Tribpedia: Lobbying

Ethics reform now includes keeping revolving door to lobby wide open

State Rep. Charlie Geren, R-Fort Worth, works from his desk on the House floor during debate on the House budget on April 6, 2017.
<p><span>State Rep. Charlie Geren, R-Fort Worth, works from his desk on the House floor during debate on the House budget on April 6, 2017.</span></p>

The effort to slow down the revolving door between the Legislature and the special-interest lobby has hit a major snag. The author of the bill in the Texas House has cut the meat out of the bill — a two-year "cooling-off period" for legislators — and replaced it with a provision watchdogs call vague and unenforceable.

State Sen. Van Taylor, R-Plano, lays out SB 14, the Ethics Reform and Anti-Corruption Act, in the Texas Senate on Feb. 7, 2017.
State Sen. Van Taylor, R-Plano, lays out SB 14, the Ethics Reform and Anti-Corruption Act, in the Texas Senate on Feb. 7, 2017.

Texas Senate passes ethics reform

The Texas Senate passed a bill that would take pensions away from officials convicted of felonies and require lobbyists to disclose more of their wining and dining of lawmakers.

With less than a week before lawmakers convene, preparations are underway to welcome members of the state House of Representatives for the 85th session of the Texas Legislature.
With less than a week before lawmakers convene, preparations are underway to welcome members of the state House of Representatives for the 85th session of the Texas Legislature.

Analysis: When watching lawmakers, think of the high school cafeteria

Not everything is stuck in silos, but following particular groups is a way to cut through the sheer volume of good and bad ideas that steam up the Texas government’s windows every two years.

Sen. Van Taylor R-Plano, during an August 22, 2016 Sunset Advisory Committee hearing in Austin, Texas
Sen. Van Taylor R-Plano, during an August 22, 2016 Sunset Advisory Committee hearing in Austin, Texas

Senator goes for low-hanging fruit in ethics reform

State Sen. Van Taylor, R-Plano, is taking a realistic approach to ethics reform this year. He's pushing proposals that got wide agreement in both chambers two years ago but ultimately failed to draw Gov. Greg Abbott's signature.

Tom "Smitty" Smith is retiring from his longtime role as head of Public Citizen Texas, a nonprofit, left-leaning consumer rights advocacy group.
Tom "Smitty" Smith is retiring from his longtime role as head of Public Citizen Texas, a nonprofit, left-leaning consumer rights advocacy group.

Analysis: "Smitty," a Texas Lobbyist for the Small Fry, Hanging It Up

Tom “Smitty” Smith, a colorful lobbyist and liberal activist who turned Public Citizen Texas into a strong voice on environmental, utility, consumer and ethics issues, is hanging up his spurs after 31 years.

Gov. Greg Abbott speaks to reporters at the Security Operations Center at the Department of Public Safety on May 12, 2015.
Gov. Greg Abbott speaks to reporters at the Security Operations Center at the Department of Public Safety on May 12, 2015.

Analysis: Taking Stock of the Ethics Session

The governor asked lawmakers to put ethics reform at center stage this year. They filed bills. They even voted in favor of some strong restrictions on lobbyists' and officeholders' official behavior. But most of it never got to Greg Abbott's desk.

TribWeek: In Case You Missed It

The results of the new University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll on everything from the top race of 2014 to the gun debate, Aaronson on Medicaid expansion, Aguilar on a financial thaw in the Mexican oil patch, Batheja on cents and sensibility, M. Smith on school choice, Rocha and Dehn on TWIA reform, Galbraith on water and fracking, Murphy’s interactive map of poverty in the state, E. Smith's TribLive interview with House Public Education Chairman Jimmie Don Aycock and Root on a lobby couple living large and reporting small: The best of our best content from March 4-8, 2013.