Under current law, it’s difficult for taxpayers to see how individual officials in local government vote on specific issues. Because there is no published document detailing their record votes, taxpayers must submit a formal open records request or be physically present and record the votes themselves.

The record votes cast by state lawmakers during each legislative session are published in the journal, which is available online. The website is called Texas Legislature Online.

The journal is meticulously updated. Not only does it record specific motions and votes taken on the floor of both legislative chambers, it also documents votes taken in legislative committee, which are public meetings citizens can attend in person.

Every vote cast by each individual lawmaker are recorded along with their names.

Citizens can view the record of state and federal lawmakers online—the votes cast by local officials should also be similarly published to increase transparency and public accountability.

Perhaps the most practical and cost-efficient way to create such a record would be for the state to host a single online repository for every locality in Texas, and require that each government’s staff keep their records accurate and up to date.

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