Austin: For the second session in a row, lawmakers largely ignored Gov. Greg Abbott’s emergency call for ethics reform. After a modest reform package cleared the Senate early in the session (SB 14), lawmakers splintered it into six separate bills and then proceeded to kill half of them. Lawmakers strangled most of the key ethics provisions sought by reform advocates (including several that sought to reform the Governor’s office itself). The snuffed reforms would have reduced the amount lobbyists can spend to entertain officials, stopped legislators and statewide officials from immediately morphing into paid lobbyists, and prohibited the governor from appointing big contributors to state office.
“Lawmakers and the governor failed on ethics reform once again” said TPJ Director Craig McDonald. “After Gov. Abbott declared an ethics emergency, he and the other first responders didn’t do enough to save the victim.” “It is disheartening” said Public Citizen’s legislative counsel Carol Birch.
“While some lawmakers strive hard to pass meaningful ethics reform, those in control pay lip service while actively working to ensure it goes nowhere.”
SEE CHART in release
PRESS RELEASE: Texans for Public Justice – http://info.tpj.org/press_releases/pdf/Ethics%20wrapup.pr.pdf