Ethics

Ryan E. Poppe

The end of the legislative session is less than a week away and lawmakers are moving quickly to keep bills they support alive.  Tuesday was a frenzied day as legislators waded through pages of parliamentary delay tactics tagged for some of the more controversial bills.

At the start of the day there was a laundry list of bills, all of which required a vote in the House or face sudden death.   And it was clear from the start; it was going to be a slow and drawn out bumpy ride.

Flickr user TN Drum Guy / cc

Ethics Reform was touted by both Candidate Abbott and now Governor Abbott as a priority for Texas' 84th legislature. The Governor's comments gave hope to ethics reform advocates that dark money groups would be forced to disclose their donors, conflicts of interests would be outed in state contracts, and the revolving door of legislators becoming lobbyists would be stymied.

TPR News

The message from one former chairman and now commissioner, for the Texas Ethics Commission is that the state has an ethics emergency.

Writing in a letter to current TEC Chairman Paul Hobby, Commissioner Jim Clancy pointed to the recent ruling by a Denton judge nullifying TEC fines against Michael Quinn Sullivan of Empower Texans as proof the TEC needs to shut down campaign finance and lobbying cases until the issue is resolved in the courts.

EdTech Stanford School of Medicine

With the availability of smart phones paired with the ease of recording, we have seen secret and embarrassing recordings of many come to light.

Public officials both nationally and locally have been put on the defensive over comments they thought were private, and the nation has reeled from phone video recordings of police brutality. It seems you can't go anywhere without the possibility of being recorded.

Ryan Poppe / TPR News

On the campaign trail, now Texas Gov. Greg Abbott promised to make ethics' reform a reality in the state, a departure from his predecessor Rick Perry who vetoed some of the strongest transparency legislation in 2013's legislative session.

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