Texas Government Code section 551.005 imposes a mandatory educational requirement on members of a governmental body subject to the Open Meetings Act. The training requirement applies to all elected or appointed officials who participate in meetings subject to the Act, but it does not apply to public officials who do not conduct business in meetings subject to the Act, including, for example, law enforcement officials, auditors, or county clerks. These types of officials are not statutorily required to complete training under the Open Meetings Act.
The law requires that those members subject to the Act complete training within 90 days of taking the oath of office or otherwise assuming the responsibilities of office, and the training must include information regarding:
- The general background of the legal requirements for open meetings;
- The applicability of the Open Meetings Act to governmental bodies;
- Procedures and requirements regarding quorums, notice, and recordkeeping under the Act;
- Procedures and requirements for holding an open meeting and for holding a closed meeting under the Act; and
- Penalties and other consequences for failure to comply with the Act.
The Office of the Attorney General’s training video includes information on each of these elements and satisfies the requirements imposed by section 551.005. Upon completion of the training video, a public official may obtain a course completion certificate by following the directions on the video. The certificate must be maintained by the member’s governmental body and made available for public inspection upon request.
In addition to providing this training video, the Office of the Attorney General is authorized to review and approve custom course materials created by other entities to provide training under section 551.005 of the Open Meetings Act. Applicants seeking approval of their custom open government training course must complete an online application and submit copies of their training course materials to the Office of the Attorney General for review. The online application is available here and is only for those who have created custom course materials to train others. If you would like to take the Office of the Attorney General’s provided training or print course completion certificates, please see above.