AUSTIN (CBSDFW.COM/AP) – The Texas Senate has unanimously approved a bill aimed at curbing conflicts of interest with elected officials and adding new punishments for those convicted of crimes.
Tuesday’s vote makes the ethics overhaul the first piece of legislation to clear either chamber this session.
The bill requires elected officials to reveal more of their business dealings, stops pensions if they are convicted of felony public corruption charges and removes them from office once their appeals are exhausted.
It also closes a loophole allowing lobbyists to wine and dine lawmakers without disclosing it.
The measure further forbids the “revolving door” letting lawmakers become lobbyists immediately after leaving office.
A proposal doing similar cleared the Senate last session, but stalled in the House amid questions about requiring political nonprofits to disclose top donors.
Gov. Greg Abbott released a statement saying, “The faith that people have in their democracy is linked to the trust they have in their elected officials. Representatives in Austin must be voting with their constituents’ interests in mind — not their own — and I am confident that this session will lead to increased accountability and meaningful reforms that are desperately needed in Texas.”
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