POLITICS: Lobbying

GMO Labeling Movement Stagnant in Texas

Gerald Cole, owner of Organicare Farms in Taylor, checks his kale plants. The vegetables are grown using aquaponics, a system in which waste matter from fish in tanks is broken down and used as nutrients for the plants.
Gerald Cole, owner of Organicare Farms in Taylor, checks his kale plants. The vegetables are grown using aquaponics, a system in which waste matter from fish in tanks is broken down and used as nutrients for the plants.

A small group of Texas farmers and environmental advocates is pushing for the labeling of genetically modified foods. But the effort has received little interest from Texas' Republican-dominated Legislature or from major agribusinesses.

Liveblog: What's Left for the 83rd Legislature

Crowds of visitors, lobbyists, and lawmakers turned out to the Texas capitol for the opening day of the 83rd legislative session, Jan. 8, 2013.
Crowds of visitors, lobbyists, and lawmakers turned out to the Texas capitol for the opening day of the 83rd legislative session, Jan. 8, 2013.

The clock is ticking for lawmakers hard at work to pass prize bills in the final days of the 83rd legislative session. Here's a look at what's still outstanding. Check back often: We'll update this story as deals are brokered or broken. 

 

Leaving the Legislature, but Not Going Too Far

(l to r) Jim Jackson, Rob Eissler, Mike "Tuffy" Hamilton, Vicki Truitt, (second row) Aaron Peña, Chuck Hopson, Burt Solomons, Rick Hardcastle
(l to r) Jim Jackson, Rob Eissler, Mike "Tuffy" Hamilton, Vicki Truitt, (second row) Aaron Peña, Chuck Hopson, Burt Solomons, Rick Hardcastle

Soon after their replacements were sworn in last month, eight former House members registered as lobbyists with the Texas Ethics Commission.

Despite Reforms, Some Elected Officials Still Lobby

Former Rep. Bill Siebert, R-San Antonio, had been in office for six years when news reports revealed that he had lobbied the San Antonio City Council for a private firm without having registered as a lobbyist. Siebert blamed the oversight on a miscommunication between his office and City Hall. But the issue dominated his 2000 re-election bid, which he lost.
Former Rep. Bill Siebert, R-San Antonio, had been in office for six years when news reports revealed that he had lobbied the San Antonio City Council for a private firm without having registered as a lobbyist. Siebert blamed the oversight on a miscommunication between his office and City Hall. But the issue dominated his 2000 re-election bid, which he lost.

While members of the Texas Legislature can no longer act as lobbyists before state agencies, plenty of lawmakers still manage to lobby local governments. Others find work that critics would classify as lobbying by another name.