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TribBlog: Ethics Reform a Nudge at Hodge?

Embattled former Dallas state Rep. Terri Hodge hasn't even finished serving her year in prison for lying on her tax returns. But her successor, freshman Democratic Rep. Eric Johnson, is already pledging to file legislation that would prohibit lawmakers who commit felonies from receiving state pension benefits.

Democrat Eric Johnson campaigns to replace incumbent Dallas Rep. Terri Hodge in House District 100. Hodge has pleaded guilty…

Embattled former Dallas state Rep. Terri Hodge hasn't even finished serving her year in prison for lying on her tax returns. But her successor, freshman Democratic Rep. Eric Johnson, is already pledging to file legislation that would prohibit lawmakers who commit felonies from receiving state pension benefits.

Johnson's bill wouldn't actually apply to Hodge — it would apply to "current and future" elected officials. It would require legislators who commit felonies "connected to their official duties" to forfeit the pension benefits former lawmakers receive. (In Hodge's case, she became embroiled in a citywide corruption scandal.)

"I'm asking my colleagues in the Texas Legislature to join with me and make a strong statement that those who abuse the public trust should not be able to reap any benefits from their time in office," Johnson said in a press release. 

Johnson said that of the country's 10 most populous states, only New York and Texas lack a pension forfeiture law for legislators. 

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