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Relating to the eligibility of persons finally convicted of a felony to run for certain public offices.
No significant fiscal implication to the State is anticipated.
Currently, the Election Code provides that to be eligible for public office, a person must not have been "finally convicted of a felony from which the person has not been pardoned or otherwise released from the resulting disabilities." SB 466 would delete the "resulting disabilities" language, clarifying that only a convicted felon who has received a pardon would be authorized to run for office.
Texas Action recommends opposing SB 466 because it infringes on individual liberty. While we acknowledge that the current law is vague, and there is no legal precedent defining the term "resulting disabilities," we disagree with preventing all individuals who have been convicted of any felony from running for public office. As written, this bill would continue to prevent people who committed nonviolent, first-time offenses from running for public office. For example, in Texas cheating in a fishing tournament is a felony offense - an offense which should not result in prohibition from running for public office. An improvement would be to encourage restoration and reintegration, and let the voters decide whether the individual is fit for public office.