January 17, 2017 •
Texas Legislators Push for Ethics Reform
Legislators will attempt to pass a major ethics reform for the second time after their effort during the 2015 legislative session failed. The plan gained wide spread support in 2015 but was ultimately defeated in the House due to a provision increasing donor disclosure requirements for dark money groups.
The new reform package, Senate Bill 14, has four main provisions to:
- Prohibit politicians convicted of felony corruption charges from collecting state pensions
- Require disclosure if companies a lobbyist is tied to have received government contracts or served as bond counsel to a governmental entity
- Decrease the amount of money lobbyists can spend on food and drinks for legislators without triggering disclosure
- Ban registered lobbyists from running for elected office
Sen. Van Taylor who is sponsoring Senate Bill 14 has said reform is needed beyond the provisions of the reform package and will continue to file additional ethics bills. While Senate Bill 14 has not yet been filed, Taylor has filed Senate Bill 137 aiming to prohibit state agencies from using state funds to employ a person who is registered as a lobbyist or who engages in lobbying activities.
Gov. Greg Abbott supports the passage of an ethics package.
Photo of the Texas State Capitol By LoneStarMike via Wikimedia Commons
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