PROPOSED RULES

The Texas Ethics Commission voted to propose amendments to Commission Rules §§ 6.1, 12.87, 20.5 and 20.33, new Commission Rules §§ 12.31, 12.33, 12.36, 27.1 and 27.101, and the repeal of Commission Rules §18.27. New rules §§ 27.1 and 27.101 are proposed under a new chapter entitled Judicial Campaign Fairness Act.

The Commission invites public comment on the proposals. A written statement should be emailed to public_comment@ethics.state.tx.us, or mailed or delivered to Seana Willing, Texas Ethics Commission, P.O. Box 12070, Austin, Texas 78711-2070, or sent 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 the Commission meeting when the Commission considers the proposed rule. Information concerning the time and location of Commission meetings is available at http://www.ethics.state.tx.us/tec/meetings.htm.

§ 6.1.  Definitions.
Text of Proposed Rule

§ 12.31. Conduct and Decorum.
Text of Proposed Rule

§ 12.33. Sanctioning Authority.
Text of Proposed Rule

§ 12.36.  Assessment of Civil Penalty.
Text of Proposed Rule

§ 12.87.  Resolution of Preliminary Review Hearing.
Text of Proposed Rule

§ 18.27.  Sworn Complaints
Text of Proposed Rule

§ 20.5. Reports Filed with a County Filing Authority.
Text of Proposed Rule

§ 20.33. Termination of Campaign Treasurer Appointment by Commission.
Text of Proposed Rule

§ 27.1. Applicability.
Text of Proposed Rule

§ 27.101. When a Declaration of Compliance or Declaration of Intent is Required.
Text of Proposed Rule


§ 6.1.  Definitions.
Text of Proposed Rule

The proposed new language is indicated by underlined text.

Chapter 6. ORGANIZATION AND ADMINISTRATION
Subchapter A. GENERAL RULES

§ 6.1. Definitions.

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

[…]

(20) Judicial office--The office of:

(21) Non-judicial office--An elective public office and the secretary of state, but not including an office described by subsection (20) of this section.


§12.31.  Conduct and Decorum.
Text of Proposed Rule

The proposed new language is indicated by underlined text.

Chapter 12. SWORN COMPLAINTS
Subchapter A. GENERAL PROVISIONS AND PROCEDURES

§12.31. Conduct and Decorum.

(a) Parties, representatives, and other participants at a hearing shall conduct themselves with dignity, show courtesy and respect for one another and for the commission, and follow any additional guidelines of decorum prescribed by the presiding officer, including adherence to the amount of time allotted for the hearing. Attorneys shall adhere to the standards of conduct in the Texas Lawyer’s Creed promulgated by the Supreme Court of Texas and the Court of Criminal Appeals and the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct promulgated by the Supreme Court of Texas. 

(b) Attorneys should advise their clients and witnesses of the applicable rules of conduct and decorum.

(c) All objections, arguments, and other comments by parties shall be directed to the commission and not to an opposing party.

(d) While a party is addressing the commission or questioning a witness, any other party shall not interrupt for any purpose except to make a valid objection.

(e) Parties shall not approach the dais without leave of the presiding officer and must not lean on the dais.

(f) Parties shall remain seated at the counsel table at all times except:

(g) Parties must question witnesses and deliver arguments to the commission while seated at the counsel table or standing at the lectern. If a party seeks to question or argue from another location, leave of the presiding officer must be requested and granted.

(h) Parties must request leave of the presiding officer to conduct a demonstration. 

(i) The presiding officer may take appropriate action to maintain and enforce proper conduct and decorum, including:


§ 12.33.  Sanctioning Authority.
Text of Proposed Rule

The proposed new language is indicated by underlined text.

Chapter 12. SWORN COMPLAINTS
Subchapter A. GENERAL PROVISIONS AND PROCEDURES

§12.33. Sanctioning Authority.

(a) The presiding officer has the authority to impose appropriate sanctions against a party or its representative for:

(b) The presiding officer may issue an order imposing sanctions when justified by party or representative behavior described in subsection (a) of this section and after notice and opportunity for hearing. Sanctions may include:


§ 12.36.  Assessment of Civil Penalty.
Text of Proposed Rule

The proposed new language is indicated by underlined text.

Chapter 12. SWORN COMPLAINTS
Subchapter A. GENERAL PROVISIONS AND PROCEDURES

§ 12.36. Assessment of Civil Penalty.

(a) The commission shall consider the factors listed in section 571.177 of the Government Code when assessing a civil penalty against a respondent, including whether the respondent timely responds to written questions or subpoenas. 

(b) The commission may consider the fine amounts established by chapter 18 of this title in determining the amount of a fine to be assessed in a sworn complaint proceeding.

(c) The commission may consider a late or corrected report or corrective action to be a mitigating factor in determining the amount of a fine, if any.


§ 12.87.  Resolution of Preliminary Review Hearing.
Text of Proposed Rule

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

Chapter 12. SWORN COMPLAINTS
Subchapter C.  INVESTIGATION AND PRELIMINARY REVIEW.

§ 12.87. Resolution of Preliminary Review Hearing.

(a) At the conclusion of a preliminary review hearing in which the commission finds credible evidence of a violation:

(b) If the respondent does not comply with subsection (a)(2), commission staff may request that the commission order a formal hearing.

(c) Commission staff shall report to the commission any written counter offer, staff’s recommendation to accept or reject a counter offer, if any, or any written request that a matter be set for a formal hearing received from the respondent under
subsection (a)(2) of this section.

(d) After a written counter offer or a written request that a matter be set for a formal hearing is reported to the commission, the commission by record vote of at least six commissioners shall:

(e) The executive director shall dismiss a complaint if the commission does not order a formal hearing within 180 days after the conclusion of a preliminary review hearing.

(f) This section may not be construed as limiting the commission’s authority to agree to the settlement of a complaint under section 571.121 of the Government Code, including sending a revised proposed resolution to a respondent.


§18.27.  Sworn Complaints.
Text of Proposed Rule

The deleted language is indicated by [strikethrough] text.

Chapter 18. GENERAL RULES CONCERNING REPORTS

[§ 18.27. Sworn Complaints.

(a) The commission may consider the fine amounts established by this chapter in determining the amount of a fine to be assessed in a sworn complaint proceeding.

(b) The commission is not required to waive the fine for a respondent who files a corrected report but may consider the correction to be a mitigating factor in determining the amount of any fine.]


§ 20.5.  Reports Filed with A County 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

§ 20.5.  Reports Filed with a County Filing Authority.

(a) The county clerk (or the county elections administrator or tax assessor-collector who is required to perform the functions of the county clerk as provided by §§31.043 or 31.071 of the Election Code) [assessor-collector, as applicable in a particular county)] is the appropriate filing authority for reports filed by:

[(b) A report must be filed with both the county filing authority and the commission if the report is required to be filed by a candidate for or holder of a judicial district office filled by voters of only one county, or by a specific-purpose committee supporting, opposing, or assisting such a candidate or officeholder. However, the campaign treasurer appointment must be filed only with the commission.]


§ 20.33.  Termination of Campaign Treasurer Appointment by Commission.
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

§ 20.33. Termination of Campaign Treasurer Appointment by Commission.

(a) The commission may terminate the campaign treasurer appointment of an inactive candidate or an inactive political committee.

(b) For purposes of subsection (a) of this section and Section 252.0131, Election Code, a candidate becomes “inactive” if the candidate files a campaign treasurer appointment with the commission and more than one year has lapsed since the candidate has filed any required campaign finance reports with the commission.

(c) For purposes of subsection (a) of this section and Section 252.0131, Election Code, a political committee becomes “inactive” if the political committee files a campaign treasurer appointment with the commission and more than one year has lapsed since the campaign treasurer of the political committee has filed any required campaign finance reports with the commission.

(d) This section does not apply to a candidate who holds [has been elected to] an office specified by Section 252.005(1) or (5), Election Code.


§ 27.1.  Applicability.
Text of Proposed Rule

The proposed new language is indicated by underlined text.

Chapter 27. JUDICIAL CAMPAIGN FAIRNESS ACT
Subchapter A. GENERAL RULES

§27.1. Applicability.

This chapter applies only to a candidate, officeholder, political committee, political contribution, or political expenditure to which the Judicial Campaign Fairness Act, Subchapter F, Chapter 253, Election Code, applies.


§ 27.101.  When a Declaration of Compliance or Declaration of Intent is Required.
Text of Proposed Rule

The proposed new language is indicated by underlined text.

Chapter 27. JUDICIAL CAMPAIGN FAIRNESS ACT
Subchapter C. GENERAL REPORTING RULES

§27.101. When a Declaration of Compliance or Declaration of Intent Is Required.

(a) “Declaration” means a declaration of compliance or declaration of intent required to be filed under section 253.164, Election Code.

(b) A person is required to file a declaration only when:

(c) A candidate for a judicial office who decides to seek a different judicial office that requires the candidate to transfer their campaign treasurer appointment to another filing authority under section 20.206 of this title shall also file with the other authority:

(d) A declaration remains in effect for the judicial office sought by a candidate at the time it is filed. If a candidate for a judicial office decides to seek a different judicial office, the declaration that is in effect remains in effect for the subsequent judicial office.

 
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