City council shrinks window on agenda for comments by public

Q: Our city council cut down on the public comment period in its meetings by restricting the subject matter of comments to items on the meeting agenda. Also, no matter how many people are signed up to speak, the council is limiting the total amount of time allotted for any agenda item to 10 minutes. Are these changes in compliance with the Texas open meetings law and are they somehow tied to the governor’s COVID-19 order?

A fond farewell, debt of gratitude to Ed Sterling

As I write this, TPA is preparing to say goodbye to Ed Sterling after 28 faithful years of service to the Texas Press Association. 
No one who has been involved in TPA any length of time doesn’t know Ed. 
From his weekly legislative update column to putting the Messenger together, there isn’t much within TPA’s walls that Ed hasn’t had a hand in.
Ed is probably one of the few people in the state who reads the Texas Register, the weekly notice from the Secretary of State that includes many changes to the Texas Administrative Code, cover to cover. 

Week of July 27 - 31

Let’s search together for capital ideas

Ed Sterling wrote this column for almost three decades, so let’s open by celebrating his contributions to the Texas Press Association and its members. Ed was the calm, steady voice keeping us informed and interested.

Week of July 20-26, 2020

Department of Defense sends teams to assist hospitals in COVID crisis
AUSTIN — COVID-19 turned aggressive to the point last week that the Department of Defense activated U.S. Army and U.S. Navy medical task force teams and assigned them to Texas at Gov. Greg Abbott's request.

Amid bad news, a permanent solution to a temporary problem

Since fall 2018, 300 more U.S. newspapers have disappeared, bringing the number over the last 15 years to 2,100. That’s almost 25% of the 9,000 newspapers that were published in 2005.
That’s one upshot of “News Deserts and Ghost Newspapers: Will Local News Survive?,” a report published June 25 by Penelope Muse Abernathy of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

In these days of unrest, we must examine our relationships with our communities

None of us are blind to racial injustice in America. Currently, most of us are involved in covering protests against that injustice whether we are the smallest of weeklies or the largest of dailies, because these protests are happening everywhere in our state. 
This brings up, for newspapers, the delicate issues of race and our collective past that we must be prepared to address when our communities and our readers ask us to be accountable for such things.