Governor Greg Abbott Uses State of State Address to Tap Senator Van Taylor to Lead Ethics Reform Initiatives
Taylor’s Anti-Corruption Efforts Get Placed on the Governor’s Emergency Call
AUSTIN, TX – In his State of the State Address, Governor Greg Abbott today announced that Senator Van Taylor will spearhead significant ethics reform and anti-corruption legislation. Declaring it a priority for the Legislature to address, Governor Abbott's call for ethics reform as an emergency measure propels the issue to the forefront of the Legislature's attention. Using the authority granted under the Texas Constitution, Abbott's order clears the path for the Legislature to approve needed reforms early in the legislative process.
In his first State of the State Address Governor Greg Abbott stated, “Let’s dedicate this session to ethics. I want to work with you to strengthen the faith and the trust Texans deserve from us. It’s a reminder of who we work for – the citizens of Texas. In my Blueprint for the future of Texas, I outlined multiple ethics reforms. Things like requiring elected officials to disclose contracts they have with public entities, prohibiting lawmakers from voting on legislation from which they could profit and more disclosure of campaign finance information. I want to thank Senator Van Taylor and Representative Charlie Geren for spearheading the effort to pass my Blueprint ethics reforms. The most important commodity we have as elected officials is the bond we share with our constituents. Transparency – and rising above even the appearance of impropriety – will strengthen that bond. Rejection of ethics reform will weaken that bond and rightfully raise suspicions about who we truly serve – ourselves, or the people of Texas. Because these ethics reforms are so important, I’m adding this to my list of emergency items."
Throughout his tenure in the Texas Legislature, Van Taylor has been an outspoken champion for eliminating corruption in state government. Building on these efforts, Governor Abbott, in his speech this afternoon, tapped Senator Taylor to spearhead the most significant ethics reform package in Texas in a generation.
Senator Taylor said after Governor Abbott’s speech, “I applaud Governor Abbott for his leadership on ethics reform and am honored by the confidence he has placed in me to carry this important legislation forward. Being elected to serve the people of our state and local communities is a tremendous honor, and there is no place in government for those who betray the trust given to them by their constituents. My ethics reform and anti-corruption package will send a clear message that politicians who abuse their office will no longer be sheltered by toothless ethics laws that cover-up corrupt behavior and leave the people disillusioned with their state government.”
Senator Taylor's ethics reform package will center on three critical areas: anti-corruption, transparency and disclosure, and terminating conflicts of interest. The anti-corruption portion will create a zero tolerance culture in Texas government for criminal politicians including the revocation of taxpayer-funded benefits and immediate ejection from office for elected officials convicted of a felony. The transparency and disclosure section will shine a brighter light on lobby-paid benefits given to lawmakers and include stronger disclosure requirements regarding government contracts. Lastly, the terminating conflicts of interest portion will seek to eliminate any perception of legislative impropriety by closing loopholes and banning behavior that results in direct compensation.
Summing up the importance of passing this package Taylor said, “Government of people, for the people, and by the people only works so long as constituents have complete trust that their elected officials work for no other interest than the people they were elected to serve. This ethics reform package will put into law the promise every elected official makes when they place their name on the ballot.”
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 was named Vice-Chairman of the Nominations Committee and also appointed to serve on the Education, Health and Human Services, and Transportation Committees. 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.