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Jun 12

June 12, 2020 TML Coronavirus Update #63

Posted on June 12, 2020 at 11:35 AM by TML Staff

Urgent Updates


I thought there wasn’t going to be an update today so we could take a break for TGIF and enjoy the beautiful Texas summer weekend?


We thought so too! But we received so many inquiries about the Open Meetings Act suspensions that we need to report on the next question early today for those cities that are posting agendas for next week’s meetings. Maybe we’ll skip next Friday to make up for it.


What is the status of the suspended Open Meetings Act provisions?


Yesterday (June 11), the governor’s office extended the Open Meetings Act suspensions. Previously, on March 16, the governor granted the office of the attorney general’s request for suspension of certain open meeting statutes. The temporary suspension allows, among other things, for telephonic or videoconference meetings of governmental bodies that are accessible to the public in an effort to reduce in-person meetings that assemble large groups of people. The guidance associated with the suspension provides that:


“These suspensions are in effect until terminated by the office of the governor, or until the March 13, 2020, disaster declaration is lifted or expires.”


The March 13 declaration has been extended for successive 30-day periods, including yesterday’s extension for 30 days. That means the relevant open meetings laws remain suspended for at least another 30 days (or until affirmatively rescinded). 


The governor’s disaster declaration extensions have typically been posted on his website under “News” or “Proclamation” on the evening the previous declaration expires. His office didn’t do that this time, even though the declaration was officially filed at 11:00 a.m. yesterday. That caused many city officials to question whether he had ordered an extension at all. However, the declaration was posted on the Texas Legislative Reference Library’s website. That site is an alternative place for interested city officials to look in the future.


We can’t be certain, but it is highly likely that the governor will continue to repeatedly extend his declarations. We’ve heard from his staff that they have no immediate plans to rescind the suspensions, which are sensible and seem to be working well, but that can’t be guaranteed.


Further Updates


What information does TML have for cities as they start to prepare for the upcoming budget year?


TML has developed a special-edition, mid-year fiscal conditions survey to help cities navigate the upcoming budget planning process. With an unexpected public health crisis and an economic recession, most cities will have to make difficult decisions over the next coming months. Survey questions center on current budget shortfalls, as well as the anticipated impact on next year budgets.


The full text of the survey is available here, but we prefer that you complete it online.


We ask that one official from each city complete the survey no later than Friday, June 19. Please contact JJ Rocha with questions at or 512-705-3912. 


Where can I find archived issues of the TML Coronavirus Updates?


TML Coronavirus Updates are archived by date here and by subject here.