Breaking…TWDB Violating Texas Open Meeting Laws

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The people of Texas have a vital interest in water.  Yet, the Texas Water Development Board is, in essence, holding a secret meeting—what they call a "unique opportunity" available only to their invited presenters and those who pay $525 to attend--to set their course on water allocation issues.  If there was ever an issue where transparency should rule and dissenting opinions ought to be heard, it is the big issue of water.

Attorney and Texas open government expert Bill Aleshire, issued a warning letter to TWDB on behalf of the League of Independent Voters (LIV) late Sunday afternoon. LIV is demanding the TWDB follow the Texas Open Meetings Act by allowing the public into this public event at no charge. Contact us if you'd like to attend this event on Tuesday or Wednesday AND..

Most important! Plan to join us on a statewide conference call this coming Wednesday night at 8 pm. Call instructions below:

Call your Dial-In Number: (515) 739-1544
Enter your Access Code: 276555

For Immediate Release                                                            January 23, 2017

League of Independent Voters of Texas Claims Texas Water Development Board
in Violation of Texas Open Meetings Act

The people of Texas have a vital interest in Water.  Yet, the Texas Water Development Board is, in essence, holding a secret meeting--what

they call a "unique opportunity" available only to their invited presenters and those who pay $525 to attend--to set their course on water allocation issues.  If there was ever an issue where transparency should rule and dissenting opinions ought to be heard, it is the big issue of Water.

The Texas Water Development Board, the state agency responsible for water planning, and financial and technical assistance services to the citizens of Texas, is holding a “closed meeting” in violation of six sections of the Texas Open Meetings Act (TOMA), according to the non-profit League of Independent Voters of Texas (LIV). LIV members are active in water planning and preservation in Central Texas, and, along with other interested persons, desired to attend the Water for Texas 2017 meeting being hosted by TWDB on January 23-25, 2017, only to discover that the meeting is not open to the public unless they pay $525.

Attorney and Texas open government expert Bill Aleshire issued this warning letter to TWDB on behalf of LIV late Sunday afternoon, stating:

“Upon review of the information available on the TWDB website about this meeting, it appears to me that it constitutes a violation of the Texas Open Meetings Act (TOMA), Tex. Gov’t Code sections 551.002 (open meetings requirement); 551.023 (right of attendee to record the meeting); 551.041, 551.044, and 551.048 (meeting notice requirements); 551.144 (closed meeting criminal offense).”

Further, Aleshire suggested the following remedy:

“We encourage the TWDB to reconsider the way this event is being handled and, at a minimum, announce that the meeting is open to any member of the public who desires to attend and exercise their rights provided by the Texas Open Meetings Act.”

LIV Board member Michele Gangnes is a landowner and attorney who has fought for the last seventeen years to protect the coveted Simsboro formation of the Carrizo-Wilcox aquifer underlying Lee, Burleson, Milam and Bastrop counties. Gangnes said,

“This event is an extension of the way the public was treated during the interim session by State Senator Charles Perry, reappointed by Lt. Governor Dan Patrick to chair the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Water and Rural Affairs. Those most personally affected by the battles over groundwater were rebuffed when they requested the opportunity to testify with other invited witnesses at Perry’s interim committee hearings. Now those same rural landowners who want both to conserve the groundwater they own and protect our aquifers from being drained by profiteers, to the detriment of all Texans, are effectively excluded once again. TWDB’s high dollar event will provide access to decision-makers by those same water purveyors, municipalities and special interests already favored by Senator Perry.”

LIV Board member, Samantha Davis, of Cedar Park said,

“Rural landowners and suburbanites have common interests. We cannot allow slick special interests to sip champagne and deal away what belongs to us. These big shots want to drain our wallets as dry as they want to drain the aquifers. Folks must have access to meetings. That’s the law.”

The Water for Texas conference, hosted by TWDB, features two statewide officials, Lt. Governor Dan Patrick and Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar and five members of the Texas Senate and House. Additional participants include Texas Tribune CEO Evan Smith and a host of leaders from business, large-scale agriculture, local government and environmentalists. Noticeably missing are representatives of small farming interests and those who opposed the Constitutional Amendment known as Proposition 6 on the 2013 statewide ballot. Prop 6 set up a funding mechanism, run by the new Governor-appointed, paid TWDB Board, for financing the billions of dollars worth of projects in the state water plan.

For more information:

LIV Office: 512-213-4511

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4 comments

  1. I am with you all the way, and while I am unable to attend, know that I am with you in the cause.

    On a similar note, please be informed that the Sunday, January 15, 2017 San Antonio Express-News had a front page article citing the disgusting pollution of Westside San Antonio Creeks, such as the San Pedro, Alazan, and others that flow into the San Antonio River. These creeks not only contain industrial chemicals, but have an overabundance of E.coli bacteria from both animal and human fecal matter, plus the areas surrounding these creeks are crime ridden to the nth degree.

    Though I addressed this issue to the American Rivers, a national organization for old dam removal and pollution of more commonly known rivers across the United States, I still have not heard word back from them, though they are opposing the nomination of newly inaugurated President Trump’s director. While I have noted my opposition to their stance on the nominee, I still feel they are more self-promoting than concerned with a major problem in the San Antonio area.

    1. It’s tomorrow and Tuesday. We had a little victory today in getting TWDB to agree to open the conference to the public.

      Read this post we just finished and are emailing out now:

  2. Why is it that politicians don’t suffer from more respiratory diseases? It seems like every thing they do is from smoke filled rooms.

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