San Antonio

Political apparel at polls: Will Supreme Court ruling affect Texas law?

On June 14, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a Minnesota law prohibiting voters from wearing political badges, buttons or other apparel in polling places. In Minnesota Voters Alliance v. Mansky, the Court held by a 7-2 majority that the apparel ban violated the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment. The case stems from the November 2010 election, in which voters were prevented from wearing such things as a button with the text "Please I.D. Me" and a T-shirt with a Tea Party Patriots logo and the language "Don't Tread on Me."

The Texas Election Code also prohibit voters from wearing certain things to the polls on election day. Specifically, Texas voters are not allowed to wear "a badge, insignia, emblem, or other similar communicative device relating to a candidate, measure, or political party appearing on the ballot, or to the conduct of the election" either in the polling place or within 100 feet of the any entrance to the building housing the polling place. Could the Texas law be affected by the Supreme Court ruling?

Can public meetings occur over social media?

Transparency in government and the public process has been the goal of the Texas Open Meetings Act since it was adopted in 1967. The Act requires state and local government entities to ensure that the public can access and participate in many aspects of the decision-making process. New technologies and the widespread use of social media, however, have dramatically changed how both government officials and the public communicate, raising questions about communication over social media could affect the public process.

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