Bills We’re Following in the Texas Legislature

Texas Capitol building.

The Texas State Capitol viewed from the Outdoor Rotunda. This circular hole in the ground mirrors the actual capitol rotunda, and is appropriately known as the “inside-out, upside-down capitol”. The outdoor rotunda is part of the underground capitol extension, completed in 1995. Photo courtesy of photohome.com.

Common Ground for Texans has joined forces with other organizations to form the Texas Fair Courts Network and the Anti-Corruption Campaign. We have been working hard to oppose or support various bills that have come before the Texas House and the Senate. With the legislature coming to a close on June 2, we thought it was time to let you know where certain legislation is in the process. Here goes:

SB 19: Anti-Corruption Campaign supports.
Omnibus Ethics bill – The Anti-corruption Campaign now supports this bill because of amendments added to it on the Senate floor.
Passed in Senate; gone to House State Affairs Committee.

The Texas State Capitol’s indoor rotunda.

The Texas State Capitol’s indoor rotunda.

HB 22: Anti-Corruption Campaign supports.
Strengthens the powers and duties of the Texas Ethics Commission (TEC).
Passed in the House; gone to Senate.

HB 76: Common Ground supports.
Calls for electronic voter registration.
Left pending in Elections Committee.

HB 733: Common Ground supports.
Increases the number of acceptable photo voter IDs to include Veteran Heath and student ID Cards.
Left pending in Elections Committee.

HB 464: Anti-Corruption Campaign opposes.
Requires candidates to pay a filing fee, or submit a petition in lieu of a filing fee, in order to appear on the ballot for the general election for state and county officers. [aimed at third party candidates]
Voted out of Elections to Calendars
left unscheduled in House Committee on Calendars

The Texas House chamber.

The Texas House chamber.

HB 2088: Texas Fair Courts Network and Anti-Corrupton Campaign support.
Calls for an interim study on methods of  judicial selection.
Placed on General State Calendar.

HB 3509: Anti-Corruption Campaign supports.
Repeals the following: “A speaker candidate or former speaker candidate commits an offense if the person knowingly accepts a contribution, loan prohibited by Section 302.017 or promise of such from a corporation, partnership, association, firm, union, foundation, committee, club, or other organization or group of persons.” [Other prohibitions remain in place.]
Sent to House Committee on Calendars.

HB 3683: Anti-Corruption Campaign supports.
Requires electronic filling of personal financial statements with TEC.
Passed in the House; gone to Senate.

HB 3789: Anti-Corruption Campaign supports.
Requires the disclosure, on personal financial statements, of certain contracts and paid relationships with public entities.
Sent to Calendars Committee.

The Texas Senate chamber.

The Texas Senate chamber.

HCR 49: Common Ground supports.
Urges Congress to propose and submit to the states an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that overturns Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, establishing that the spending of money to influence elections shall not be construed as speech under the First Amendment, and clarifying that only natural persons are protected by constitutional rights.
Left pending in State & Federal Power & Responsibility, Selection Committee.

HJR 146: Common Ground supports.
Applies to Congress to call a convention, to propose an amendment to the US constitution urging the restoration of free and fair elections.
Left pending in State & Federal Power & Responsibility, Selection Committee.

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