Local city and county governments in Texas enjoy a considerable amount of autonomy thanks to the Texas constitution. The passage of the 1912 “Home Rule Amendment” in particular made a difference, allowing municipalities with a population greater than five thousand the authority to pass ordinances and adopt charters limited only by the constitution and prevailing laws. But perhaps the best way to understand the workings of civil government is by watching it in action. City and county councils and commissions adhere to the Texas Open Meetings Act, providing the public the right of access to meetings of government bodies at the state and local level. As Texans we are entitled to receive notice of these meetings, to attend them, and to examine meeting minutes. Among the government bodies subject to the Act include county commissioners courts, municipal governments, boards of education and school districts, and agencies directed by elected and appointed members. So next time your county commissioners get together, join them, it's a good reason to visit the courthouse!