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Rep. Canales supports creation of Texas legislative panel to improve governments’ transparency and accountability to citizens

Rep. Canales supports creation of Texas legislative panel to improve governments’ transparency and accountability to citizens

Featured: Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, with his wife, Erica, on Wednesday, October 4, 2017, prior to the House District 40 state legislator addressing the Edinburg Rotary Club on various issues that affect his constituents.

Photograph By ALEX RÍOS

Texans deserve more power to know what their governments are doing, says Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, who has formally asked Speaker of the House Joe Straus, R-San Antonio, to create a special House-Senate legislative panel to improve transparency and accountability to citizens. Canales, the House District 40 state lawmaker from Hidalgo County, during his career in the Texas Legislature has authored, sponsored, and voted for legislation designed to strengthen public knowledge about the actions of local and state governments, before, during, and after such efforts by those public entities take place. “I have a proven track record of fighting for open-government legislation during my five years as a state lawmaker, through carrying measures that bear my name, and through my work in House committees and on the floor of the House of Representatives, where I have always spoken in favor and voted for dozens of measures that protect the people’s right to know about what our local and state governments are doing in our name with our public resources,” said Canales. In general, open-government is a set of beliefs that all government business should be open to regulation and scrutiny by the public. The Texas Public Information Act and the Texas Open Meetings Act are the two most powerful sets of laws in the state regarding public disclosure of actions of local and state governments. During the recently-concluded 85th Regular Session of the Texas Legislature, which was held from January through May 2017, Canales authored one of the few proposals dealing with open government and public information that became state law. As of September 1, 2017, as a result of Canales’ House Bill 214, the Texas Supreme Court and the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals – the highest courts in the state – are required to dramatically improve the ability of the public to see what is going on in the two Austin-based powerful trial courts. “Recording and broadcasting courtroom proceedings can promote transparency and allow the public to evaluate the efficacy of the judicial system,” explained Canales. “To increase the public’s access to the judicial branch, H.B. 214 builds upon previous policies by requiring the Texas Supreme Court and the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals to make video recordings of their oral arguments, and any open meeting the courts have, and publish the recordings on their respective websites.” The Texas Supreme Court is the state’s highest court for civil matters, and the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals is the state’s highest court for criminal matters.  

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Open Government Seminar, available to the public, set for Thursday, June 9, at McAllen Chamber of Commerce, announces Rep. Canales

Open Government Seminar, available to the public, set for Thursday, June 9, at McAllen Chamber of Commerce, announces Rep. Canales

Featured, from left: Harvey Rodríguez, Jr., Vice-President, Board of Directors, Edinburg Economic Development Corporation, and Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, at Canales’ District Office in Edinburg on Monday, December 14, 2015.

Photograph By MARK MONTEMAYOR

An Open Government seminar, offered by the Office of the Texas Attorney General and the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas, will take place on Thursday, June 9, 2016 at the McAllen Chamber of Commerce, 1200 Ash Avenue, Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, has announced. “Access to public records gives our citizens the opportunity to participate in public life, help set priorities, and hold their governments accountable. A free flow of information can be an important tool for building trust between a government and its citizens. Public access to our government’s work is a fundamental human right,” said Canales. “Democracies die behind closed doors. The First Amendment, through a free press, protects the people’s right to know that their government acts fairly, lawfully, and accurately.”

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Annual audit, deliberations for key projects, on agenda for noon session on Tuesday, March 22, by the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation

Photograph By DIEGO REYNA

Featured: City Councilmember Homer Jasso, Jr. in the Council Chamber of Edinburg City Hall on Monday, February 8, 2016, during a joint work session of the Edinburg City Council and the Hidalgo County Commissioners Court on the proposed $150 million Hidalgo County Courthouse, which will be built in Edinburg.

Photograph By DIEGO REYNA

The results of an annual audit, which help ensure citizens that public entities are properly managing government programs and services, regarding the fiscal year 2014-2015 activities of the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation, will be presented at Edinburg City Hall on Tuesday, March 22, 2016. The audit, along with several other key items, are part of the regular monthly meeting of the EEDC Board of Directors. The session, which will be held in the Council Chamber, begins at noon. It also will be televised live on the Edinburg Cable Network. The EEDC is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg Mayor and Edinburg City Council.

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Proposed law to prevent Texas governments from keeping secret any expenditure paid for with tax funds will be filed by Rep. Terry Canales

Photograph By MARK MONTEMAYOR

Featured: Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, addressing the Public Affairs Luncheon, sponsored by the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce and the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation on Thursday, January 21, 2016 at the Edinburg Conference Center at Renaissance.

Photograph By MARK MONTEMAYOR

A proposed law that would prevent Texas governments from approving contracts whose payments are secret will be filed in 2017 by Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, who said he is a strong champion of the people’s right to know. Canales said Texas governments – from school districts to state universities and agencies – should not be allowed to keep secret any expenditures paid for with tax funds.

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