July 5, 2017 - In honor of our Founding Fathers and in the ongoing effort to maintain transparency in the great State of Texas, today we filed Amy Hedtke's Plaintiff's Original Petition for Writ of Mandamus and Request for Injunction based on the Open Meetings Act and the Texas Constitution's guarantee of Freedom of the Press.
The suit was filed in the 201st District Court of Travis County, and you can read it here: Plaintiff's Original Petition.
As previously detailed here, the suit is based on the illegal no-recording rule that Byron Cook employs in his committee hearings.
The next step is to talk to the court and ask for the temporary injunction against Rep. Cook to prevent him from disobeying the Open Meetings Act, a law for which he voted, and in which no exemption from the law is provided to the Texas House of Representatives.
Rep. Cook and his ilk can be expected to defend their behavior by arguing that the Texas Constitution gives them the right to govern their own behavior, irrespective of state law, based on Section 11 of Article 3, which states:
"Each House may determine the rules of its own proceedings, punish members for disorderly conduct, and, with the consent of two-thirds, expel a member, but not a second time for the same offense."
The Texas House voted for the Open Meetings Act. To our knowledge, they've never voted as an organization to allow committee chairman to make whatever rules they want regarding committee meetings and hearings, such as institute a blanket ban to prevent video livestreaming by the unwashed citizen activists who seek to broadcast the behavior of those running the show. (And for the record, Ms. Hedtke was never accused of disorderly conduct.)
Norred Law is not aware of any good reason for Rep. Cook to oppose livestreaming of his work in the State Affair's Committee...if he's honorably doing the people's work.
For those who wish to donate to the cause, go here.
And of course, if you have suggestions regarding this legal matter, it's important that these documents be the best we can make them. Your helpful ideas are welcome.