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No significant fiscal implication to the State is anticipated. The agency indicates that any costs associated with the bill could be absorbed within existing resources.
Local government impact:
A Class C misdemeanor is punishable by a fine of not more than $500. Costs associated with enforcement and prosecution could likely be absorbed within existing resources. Revenue gain from fines imposed and collected is not anticipated to have a significant fiscal impact. In addition to the fine, punishment can include up to 180 days of deferred disposition.
The bill would amend Government Code to make certain local filers subject to enforcement under the Ethics Commission. The bill would also require the Ethics Commission to adopt rules related to administration of the expanded enforcement duties.
HB 22 amends the Government Code to require the Texas Ethics Commission to adopt rules prescribing how the commission will notify any person or provide any notice required by statutory provisions relating to ethics, the registration of lobbyists, or the regulation of political funds and campaigns under the Election Code. The bill includes among the laws administered and enforced by the commission:
The bill includes such added laws among the laws for which the commission is required to prepare a written advisory opinion on request from a person subject to such laws.
The bill makes electronic report data saved in a commission temporary storage location for later retrieval and editing before certain reports submitted to the commission are filed confidential and prohibits the disclosure of such data. The bill subjects the information disclosed in the report to the law requiring the filing of the report after the report is filed.
The bill authorizes the commission to disclose to a law enforcement agency information that is otherwise confidential to protect the public interest but limits such disclosure to the extent necessary for the recipient of the information to perform a duty or function that is in addition to the commission's duties and functions. The bill establishes that the information disclosed to a law enforcement agency under this provision remains confidential and requires the agency to take appropriate measures to maintain that confidentiality. The bill makes it a Class C misdemeanor to disclose confidential information obtained from a disclosure under this provision.
HB 22 removes a requirement that the commission mail to each individual required to file a personal financial statement a notice containing specified information and replaces it with a requirement that the commission notify each individual required to file such a statement of the requirement that the individual file a personal financial statement, of the applicable filing dates for the financial statement, and of the manner in which the individual may electronically file the financial statement and access instructions for filing financial statements on the commission's website.
Finally, HB 22 establishes, for purposes of statutory provisions relating to a civil penalty for the filing of a frivolous, groundless, or bad-faith complaint to the commission, that a complaint is groundless if the complaint does not allege a violation of the law that is material, nonclerical, or nontechnical.
Note: HB 3448 is a duplicate of this bill.
The bill does not directly abridge or affirm our liberty principles. We remain neutral on HB 22.