Attorney General Defends Open Meetings Act

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott has filed a legal brief defending the Texas Open Meetings Act from a constitutional challenge.

Former Alpine City Council members Avinash Rangra and Anna Monclova mounted the court challenge to penalties the act imposes on government officials for violations. Texas Solicitor General James Ho will defend the law during Sept. 24 arguments before the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

In February 2005, Rangra was indicted on a charge of violating the act by allegedly sending e-mails to a council quorum that involved official government business.

The charge was later dropped, but Rangra and Monclova challenged the open meetings law in federal court, alleging a First Amendment free-speech violation.

Abbott argues in a brief filed Monday that the act supports fundamental First Amendment values.