Public Citizen Testifies in Support of Government Ethics Bills

Public Citizen testified in the House State Affairs Committee this month about three important government ethics bills pending in the chamber.

All three bills are sponsored by Rep. Sarah Davis, a Houston Republican.

The first of Davis’s bills Public Citizen lent its public support for is HB 1297. This legislation would bar those who have been fired or have resigned from a state agency position due to malfeasance from serving as the executive or on the executive staff of a state agency. Malfeasance is defined in the bill as “intentional misconduct or the knowingly improper performance of any act, duty, or responsibility, including unethical or criminal conduct, financial misconduct, or fraud.”

Public Citizen also testified in support of HB 1876, which reflects the recommendations of the Texas Ethics Commission. This bill would, among other things, address the “revolving door” of legislators-turned-lobbyists by barring a former lawmaker from registering as a lobbyist for one year, beginning with the first regular legislative session to convene. It would also ban political contributions during special legislative sessions.

We also spoke in favor of HB 1877, which would enact eight different ethics-related bills that passed the House in the 85th Session of the Legislature but not the Senate.

Read all three letters from Public Citizen’s Texas office director, Adrian Shelley, to members of the Texas Legislature on these important bills: