PROPOSED RULES

At its November 13, 2017 meeting, the Texas Ethics Commission voted to propose amendments to Texas Ethics Commission Rules §§ 12.85, 12.36, 12.37, 12.84 and 12.103, and the repeal of Commission Rules § 18.27.

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 any Commission meeting when the Commission considers the proposed rule.  Information concerning the time and location of Commission meetings is available at https://www.ethics.state.tx.us/tec/meetings.htm.

§ 12.21.  Notice.
Text of Proposed Rule

§ 12.28.  Production of Documents During Preliminary Review.
Text of Proposed Rule

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

§ 12.84.  Notice of Preliminary Review Hearing.
Text of Proposed Rule

§ 12.103.  Notice of Formal Hearing.
Text of Proposed Rule

§ 18.27.  Sworn Complaints
Text of Proposed Rule


§ 12.21.  Notice.
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 A. GENERAL PROVISIONS AND PROCEDURES

§ 12.21. Notice.

(a) A notice required to be sent to a complainant under chapter 571 of the Government Code shall be sent to the address most recently provided by the complainant.

(b) A notice required to be sent to a respondent under chapter 571 of the Government Code shall be sent to the address provided by the complainant or to the address most recently provided by the respondent.

[(c) Notice of a hearing must be given at least 10 business days before the date of the hearing, and must include:

(c) [(d)] A person entitled to receive notice may waive that right by filing a written waiver with the executive director.

(d) [(e)] A respondent or complainant in a complaint may waive the right under section 571.032 of the Government Code to receive written notices related to the complaint by registered or certified mail, restricted delivery, return receipt requested, and may agree to receive written notices related to the complaint by first class mail, electronic mail, or other means.


§ 12.28 Production of Documents During Preliminary Review.
Text of Proposed Rule

The proposed new language is indicated by underlined text.

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

§ 12.28 Production of Documents During Preliminary Review

(a) Before applying for the commission to issue a subpoena under section 571.137(a-1) of the Government Code, commission staff must send to the person from whom records are sought a written request for the production or inspection of documents or other tangible things that:

(b) The person from whom records are sought must produce or allow the inspection of documents or other tangible things within the person’s possession, custody or control within the time provided in the request, or submit in writing, as appropriate:

(c) Commission staff shall provide to the commission any response it receives to its request for production or inspection when applying for a subpoena under section 571.137(a-1) of the Government Code.


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

The proposed new language is indicated by underlined text.

Chapter 12. SWORN COMPLAINTS
Subchapter C. Investigation and Preliminary Review

§ 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 is not required to waive the fine for a respondent who files a late or corrected report or makes a corrective action, but may consider the report or action to be a mitigating factor in determining the amount of any fine.


§ 12.84.  Notice of Preliminary Review Hearing.
Text of Proposed Rule

The proposed new language is indicated by underlined text.

Chapter 12. SWORN COMPLAINTS
Subchapter D. PRELIMINARY REVIEW HEARING

§ 12.84. Notice of Preliminary Review Hearing.

(a) Commission staff shall provide notice of a preliminary review hearing to a respondent and complainant at least 45 days before the date of the hearing and must include:

(1) the date, time, place, and nature of the hearing;

(2) a statement of the legal authority and jurisdiction under which the hearing is to be held;

(3) a reference to the particular sections of the statutes and rules involved; and

(4) a short and plain statement of the factual matters asserted.

(b) Commission staff shall provide to a respondent at least 30 days before the date of the hearing:

(1) a list of proposed witnesses to be called at the hearing and a brief statement as to the nature of the testimony expected to be given by each witness to be called at the hearing; and

(2) copies of all documents expected to be used or introduced as exhibits at the hearing.

(c) The respondent shall provide to commission staff the contents described by subsections (b)(1) and (b)(2) of this section. The contents must be received by commission staff at least 14 days before the date of the hearing. If a respondent or commission staff fail to comply with this section, the commission may reschedule the hearing or proceed with the hearing and exclude at the hearing evidence, documents, and testimony provided by the respondent or commission staff, as applicable, but such failure may be excused upon a showing of good cause.


§ 12.103.  Notice of Formal Hearing.
Text of Proposed Rule

The proposed new language is indicated by underlined text.

Chapter 12. SWORN COMPLAINTS
Subchapter E. FORMAL HEARING

§ 12.103. Notice of Formal Hearing.

(a) Commission staff shall provide notice of a formal hearing to a respondent and complainant at least 60 days before the date of the hearing and must include, in addition to the contents required by section 571.126(b) of the Government Code:

    (1) the date, time, place, and nature of the hearing;

    (2) a statement of the legal authority and jurisdiction under which the hearing is to be held;

    (3) a reference to the particular sections of the statutes and rules involved; and

    (4) a short and plain statement of the factual matters asserted.

(b) Commission staff shall provide to a respondent and complainant at least 30 days before the date of the hearing:

    (1) a list of proposed witnesses to be called at the hearing and a brief statement as to the nature of the testimony expected to be given by each witness to be called at the hearing; and

    (2) copies of all documents expected to be used or introduced as exhibits at the hearing.

(c) The respondent shall provide to commission staff the contents described by subsections (b)(1) and (b)(2) of this section. The contents must be received by commission staff at least 14 days before the date of the hearing. If a respondent or commission staff fail to comply with this section, the commission may reschedule the hearing or proceed with the hearing and exclude at the hearing evidence, documents, and testimony provided by the respondent or commission staff, as applicable, but such failure may be excused upon a showing of good cause.


§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.