PROPOSED RULES

At its September 27, 2017, meeting, the Texas Ethics Commission voted to propose amendments to Texas Ethics Commission Rules §§ 12.85 and 12.87, and new Commission Rules §§ 12.36 and 12.37, and the repeal of § 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.

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

§ 12.37. Dismissal of Complaint After Public Disclosure.
Text of Proposed Rule

§ 12.85. Preliminary Review Hearing.
Text of Proposed Rule

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

§ 18.27. Sworn Complaints.
Text of Proposed Rule


§ 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 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.


§ 12.37. Dismissal of Complaint After Public Disclosure.
Text of Proposed Rule

The proposed new language is indicated by underlined text.

Chapter 12. SWORN COMPLAINTS

Subchapter A. GENERAL PROVISIONS AND PROCEDURES

§ 12.37. Dismissal of Complaint After Public Disclosure.

If a complainant publicly discloses confidential information about a sworn complaint filed or to be filed by the complainant, the commission may dismiss the complaint with prejudice as to the complainant.


§ 12.85. 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

§ 12.85. Preliminary Review Hearing.

(a) Commission staff [The executive director] and the respondent may present any relevant evidence at a preliminary review hearing, including examination and cross-examination of witnesses.

(b) Commission staff and the respondent may present an opening and closing statement at a preliminary review hearing.


§ 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:

(1) commission staff shall send to the respondent a proposed resolution within 10 days; and

(2) not later than 30 days after the respondent receives the proposed resolution, or by a later date determined by the commission, commission staff must receive from the respondent:

(A) the proposed resolution signed by the respondent;

(B) a written counter offer; or

(C) a written request that the matter be set for a formal hearing.

(b) If the respondent does not comply with paragraph (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:

(1) accept the respondent’s counter offer, if any; or

(2) determine the complaint cannot be resolved and settled and order a formal hearing.

(e) The executive director shall dismiss a complaint if the commission does not order a formal hearing [fails to issue a decision under section 571.126 of the Government Code] 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.]


 
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