HB 1690

84(R) - 2015
House General Investigating & Ethics
House General Investigating & Ethics
General Investigating & Ethics

Vote Recommendation

  • Neutral
  • Neutral
  • Positive
  • Positive
  • Neutral


Phil King


Rodney Anderson
Dennis Bonnen
Cindy Burkett
John E. Davis
Dan Flynn
Dan Huberty
Bryan Hughes
James Keffer
Mark Keough
Jodie Laubenberg
Geanie Morrison
Jim Murphy
Tan Parker
Debbie Riddle
Kenneth Sheets
Ron Simmons
John Smithee
Drew Springer
Ed Thompson

Bill Caption

Relating to the prosecution of offenses against public administration, including ethics offenses.

Fiscal Notes

No significant fiscal implication to the State is anticipated.

Bill Analysis

This legislation would amend the Government Code to require investigations of formal or informal complaints against public administration to be conducted by an officer of the Texas Rangers. If the investigation warrants a prosecution, the appropriate prosecutor of the county would file any charges. This bill also authorizes a prosecutor to request to be recused by the appropriate court; if a recusal is granted, the presiding judges of the administrative judicial regions would select a prosecutor from within the same administrative judicial region.

Vote Recommendation Notes

A government that is limited will always be on guard against public corruption. This legislation advances limited government in at least two ways.

1. By involving a Texas Ranger, and requiring that the Ranger concur with the initial investigation before it could move forward, and by having the case ultimately investigated and advanced by a prosecutor with jurisdiction over the defendant's place of residence, this legislation provides multiple backstops against the possibility of a purely partisan political prosecution. 

2. By requiring public corruption cases to be handled by courts with jurisdiction over the defendant's home, this legislation promotes due process and provides for a better chance for defendants to be tried by a jury of their peers. 

We support this legislation for its commitment to limited government by removing the oversight of this department from the exclusive jurisdiction of one county. The bill supports personal responsibility by allowing counties to see their complaints through the process and to prosecute those cases locally. The investigative responsibilities given to the Texas Rangers are in the interest of justice and amount to a sound decision by the bill's authors.

We also supported a very similar bill in the Senate earlier this session, SB 10.