Texas Lawmakers Remove Pension Forfeiture Provision from Ethics Bill

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Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said this year he wanted the upcoming legislative session to turn inward and focus on ethics reforms aimed at lawmakers.

Now, with the session entering its stretch run, there are several ethics bills floating around the legislature. But the most aggressive one has been stripped of many key provisions, including a pension forfeiture clause for lawmakers convicted of corruption.

From the Dallas News:

An aggressive ethics bill by Plano Sen. Van Taylor that took a swing at legislators themselves — such as curbing the revolving door of lawmakers-turned-lobbyists and stopping state pension payments to corrupt politicians — heads to a Senate debate as early as Tuesday after losing much of its bite.

Taylor’s original bill would have forced a lawmaker to be benched one legislative session before he or she could become a lobbyist, a lucrative and common practice. Any politician convicted of a crime related to his public office would have forfeited his right to a state pension.

But in a Senate committee, Taylor’s measure was stripped of some of the toughest provisions. Every current lawmaker would be exempt from the cooling-off period before lobbying. The sections dealing with pensions and bond counsel were removed entirely. And though increased disclosures remain, one requirement to report contracts benefiting immediate family members was also removed.

Read more about the bill, officially titled SB 19, here.

 

Photo credit: “Flag-map of Texas” by Darwinek – self-made using Image:Flag of Texas.svg and Image:USA Texas location map.svg. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Flag-map_of_Texas.svg#/media/File:Flag-map_of_Texas.svg

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