PROPOSED RULES

At its February 1, 2016, meeting, the Texas Ethics Commission voted to propose amendments to Texas Ethics Commission Rules §§ 12.53, 20.3, 20.7, 20.315, 34.1, and 46.3, new Texas Ethics Commission Rule § 34.14, and the repeal of Texas Ethics Commission Rules §§ 34.46 and 34.73. A written statement should be emailed to public_comment@ethics.state.tx.us, or mailed or delivered to Natalia Luna Ashley, Texas Ethics Commission, P.O. Box 12070, Austin, Texas 78711-2070, or by facsimile (FAX) to (512) 463-5777. A person who wants to offer spoken comments to the commission concerning a proposed rule may do so during the public comment period at any commission meeting when the commission considers the proposed rule.  Information concerning the time and location of commission meetings is at http://www.ethics.state.tx.us/tec/meetings.htm or by telephoning (512) 463-5800.

§ 12.53. Commission Initiated Complaint
Text of Proposed Rule

§ 20.3. Reports Filed with the Commission
Text of Proposed Rule

§ 20.7. Reports Filed with Other Local Filing Authority
Text of Proposed Rule

§ 20.315. Termination of Campaign Treasurer Appointment
Text of Proposed Rule

§ 34.1. Definitions
Text of Proposed Rule

§ 34.14. Expenditures for Fact-Finding Trips
Text of Proposed Rule

§ 34.46. Registration under Section 305.0041 of the Government Code
Text of Proposed Rule

§ 34.73. Reporting by Independent Contractor
Text of Proposed Rule

§ 46.3. Definitions
Text of Proposed Rule


§ 12.53. Commission Initiated Complaint
Text of Proposed Rule

The proposed new language is indicated by underlined text.

Chapter 12. SWORN COMPLAINTS

Subchapter B. FILING AND INITIAL PROCESSING OF A COMPLAINT

§ 12.53. Commission Initiated Complaint

 

(a) A preliminary review initiated by the commission under section 571.124(b) of the Government Code is deemed to be a complaint for purposes of all further proceedings under chapter 571 of the Government Code and of this chapter.

(b) Documents or evidence gathered by the commission and commission staff in contemplation of, or in preparation for, a commission initiated preliminary review are related to the processing of a preliminary review or motion for the purposes of sections 571.139 and 571.140 of the Government Code.

(c) Discussions between the commission and commission staff regarding gathering documents or evidence in contemplation of, or in preparation for, a commission initiated preliminary review are related to the processing of a preliminary review or motion for the purposes of sections 571.139 and 571.140 of the Government Code.


§ 20.3. Reports Filed with the Commission
Text of Proposed Rule

The proposed new language is indicated by underlined text.

Chapter 20. REPORTING POLITICAL CONTRIBUTIONS AND EXPENDITURES

Subchapter A. GENERAL RULES

§ 20.3. Reports Filed with the Commission

The Ethics Commission is the appropriate filing authority for reports filed by:

(1) a candidate for one of the following offices:

(A) a statewide office;

(B) a district office filled by voters in more than one county;

(C) a seat in the state legislature;

(D) a seat on the State Board of Education;

(E) an office of a political subdivision other than a county, if the governing body of the political subdivision has not been formed and if the political subdivision includes territory in more than one county; or

(F) a judicial district office filled by voters of only one county, subject to § 20.5(b);

(2) a person holding an office listed in paragraph (1) of this section;

(3) the secretary of state;

(4) a specific-purpose committee supporting or opposing a candidate or officeholder required to file with the commission; or

(5) a specific-purpose committee supporting or opposing:

(A) a measure to be submitted to the voters of the entire state; or

(B) a measure that concerns a political subdivision other than a county, if the governing body of the political subdivision has not been formed and if the political subdivision includes territory in more than one county;

(6) a specific-purpose committee created to support or oppose a measure on the issuance of bonds by a school district; or

(7)[(6)] a general-purpose committee.


§ 20.7. Reports Filed with Other Local Filing Authority
Text of Proposed Rule

The proposed new language is indicated by underlined text.
The deleted language is indicated by [strikethrough] text.

Chapter 20. REPORTING POLITICAL CONTRIBUTIONS AND EXPENDITURES

Subchapter A. GENERAL RULES

§ 20.7. Reports Filed with Other Local Filing Authority

 

(a) Except as provided by § 20.3(6) of this title (relating to Reports Filed with the Commission), the [The] secretary of a political subdivision (or the presiding officer if the political subdivision has no secretary) is the appropriate filing authority for reports filed by:

(1) a candidate for an office of a political subdivision other than a county;

(2) a person holding an office of a political subdivision other than a county; or

(3) a specific-purpose committee supporting or opposing a measure to be submitted at an election ordered by the authority of a political subdivision other than a county.

(b)  The campaign treasurer of a specific-purpose committee created to support or oppose a measure on the issuance of bonds by a school district should file with the commission a file-stamped copy of any campaign treasurer appointment filed with the appropriate local filing authority.


§ 20.315. Termination of Campaign Treasurer Appointment
Text of Proposed Rule

The proposed new language is indicated by underlined text.

Chapter 20. REPORTING POLITICAL CONTRIBUTIONS AND EXPENDITURES

Subchapter E. REPORTS BY A SPECIFIC-PURPOSE COMMITTEE

§ 20.315. Termination of Campaign Treasurer Appointment

(a) A specific-purpose committee may terminate a campaign treasurer appointment at any time by:

(1) notifying the filing authority in writing of the termination;

(2) filing a campaign treasurer appointment for a successor campaign treasurer; or

(3) filing a dissolution report.

(b) A committee's campaign treasurer may resign by immediately notifying both the appointing authority and the filing authority in writing.

(c) Except as provided by subsection (e) of this section, if the campaign treasurer resigns or otherwise leaves the position, the termination is effective on the date the committee actually receives the notice or on the date the filing authority actually receives the notice, whichever is later.

(d) Section 20.23 of this title (relating to Timeliness of Action by Mail) does not apply to subsection (c) of this section.

(e) For purposes of the termination report required by § 20.317 of this title (relating to Termination Report), a campaign treasurer's resignation is effective on the date the treasurer resigns as provided by subsection (b) of this section.

(f) Section 20.23 of this title (relating to Timeliness of Action by Mail) applies to subsection (e) of this section.

(g) A termination of a specific-purpose committee's campaign treasurer appointment and the filing of the termination report by themselves do not dissolve the specific-purpose committee. A specific-purpose committee can be dissolved only by filing a dissolution report.

(h) For purposes of this section, the appropriate filing authority for a campaign treasurer appointment of a specific-purpose committee created to support or oppose a measure on the issuance of bonds by a school district is the secretary of the school board (or the presiding officer if the school board has no secretary), except that the commission is the appropriate filing authority for a dissolution report.


§ 34.1. Definitions
Text of Proposed Rule

The deleted language is indicated by [strikethrough] text.

Chapter 34. REGULATION OF LOBBYISTS

Subchapter A. GENERAL PROVISIONS

§ 34.1. Definitions

The following words and terms, when used in this chapter, shall have the following meanings, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise.

(1) Communicates directly with, or any variation of that phrase--In Government Code, Chapter 305, and in this chapter includes communication by facsimile transmission.

(2) Expenditure--In Government Code, Chapter 305, and in this chapter does not include a payment of less than $200 that is fully reimbursed by the member of the legislative or executive branch who benefits from the expenditure if the member of the legislative or executive branch fully reimburses the person making the payment before the date the person would otherwise be required to report the payment.

(3) Lobby activity--Direct communication with and preparation for direct communication with a member of the legislative or executive branch to influence legislation or administrative action.

(4) Registrant--In Government Code, Chapter 305, and in this chapter means a person who is required to register as well as a person who has registered regardless of whether that person's registration was required.

[(5) Independent contractor--In Section 305.022 of the Government Code and this chapter, means a person, including a consultant, who communicates with a member of the executive branch concerning state agency purchasing decisions involving a product, service, or service provider or negotiations regarding such decisions.  The term does not include an employee, as defined by Section 305.022(e) of the Government Code, of a vendor.]


§ 34.14. Expenditures for Fact-Finding Trips
Text of Proposed Rule

The proposed new language is indicated by underlined text.

Chapter 34. REGULATION OF LOBBYISTS

Subchapter A. GENERAL PROVISIONS

§ 34.14. Expenditures for Fact-Finding Trips

(a) For purposes of § 305.025(3), Government Code, an expenditure for transportation or lodging provided to a member of the legislative or executive branch is for a fact-finding trip only if:

(1) the expenditure is necessary for the member to obtain facts that directly relate to the member’s official duties;

(2) the member cannot obtain the facts by any means, electronic or otherwise, without the expenditure; and

(3) the expenditure is not for the member’s attendance at a merely ceremonial event or pleasure trip.

(b) If an expenditure made for transportation or lodging for a fact-finding trip is required to be disclosed on a lobby activities report by § 305.0061(a), Government Code, the purpose of the transportation or lodging must include a description of the facts  that the expenditure was necessary to obtain under subsection (a) of this section.


§ 34.46. Registration under Section 305.0041 of the Government Code
Text of Proposed Rule

The deleted language is indicated by [strikethrough] text.

Chapter 34. REGULATION OF LOBBYISTS

Subchapter B. REGISTRATION REQUIRED

[§ 34.46. Registration under Section 305.0041 of the Government Code

(a) For purposes of the $75 registration fee set by Section 305.005(c)(2) of the Government Code, a person is required to register under Section 305.0041 of the Government Code if:

(1) the person is an independent contractor;

(2) the person’s only direct communication as a registrant is with a member of the executive branch to influence administrative action as an independent contractor;

(3) the compensation for the communication is totally or partially contingent on the outcome of a purchasing decision or negotiations regarding such decisions and the amount of the purchasing decision does not exceed $10 million; and

(4) the person is also required to register under the compensation or reimbursement threshold in Section 305.003(a)(2) of the Government Code but does not exceed the expenditure threshold set by Section 305.003(a)(1) of the Government Code.

(b) A person required to register under Section 305.0041 of the Government Code is considered a registrant for purposes of this chapter and Chapter 305 of the Government Code.

(c) An independent contractor who is required to register as a lobbyist under Chapter 305 of the Government Code but who does not meet all the criteria in subsection (a) of this section is subject to the $750 registration fee set by Section 305 .005 (c)(3) of the Government Code.

(d) An independent contractor who qualifies for the $75 registration fee under subsection (a) of this section, but that before the end of the calendar year ceases to meet the criteria under subsection (a) of this section, becomes subject to the $750 registration fee set by Section 305.005(c)(3) of the Government Code.]


§ 34.73. Reporting by Independent Contractor
Text of Proposed Rule

The deleted language is indicated by [strikethrough] text.

Chapter 34. REGULATION OF LOBBYISTS

Subchapter C. COMPLETING THE REGISTRATION FORM

[§ 34.73. Reporting by Independent Contractor

(a) In addition to the contents required by Section 305.005 of the Government Code and this chapter, a registration filed by an independent contractor whose compensation for the communication is totally or partially contingent on the outcome of a purchasing decision or negotiations regarding such decisions must:

(1) disclose the vendor as a client;

(2) indicate that the client is a vendor of a product or service on whose behalf the independent contractor communicates concerning state agency purchasing decisions or negotiations regarding such decisions;

(3) disclose the amount of the sales commission or such fee;

(4) disclose the amount of the purchasing decision;

(5) if the amount of the sales commission or such fee is based on a percentage of the sale, disclose the amount of the percentage; and

(6) describe the product or service that is the subject of the communication.

(b) If the amount of the sales commission or such fee is not known at the time of the reporting, the registration described by subsection (a) of this section must disclose a reasonable estimate of the maximum amount of the sales commission or such fee and the method under which that amount will be computed.

(c) If the amount of the purchasing decision is not known at the time of the reporting, the registration described by subsection (a) of this section must disclose a reasonable estimate of the maximum amount of the purchasing decision and the method under which that amount will be computed.]


§ 46.3. Definitions
Text of Proposed Rule

The proposed new language is indicated by underlined text.
The deleted language is indicated by [strikethrough] text.

Chapter 46. DISCLOSURE OF INTERESTED PARTIES

§ 46.3. Definitions

(a) “Contract” includes an amended, extended, or renewed contract.

(b) “Business entity” includes an entity through which business is conducted with a governmental entity or state agency, regardless of whether the entity is a for-profit or nonprofit entity. The term does not include a governmental entity or state agency.

(c) “Controlling interest” means: (1) an ownership interest or participating interest in a business entity by virtue of units, percentage, shares, stock, or otherwise that exceeds 10 percent; (2) membership on the board of directors or other governing body of a business entity of which the board or other governing body is composed of not more than 10 members; or (3) service as an officer of a business entity that has four or fewer officers, or service as one of the four officers most highly compensated by a business entity that has more than four officers.

(d) “Interested party” means: (1) a person who has a controlling interest in a business entity with whom a governmental entity or state agency contracts; or (2) an intermediary [a person who actively participates in facilitating a contract or negotiating the terms of a contract with a governmental entity or state agency, including a broker, intermediary, adviser, or attorney for the business entity].

(e) “Intermediary,” for purposes of this rule, means, a person who actively participates in the facilitation of the contract or negotiating the contract, including a broker, adviser, attorney, or representative of or agent for the business entity who:

(1) receives compensation from the business entity for the person's participation;

(2) communicates directly with the governmental entity or state agency on behalf of the business entity regarding the contract; and

(3) is not an employee of the business entity.

 
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