Several sources offer information on tobacco, alcohol advertising

Q: I am new to Texas and want to check on laws regarding the advertising of alcohol and tobacco products in print and online that are specific to tobacco barns and liquor stores. 

A: First, here is a link to a list of laws affecting advertising in the Texas Alcoholic Beverage code:

http://texaspress.com/legal-notice-laws

(Click “Alcoholic Beverage” to view the short list of laws.)

Second, another good resource is the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission marketing practices link:

https://www.tabc.state.tx.us/faq/marketing_practices.asp

Third, there’s Chapter 161 in the Health & Safety code re tobacco and e-cigarettes:

https://www.tabc.state.tx.us/faq/marketing_practices.asp

Fourth, restrictions on tobacco advertising are federal, so please see federal advertising restrictions on cigarette advertising at this link:

http://betobaccofree.hhs.gov/laws/

Q: Our hospital board met and then went into closed session for “medical peer review” and didn’t cite one of the usual exceptions that would allow them to go into closed session under the Texas Open Meetings Act. The attorney for the hospital district was not present. Do you have any information on medical peer review and closed sessions? What are they talking about?

A: According to the Texas Attorney General’s Open Meetings Handbook, there are two provisions that permit specified governmental bodies to discuss an individual’s medical or psychiatric records in closed session: “Section 551.078 is the narrower provision, applying to a medical board or medical committee when discussing the records of an applicant for a disability benefit from a public retirement system. Section 551.0785 is much broader, allowing a governmental body that administers a public insurance, health or retirement plan to hold a closed session when discussing the records or information from the records of an individual applicant for a benefit from the plan. The benefits appeals committee for a public self-funded health plan may also meet in executive session for this purpose.”

But here’s something that might zero-in on your question a little better. See Texas Attorney General opinion JC-108, rendered in 1999. A state representative asks the AG “Whether the governing body of a hospital district may meet in closed session when acting as a medical peer review committee under the Medical Practice Act and related questions.” 

In the summary of the opinion, then-Attorney General John Cornyn states: “Pursuant to the Medical Practice Act, the governing body of a hospital district acts as a medical peer review committee when it decides whether a physician should receive hospital privileges, evaluates the competence of a physician, or evaluates the quality of medical and health care services at the district’s hospital, to the extent that the evaluation involves discussions or records that specifically identify an individual patient or physician. Section 161.032(a) of the Texas Health and Safety Code exempts a hospital district’s proceedings as a medical peer review committee from the requirements of the Open Meetings Act.”

Q: I want to research the role of my newspaper and its founders in the Texas Press Association. Would you name me some resources? I don’t want to spend much money. I am not going to pay $110, the Amazon price for a copy of the “Golden Jubilee History of the Texas Press Association.”

A: I searched online and found a copy of the Golden Jubilee History of the Texas Press and Texas Press Association (published in 1929 by Harben-Spotts) in good condition for $40, but if you’re a researcher and not a collector, why buy it when you can borrow one via interlibrary loan? Ask the county librarian or town librarian for help.

Another full-of-treasure book is “History of the Texas Press Association: From Its Organization in Houston in 1880 to Its Annual Convention in San Antonio in 1913” by Ferdinand B. Baillio, Southwestern Printing Company, printed 1916, 402 pages. Your librarian can help you track down a copy to borrow via interlibrary loan.  By the way, Baillio was the 18th president of the Texas Press Association. Read about him at: http://texaspress.com/1896-97-col-fb-baillio-01

Now, back to the Golden Jubilee book you mentioned. If you want to try this instead, go to http://www.worldcat.org/ and type in the book title. A search for Golden Jubilee History of the Texas Press yielded nearly 30 hits, nearly all of them libraries in Texas. 

Q: How many semiweeklies are there in Texas? And what are the most common publishing days for semiweeklies?

A: In the Texas Press directory database, there are 55 semiweeklies that are dues-paying members of the association. The tallies were close for the two more popular schedules, with 15 publishing Wednesday-Saturday schedule and 14 papers publishing Wednesday-Sunday. Tied for the third-most popular publication schedules were 9 papers publishing Thursday-Sunday and 9 papers publishing Tuesday-Friday. 

While we’re at it, the remaining papers of the 55 semiweeklies are published as follows: Wednesday-Friday (1), Thursday-Saturday (2), Monday-Thursday (2), Tuesday-Thursday-Saturday (2) and Monday-Wednesday-Friday (1).