March 2, 2012 •
Runoff Election Date Also Rescheduled
A federal court has pushed back Texas’s primary date from April 3 to May 29.
Additionally, the Texas general primary runoff election has also changed to July 31 from June 5.
A three judge panel from the US District Court for the Western District of Texas San Antonio Division, having entered redistricting plans for the 2012 elections for the US House of Representatives, the Texas House of Representatives and the Texas State Senate, found it necessary to make certain adjustments to the election schedule. The court’s order, issued March 1, stipulates various other changes of filing dates and deadlines for candidates and for voting activities concerning elections of federal, state, county, and local offices held in the state.
The court order also mandates that for the 2012 elections to the Texas House and Senate, a person must be a continuous resident of the district the person seeks to represent from April 9, 2012 until the date of the General Election.
The court’s order can be found, via the website Texas Redistricting.
February 24, 2012 •
No April 3 Ballot
The Texas Ethics Commission announced there is no requirement to file the 30-day pre-election report due March 5th.
Normally, committees such as general and specific-purpose political committees that support or oppose a candidate or measure must file reports 30 days before an election in which the committee is involved, covering the first day after the period covered by the last report through 40 days before the election.
The Ethics Commission lifted the requirement because there is no ballot for the April 3rd election. The state’s primary election dates will likely be changed once redistricting in Texas has been finalized.
December 19, 2011 •
Primary and Runoff
The dates for the Texas general primary and the runoff elections have been changed.
Judge Orlando Garcia of the United States District Court for The Western District of Texas issued an order altering the dates of the elections. The order was agreed to by all parties in the action.
The 2012 general primary date has been changed from March 6 to April 3. The 2012 general primary runoff election will be held on June 5, instead of the previously scheduled date of May 22.
December 13, 2011 •
Campaigns and Fundraising Affected by Competing District Lines
The U.S. Supreme Court has announced it will hear arguments on January 9 regarding Congressional and State Legislature districts in Texas. This has put Texas campaigning and fundraising in a state of confusion.
You can find the news coverage here:
“Redistricting Orders Throw Texas Politics Into Disarray” by Ross Ramsey in the Texas Tribune.
“Texas Elections Are in Limbo Over Redistricting Issue” by Manny Fernandez in the New York Times.
“Judges to offer guidance to party leaders after Supreme Court blocks maps” by Tim Eaton in the American-Statesman.
November 22, 2011 •
Lobbyists in Texas must update their filing software to the newest version in order to properly file reports.
Becky Levy, Director of the Disclosure Filings Division of the Texas Ethics Commission, issued a memorandum stating before filing lobby activities reports, the software used must be upgraded in order to have the latest enhancements to file properly. Lobbyist activity reports in Texas must be filed electronically unless qualifying for an exemption.
More information about the software, and how to download it, is located here.
November 1, 2011 •
Track Senate Bill 1
The Texas Ethics Commission has adopted amendments to its rules regarding reporting requirements under the campaign finance law.
The changes in administrative rules §§20.50, 20.62, 20.219, 20.279, 20.331, and 20.433 bring them in line with Senate Bill 1, passed earlier this year.
While the bill became effective September 28, the Ethics Commission’s adopted rules became effective today.
October 11, 2011 •
Sunset Advisory Commission Assessment
The Sunset Commission, a legislative body created by the Texas Legislature to identify and eliminate waste, duplication, and inefficiency in government agencies, will seek public input during its scheduled review of the Texas Ethics Commission.
During the evaluation of the Ethics Commission’s mission and performance, submitted comments and suggestions will be accepted until the suggested date of November 21. The Sunset Commission then anticipates it will issue a report in March 2012 followed by a public hearing with testimony in April.
Based on the public input and the report, any recommendations to the legislature will be submitted at the start of its next session in January 2013.
Some of the duties the Texas Ethics Commission administers and enforces are the election code concerning political contributions, expenditures and political advertising, and lobbying registration, reports and activities.
The announcement of the review can be found here.
Photo of the Texas State Capitol by LoneStarMike on Wikipedia.
July 20, 2011 •
Report Problems and Request Services From Local Governments on Facebook
True to the recent trend that can be observed in both local governments and the federal government, the city of Burleson, Texas has released a new Facebook app named the Citizen Request Tracker soon to be spread to other communities nationwide that makes it easier for citizens to report problems and request services from its local government.
This app can help alert the local authorities about such issues such as pot holes, graffiti, barking dogs and malfunctioning streetlights.
Read more about the Citizen Request Tracker Facebook App in “New App Connects Social Media Users with Municipal Services” by Brian Heaton posted on GovTech.com.
June 30, 2011 •
Sessions in Alaska, Maine, and Texas adjourn
ALASKA: The Legislature’s second special session ended with the Senate adjourning sine die on June 27 and the House adjourning sine die on June 28.
MAINE: The Maine Legislature adjourned sine die June 29, 2011.
TEXAS: The Texas Legislature adjourned their special session on Wednesday, June 29, 2011. Barring another special session, the Legislature will not meet again until January, 2013.
May 31, 2011 •
The Texas Legislature adjourned sine die on Monday, May 30, 2011.
However, the Legislature was immediately called into special session by Governor Rick Perry due to the failed effort to finalize the state budget.
The special session is set to begin Tuesday, May 31, and cannot last longer than 30 days.
Other items are expected to be added to the special session’s agenda.
Photo of the Texas State Capitol by Kumar Appaiah on Wikipedia.
April 19, 2011 •
Bill Containing Potential Lobbyist Registration Fee Increase Moving Through House
House Bill 3653, a bill concerning lobbyist registration fees, was brought before the House Appropriations Committee on Monday, April 18, 2011, as the bill moves closer to a vote before the full House.
The bill would provide for lobbyist registration fees of up to $1,000; however, lobbyist registration fees of up to $200 would be assessed if the lobbyist is employed by a 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(4) organization.
If passed, the bill provides for an effective date of September 1, 2011.
Photo of the Texas State Capitol by LoneStarMike on Wikipedia.
March 15, 2011 •
Trigger for Reporting Lobbyist Expenditures Decreases in Texas
Effective March 17, 2011, the amount triggering detailed reporting for food, beverages, transportation, lodging, and entertainment will drop to $90.
The trigger is set by statute at 60% of the amount of the legislative per diem.
Due to the legislative per diem decreasing from $168 for the 2009 session to $150 for the 2011 session, the trigger has decreased from $100.80 to $90.
January 21, 2011 •
The Texas legislature is looking to tackle a new piece of pay-to-play legislation with Senate Bill 110.
The bill would affect an individual who submits a competitive bid or proposal for a contract as an individual, partner or owner of a privately held business, or board member or executive officer of a business.
They would be prohibited from making a political contribution to a candidate for statewide office, a statewide officeholder, or a specific-purpose committee for supporting or opposing a candidate for statewide office or assisting a statewide officeholder, during the period beginning with the date the bid or proposal is submitted and ending when the contract is awarded to another person or the 30th day after the bidder is awarded the contract.
Further, the same restrictions would be applied to a general-purpose committee established or administered by a corporation. If passed in current form, the legislation would take effect September 1, 2011.
January 19, 2011 •
If passed, a violation would be a class A misdemeanor.
Companion bills seeking to create “revolving door” restrictions for members of the Texas legislature have been introduced during the 2011 session. Senate Bill 128 and House Bill 508 seek to prevent former members of the legislature from lobbying “before the date of final adjournment of the second regular session of the legislature to convene after the date the person ceases to be a member.”
If passed as presently written, a violation would be considered a class A misdemeanor in Texas.
Image of the Texas flag and state courtesy of Shem on Wikipedia.
State and Federal Communications, Inc. provides research and consulting services for government relations professionals on lobbying laws, procurement lobbying laws, political contribution laws in the United States and Canada. Learn more by visiting stateandfed.com.