Section 13. General Investigating (Procedural) — (a) The committee
shall have five members of the house appointed by the speaker. The speaker
shall appoint the chair and the vice-chair of the committee.
(b) The committee has all the powers and duties of a general investigating
committee and shall operate as the general investigating committee of the
house according to the procedures prescribed by Subchapter B, Chapter 301,
Government Code, and the rules of the house, as applicable.
(b-1) The committee may begin work as soon as it desires after its members
are appointed. The committee shall meet, organize, and adopt rules of evidence
and procedure and any other necessary rules. The committee rules may not
conflict with Section 301.025, Government Code.
(b-2) Whether or not the legislature is in session, the committee may meet
at any time or place in the state determined necessary by the committee.
(b-3) If the committee decides not to conduct joint hearings as provided by
Section 301.019, Government Code, the committee shall establish a liaison to
fully inform the chair of the senate committee of the nature and progress of any
inquiry by the other committee.
(b-4) On a majority vote of the committee, the committee may conduct
joint hearings and investigations.
(b-5) The committee may:
(1) initiate or continue inquiries and hearings concerning:
(A) state government;
(B) any agency or subdivision of government within the state;
(C) the expenditure of public funds at any level of government
within the state; and
(D) any other matter the committee considers necessary for the
information of the legislature or for the welfare and protection of state citizens;
(2) inspect the records, documents, and files and may examine the
duties, responsibilities, and activities of each state department, agency, and
officer and of each municipality, county, or other political subdivision of the
(b-6) If a person disobeys a subpoena or other process that the committee
lawfully issues, the committee may cite the person for contempt and cause the
person to be prosecuted for contempt according to the procedure prescribed by
Subchapter B, Chapter 301, Government Code, or by other law.
(b-7) The committee shall make reports to members of the legislature that
the committee determines are necessary and appropriate.
(b-8) Information held by the committee that if held by a law enforcement
agency or prosecutor would be excepted from the requirements of Section
552.021, Government Code, under Section 552.108 of that code is confidential
and not subject to public disclosure.
(b-9) If for any reason it is necessary to obtain assistance in addition to
the services provided by the state auditor, attorney general, Texas Legislative
Council, or Department of Public Safety, the committee may employ and
compensate assistants to assist in any investigation, audit, or legal matter.
(c) The committee may investigate a matter related to the misconduct,
malfeasance, misfeasance, abuse of office, or incompetency of an individual
or officer under Chapter 665, Government Code. The committee has all the
powers and duties conferred by that chapter for the purpose of conducting the
investigation, including the authority to propose articles of impeachment.
(d) The committee has original jurisdiction over the receipt, processing,
investigation, and resolution of complaints related to appropriate workplace
conduct under Rule 15, the housekeeping resolution, and policies adopted by the
Committee on House Administration. If a complaint relates to the conduct of a
member of the committee, that member’s employee, or an individual related to
the member or the member’s employee within the third degree by consanguinity
or within the second degree by affinity as determined under Chapter 573,
(1) the member shall not participate in any committee proceedings
related to the complaint; and
(2) the speaker shall designate a member of the house drawn by
lot under Subsection (e) of this section to act in the place of the disqualified
member. The designation of a member under this subsection ends when the
committee makes its final disposition of the complaint.
(e) When a member of the committee is disqualified under Subsection (d) of
this section, the chief clerk shall prepare a list of the currently qualified members
of the house, omitting the names of the speaker, the disqualified member, each
other member of the committee, and any member elected from the same county
as the disqualified member. The chief clerk shall write on a separate piece of
paper of uniform size and color the name of each member that appears on the
prepared list. The chief clerk shall deposit the pieces of paper in an opaque
container that is designed to permit the random distribution of the pieces of paper
after their initial deposit and to prevent the viewing of any of the pieces of paper
at any time. After the pieces of paper are randomly distributed in the container,
the sergeant-at-arms shall draw a single piece of paper and deliver that piece of
paper to the chief clerk. The chief clerk shall inform the speaker of the name
drawn by the sergeant-at-arms for designation under Subsection (d).