IMF H.B. 1051 75(R)BILL ANALYSIS STATE AFFAIRS H.B. 1051 By: Gutierrez 4-19-97 Committee Report (Unamended) BACKGROUND The Texas Open Meetings Act currently allows governmental bodies to deliberate real estate transactions (discussions regarding the purchase, exchange, lease or value of land) in closed meetings. The rationale behind this exception is based on the fact that open discussions of how much a governmental body would be willing to buy or sell property would put them at a negotiating disadvantage. Otherwise, a city or county could "telegraph its punch," to the detriment of taxpayers. While the exception was not intended to be used as a blank check to cut private deals without public input or debate, recent actions by the University of Texas-Pan American and the Edinburg Independent School District have raised the question of whether or not the exception is a good idea when all parties to a transaction are governmental bodies. PURPOSE This bill removes the open meetings exception for real estate transactions if both parties to the transaction are governmental bodies. RULEMAKING AUTHORITY It is the committee's opinion that this bill does not expressly grant any additional rulemaking authority to a state officer, department, agency or institution. SECTION BY SECTION ANALYSIS SECTION 1. Amends Title 5, Chapter 551, Government Code, by adding Sec. 551.072(b) that would remove the real estate transaction exception to the open meetings law if each party to the proposed transaction is a governmental body. SECTION 2. Effective date: September 1, 1997. A meeting is considered to have been conducted before September 1, 1997 if any part of the meeting was conducted before that date. SECTION 3. Emergency clause.