STATE SENATOR VAN TAYLOR OUTLINES MAJOR PILLARS FOR ETHICS REFORM
Each Topic Earned Overwhelming Support During the 2015 Legislative Session
AUSTIN, TX - During a panel discussion at Texas Public Policy Foundation Policy Orientation, also broadcasted on Facebook Live, Senator Van Taylor today outlined the major pillars for his ethics reform legislation for the 2017 legislative session.
"I want to first thank Governor Greg Abbott and Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick for the confidence they have placed in me to tackle this important topic. We have no more valuable bond in democracy than the trust the people have with their government, and without their leadership, strengthening this bond through meaningful ethics reform would not be on the forefront," stated Taylor. "Our belief in government relies upon the principle that elected officials serve the people, and that after the dust settles from important public policy debates, people have the confidence to know, in no uncertain terms, that elected officials work for them no matter their party or position. If this trust erodes, then everything else the Legislature does suffers."
Using a PowerPoint presentation, Senator Taylor outlined the major pillars for his ethics reform bill. Each pillar earned overwhelming support last session, but ultimately did not make it to the Governor's desk to become law. These commonsense provisions include:
- Felon politicians losing their pension and office
- Disclosure of government contracts, bond counsel, and legal referral fees
- Shining light on lobbyist wining and dining
- Establishing a clear line between elected officials and lobbyists
Taylor continued, "To have the honor of serving today, not only did our constituents give us their vote, they entrusted us to represent them above all else. That's why we need ethics reform: it is an affirmation to the people that our efforts to represent them rise above even the appearance of impropriety or self-service. "
Today's ethics reform presentation comes on the heels of a commentary piece Senator Taylor penned for the Dallas Morning News in which Taylor discussed last session's ethics reform failures and warned against policy proposals "used to sabotage substantive ethics reform where wide agreement within the Legislature already exists."
Throughout his tenure in the Texas Legislature, Senator Taylor has been an outspoken champion for ethics reform increasing transparency, terminating conflicts of interest, and eliminating corruption in state government. During the 2015 legislative session Taylor authored Governor Greg Abbott’s ethics reform legislation and got the legislation passed out of the Senate unanimously. This session Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick has again identified ethics reform as a priority assigning it a low bill number, SB 14.
A seventh generation Texan, local small businessman, and decorated Marine Officer, Van Taylor serves the majority of Collin County and a portion of Dallas County in the Texas Senate where he is widely recognized as a conservative leader. Taylor serves as Vice-Chairman of both the Nominations Committee and the Sunset Advisory Commission. He is also as a member of the Education, Health and Human Services, and Transportation Committees as well as the interim Committee on Property Tax Reform and Relief. Van and his wife, Anne, married after his return from Iraq and are the proud parents of three young girls. Van and his family reside in Plano near the land his great-grandfather farmed during the Great Depression.
BACKGROUND AND KEY VOTES ON THE ETHICS REFORM PILLARS:
Felon Politicians Lose Pension and Office
- HB 681 (84R- Authored by Representative Sheets) passed House UNANIMOUSLY
- Senator Van Taylor Amendment #1 to HB 408 (84R) passed Senate UNANIMOUSLY
- Senator Birdwell Amendment #8 to SB19 (84R) passed Senate UNANIMOUSLY
- Representative Canales Amendment #17 to SB19 (84R) passed House UNANIMOUSLY
Disclosure of Government Contracts, Bond Counsel, and Legal Referral Fees
- HB 1294 (84R- Authored by Representative Capriglione) passed House UNANIMOUSLY
- SB19 (84R- Authored by Senator Van Taylor) passed the Senate UNANIMOUSLY
- Senator Huffman Amendment #13 to SB19 (84R) passed Senate UNANIMOUSLY
Shining Light On Lobbyist Wining and Dining
- Greater reporting of lobbyist meals were included in both the House passed version of SB19 and in Representative Rinaldi Amendment #27 to SB19. Added together, a total 125 HOUSE MEMBERS voted for a version of this provision.
Clear Line Between Elected Official and Lobbyist
- No elected lobbyists passed Senate in SB19 (84R) UNANIMOUSLY
- Both chambers identified the revolving door of elected official to lobbyist as a cornerstone issue for reform. Within the different versions of SB19 (84R), the Senate passed a one-full legislative session cooling-off period and House passed a one-full legislative session freeze on using campaign account for lobbying. When combined, the Senate UNANIMOUSLY supported revolving door reform, as did 125 HOUSE MEMBERS
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