Texting while lawmaking could soon be Illegal - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Texting while lawmaking could soon be Illegal

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Potter County Commissioner Joe Kirkwood Potter County Commissioner Joe Kirkwood
Amarillo City Commissioner Ron Boyd Amarillo City Commissioner Ron Boyd

Elise Preston
NewsChannel 10

AMARILLO, TX - Texting while lawmaking could soon be illegal in Texas. If passed, House Bill 2977 would ban public officials from transmitting electronic messages during public meetings. That includes, e-mails, text messages and facebook posts.

Potter County Commissioner Joe Kirkwood believes in the Texas Open Meetings Act. It has strict guidelines, insuring  public business is done in public, but he says the proposed ban on electronic media for public officials during public meetings, is over the top.

"Certainly I  think congress needs to look at  the budget problems rather than taking up frivolous issues like this" said  Kirkwood

Amarillo City Commissioner, Ron Boyd says, personal computers are not used in Amarillo City Commission meetings and all involved turn off their phones. However, he tells us, the proposed law could help boards across the state conduct public business the right way.

"If there not doing what they are supposed to be doing and doing it correctly, it doesn't hurt to say here." said Boyd.

According to Canyon City Attorney Chuck Hester, the proposed bill is too broad, and doesn't make sense. He feels state lawmakers should place the ban specifically between public officials.
He says the current proposal imposes on the personal lives of those serving their community.

"These members are volunteers, they have families, they are giving up personal time. It's a little much to also subject themselves to a penalty responding to a text from a spouse or a child." said Hester.