Banning Cell Phone use in Commissioners Meetings raises 1st amendment concerns
Commissioners decide to visit issue on a later date
El Paso, TX (KTSM) — The issue of cell phone use within the Commissioners Court open meetings brought up a debate over first amendment rights and the appropriate use of a cell phone. Commissioner Sergio Lewis brought the item in Monday's meeting, claiming texting on a personal cell phone creates a distrust within the community. Particularly, cell phone usage among commissioners.
Other commissioners and even Judge Veronica Escobar claimed texting on a personal cell phone is just as important as using an email. Using their phones helps them stay connected to their staff members and important issues, she and other commissioners explained before Commissioner Lewis.
Despite their varying views, both Commissioners Vince Perez and Sergio Lewis agree their stances are all about the public good.
"In many ways communications and technology actually enhances transparency because there are records, there are digital receipts of all these types of communications," Precinct 3 Commissioner, Vince Perez said.
"I feel if there's personal texting going on, if there's personal cell phones being in use and texting, I just feel that we could do without. I mean you really think about it, how did we used to do it before all this technology?," Precinct 2 Commissioner Sergio Lewis explained.
Commissioners ultimately decided to table the issue. Commissioner Lewis said this gives him an opportunity to work on the issue further.