Digital disconnect is warranted
AUSTIN – When written, passed and signed into law in the 1970s, there was no way of knowing that one day communications devices that easily fit into the palm of a hand could be used to circumvent the Texas Open Meetings Act. If state Rep. Todd Hunter, R-Corpus Christi, has his way, public officials who text, email, send instant messages or post on the Internet during public meetings would be committing a crime. Hunter told the American-Statesman’s Tim Eaton that he doesn’t “think you should be communicating in a public setting with private interests, telling you how to vote, telling you how to think, telling you how to speak without that being open access to the public.” Then there’s another and much more obvious breech that handheld communications devices facilitate: “It’s discourteous if you’re conducting business on a cellular phone or BlackBerry when somebody’s coming in to testify. You need to be focused on those people,” Hunter said. Amen to that.