Austin, TX -- The J.D. Lambright Local Government Ethics Reform Act, a bill introduced by State Representative Steve Toth and sponsored by Sen. Brandon Creighton that would increase tax-payer funded lobbying transparency and provide for counties with greater ability to fight corruption, was passed by both chambers on Sunday.
H.B. 1495 prohibits lobbyists from entering into contracts with governmental entities unless they submit a form, under penalty of perjury, to the Texas Ethics Commission disclosing the names of interested parties who have a controlling interest in their business. The bill also requires counties, cities, and other political subdivisions to clearly indicate in their budgets the amount each entity spends each year on tax-payer funded lobbying.
"The J.D. Lambright Local Government Ethics Reform Act is a major win for taxpayers. This landmark legislation creates sweeping reforms that increase transparency and promote accountability," Rep. Toth said. "We are empowering citizens to know how much their government spends lobbying the legislature on their dime and against the taxpayer's interest."
"J.D. was one of the finest people I've ever known and I'm very proud that the delegation could accomplish this ethics legislation in his honor," Sen. Creighton said. "I believe he would have been very proud of the policy within this bill."
Rep. Giovanni Capriglione, who worked closely with Rep. Toth and Sen. Creighton on the transparency provisions, expressed his appreciation for Rep. Toth's willingness to work with him on this issue.
"Representative Toth has been a steward for taxpayers since day one," Rep. Capriglione said. "I'm thankful for his leadership and look forward to continuing to work on behalf of the taxpayers beside him."
Rep. Toth also said he was "extremely grateful for Speaker Dennis Bonnen's support and counsel in helping us pass this sweeping reform legislation."
"Throughout the session, Representative Toth has always had the best interest of Montgomery County taxpayers at heart," Speaker Bonnen said. This legislation will go a long way to add accountability, increase transparency, and strengthen the code of ethics at the local level. Texans of District 15 are fortunate to have Rep. Toth fighting on their behalf."
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