Columns

Flats trays can now be prepared without lids: Central printers free to nest tubs for delivery

The U.S. Postal Service has granted Periodical newspapers the option of preparing flats trays (white tubs) without lids and strapping, as required since 2006.
Customer Support Ruling PS-347 has been issued by Lizbeth Dobbins, manager of product classification at USPS headquarters.
 It limits preparation without lids to pieces “that will be worked or processed at the entry facility or associated Sectional Center Facility.” That would include all the 3-digit ZIP codes covered by the SCF distribution territory, starting with the first three digits of your own ZIP code.

Appeals Court Finds Texas’ Retraction and Anti-SLAPP Statutes Work in Harmony to Protect and Promote Free Speech Rights

A Houston court of appeals recently sided with media defendants regarding the relationship between Texas’ retraction statute (known as the Defamation Mitigation Act “DMA”) and the Anti-SLAPP statute (known as the Texas Citizens Participation Act “TCPA”). 

By Wesley D. Lewis, Associate, Haynes and Boone, LLP 

Election Code limits use of registered voter list information

Q: I have some candidates wanting to communicate with registered voters through direct mail. I can get the list from the county. But Election Code Sec. 18.009, Unlawful Use of Information on Registration List, states: (a) A person commits an offense if the person uses information in connection with advertising or promoting commercial products or services that the person knows was obtained under Section 18.008. (b) An offense under this section is a Class A misdemeanor. Does this specifically exclude commercial products or services but not political advertising?

Food for the journalism soul in crazy times

We live in truly crazy and sophomoric times.
I don’t care who you voted for in the last presidential election; I don’t care where you fall on the political spectrum. At the national level, it’s become a big mudslinging match with all sides involved, including some of our Beltway news media brethren.
All too often, people have allowed their ideology to overwhelm their intellect – and their tempers to run roughshod over reason and accommodation.
And if you’re like me, you’ve noticed some of that mud has splattered on us hometown newspapers.

AG opinion says regular meetings not required for general law city

Q: Our general law city council does not meet on a weekly or even a monthly basis. So I asked the city secretary how bills get approved for payment. I was told that each councilperson comes to city hall and looks through the bills and gives the okay. I think the council should meet, as a body, in an open meeting, even if it’s just to approve the bills. I wrote a letter to the city administrator and to the mayor regarding this trend of not meeting. What do you think about it?

Executive session must be held in a location accessible to public

Q: If a city council convenes in open session at city hall and then adjourns, travels to a remote, private, controlled-access site, then conducts an executive session to interview city manager applicants, does the open meetings law allow that?
A: Let’s confine our search for an answer to the handy Texas Attorney General’s 2016 Open Meetings Handbook. The following language appears on page 40 under the header and paragraph, VIII. Open Sessions, A. Conducting the Meeting: 

Need a lift? Spend career day with third graders

A lot of us love newspapering because of all the challenges the business presents us each day. But from time to time, all those challenges can have us feeling really down in the dumps.
We continue to grapple with how we communicate our journalism and advertising to an increasingly diffused and finicky market. Revenue challenges mean we have to work even harder in an attempt to deliver more with tighter budgets. And we always seem to hear from those who are all too quick to hate us for what we do or don’t do.