993 as Chapter 551 of the Government Code. Over the years, TOMA has received several revisions to stay fully relevant to the changing environment of media and modern technology.  Under current law, individuals attending a public meeting may record, but are not specifically permitted by the code to live-stream a meeting in progress on the internet.

Rep. Cason’s bill would specifically permit such live-streaming by an attendee. It was referred to the House Committee on State Affairs, chaired by Rep. Chris Paddie (R) of Harris County. However, it was never given a public hearing in the committee. Nonetheless, Rep. Cason found an avenue to pass his legislation, by teaming up with Rep. Terry Canales (D) of Hidalgo County.

Rep. Canales filed HB 2683, a bill that would also make changes to the Open Meetings Act. This provided the perfect vehicle for the language of Rep. Cason’s bill to be added on as an amendment.

“It is time to update the Open Meetings Act to fully meet the demands of modern technology and to ensure that Texans have the ability to keep these meetings transparent and accessible to everyone,” Rep. Cason said. “I am grateful to Rep. Canales and the rest of the House for accepting my amendment to this bill.”

Rep. Cason’s amendment was accepted by Rep. Canales with no opposition from the rest of the Texas House, with the amended HB 2683 being passed by the Texas House unanimously.