House approves ethics bill that seeks to strip pensions from public officials with felony convictions
The Texas House voted May 15 on Senate legislation that would revoke government pensions from public officials convicted of felony crimes. The House passed the measure after amending the bill.
The bill, SB 500, is ethics legislation authored by Sen. Van Taylor, R-Plano, in hopes of curbing public corruption. The House amended the bill, and a report is in the hands of the Senate for a final vote. The Senate initially passed the bill Feb. 8.
Among the House drafted amendments is a provision that would allow a court to award part or all of the pension annuity to the beneficiary's spouse. Rep. Carlie Geren, R-Forth Worth, suggested the amendment.
The bill would affect those elected or appointed to a public office. The felony charges must have occurred while the official was in office and relate to the person's official capacity, according to the text of the legislation. Felony charges would include bribery, embezzlement, extortion, theft of public money, perjury, coercion of a public employee or voter, tampering with a governmental record, misuse of official information, conspiracy, or abuse of official capacity.
From a May 9 Valleycentral.com report:
“I hope it sends a very good message to voters that we're serious about this, that we don't want dishonest lawmakers in office,” said Rep. Charlie Geren, R-Fort Worth, who carried the legislation in the House. “We don't want ‘em in there in office any more than the voters want them in office.”