Bidness as Usual

This is one in a series of occasional stories about ethics and transparency in the part-time Texas Legislature.

A bill that would require lobbyists to disclose the names of lawmakers who pay them using campaign funds for services, including political consulting, is headed to Gov. Rick Perry for approval after the Senate passed the measure on Thursday.

"It's just more disclosure," said state Sen. Kevin Eltife, R-Tyler, the Senate sponsor of House Bill 1244.

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Eltife said an increasing number of lobbyists also do campaign consulting work for lawmakers during the interim between legislative sessions. Lobbyists are already required to report the special interests for which they lobby at the Capitol.

State Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, who co-authored HB 1244 with state Rep. Charlie Geren, R-Fort Worth, said the measure was part of an ongoing effort to increase legislative transparency.

"We want to see what lobbyist involvement is to the greatest extent possible," Canales said. "It allows us to see who is being influenced in which manner. It expands their reporting duties, which in my opinion is best for public policy."

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