transparency Transparency Stars

Open Government and Compliance Guidelines

The idea of open and transparent governance in the United States has its roots in our desire to be governed by a representative and accountable body of lawmakers.

Consistent with this line of thought, Texas’ Open Meetings Act was designed with clear and concise guidelines dedicated to articulating the rights of Texans to redress grievances with their governing officials. For any governing body, demonstrated compliance with transparency reporting mandates represents good faith efforts by administrations regarding holding elected and appointed officials accountable to their constituency. For the purposes of this award only meetings of the entity’s Primary Governing Body will be evaluated for compliance with the criteria, however you can include additional public streamed meetings as part of your archives.

Your entity cannot require any form of credentials, login or sign up to view/listen to streaming meetings or to access qualifying video/audio hosted on your website, or on any third-party website or social media outlet which live streams or archives your governing body’s meetings. This does not apply to your internal procedures regulating citizen engagement with your governing body. Instructions on how to submit public comments or to address the assemblage should be clearly articulated and posted in their entirety.

Open Government and Compliance Summary

Your entity should post to the web a summary and narrative overview including the following items:

  • Names of all governing body board or commission members to include presiding chair.
  • Number of scheduled meetings per calendar year with frequency (weekly, monthly, quarterly, etc.)
  • Process for board or commission appointment or election including application and process of submission.
  • Explanation of the timeframe for when meetings are posted as a video, streaming or audio to the webpage upon completion. Must be posted no later than 72 hours or three complete business days after meeting has concluded.
  • Statement that all meetings will be available to the public for a minimum of 365 days after meeting is posted. This should include instructions on how to request copies of video or audio files if hosted internally.
  • Name, phone number and email of board or commission point of contact or liaison.
  • You may wish to include additional data that provide context reflective of standards or conventions particular to your entity type. You may use the optional Open Government and Compliance Form (PDF) to complete this section.


Post visualizations to your transparency page showing the following:

  • Organization chart of your entity including all divisions, supervisors and full-time positions. Names are optional.
  • Meeting calendar with all scheduled meetings’ date, time and location for in person meetings or video conferences. Calendar must be updated monthly, yearly, etc., as applicable.

You may wish to include additional visualizations that provide context reflective of standards or conventions particular to your entity type. See the sidebar for templates you may use to create required visualizations. The visualizations must be posted on the page itself and must be — like all the required information on the transparency page or section — easy to view and interpret.


Post the following documents for easy download:

Video or Streaming Data

Make the following available for streaming or download on demand:

  • Live transmission or streams of all public primary governing body meetings as they occur.
  • Searchable archive or listing of all public primary governing body meetings for the last 90 days available for download or streaming.

Both audio and visual meetings are acceptable as downloads. Videos hosted on an external website (e.g., Facebook or YouTube) must include descriptions on how to obtain a copy from your entity. Login credentials cannot be required as a condition for viewing or requesting archived materials. You may wish to include archived or streaming meetings of related boards or commissions as applicable.

Other Information

Your transparency site should also include a link to or copy of all transparency reports applicable to your entity. All reports must be from the most recently completed reporting year.

  • Schools and Community College Districts:
    • Local Government Debt Report.
    • Eminent Domain Report (as applicable).
    • Special Purpose District Report.
    • Pertinent Local Election Campaign Finance Report.
  • Cities and Counties:
    • Local Government Debt Report.
    • Eminent Domain Report (as applicable).
    • Hotel Occupancy Tax Report.
    • Sheriff and Constable Fees (counties only).
    • Pertinent Local Election Campaign Finance Report.
  • Special Purpose Districts:
    • Special Purpose District Report.
    • Local Government Debt Report.
    • Eminent Domain Report (as applicable).