Law:Title 5. Open Government; Ethics. Subtitle A. Open Government from Chapter 556. Political Activities By Certain Public Entities And Individuals (Texas)

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Subtitle A. Open Government

Contents

Chapter 556. Political Activities By Certain Public Entities And Individuals

Section  556.001.  Definitions.

In this chapter:

(1)  "Appropriated money" means money appropriated by the legislature through the General Appropriations Act or other law.

(2)  "State agency" means:

(A)  a department, commission, board, office, or other agency in the executive branch of state government, created under the constitution or a statute, with statewide authority;

(B)  a university system or an institution of higher education as defined by Section 61.003, Education Code; or

(C)  the supreme court, the court of criminal appeals, another entity in the judicial branch of state government with statewide authority, or a court of appeals.

(3)  "State employee" means an individual who is employed by a state agency. The term does not include an elected official or an individual appointed to office by the governor or another officer.

(4)  "State officer" means an individual appointed to office by the governor or another officer.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993. Amended by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1498, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.



Section  556.002.  Application To Certain Entities And Individuals.

(a) This chapter applies to the use of appropriated money by the following public entities and their officers and employees as if the entities were state agencies and their officers and employees were state employees:

(1)  a regional planning commission, council of governments, or similar regional planning agency created under Chapter 391, Local Government Code;

(2)  a local workforce development board created under Subchapter F, Chapter 2308; and

(3)  a community center created under Subchapter A, Chapter 534, Health and Safety Code.

(b)  This chapter does not prohibit the payment of reasonable dues to an organization that represents student interests before the legislature or the Congress of the United States from that portion of mandatory student service fees that is allocated to the student government organization at an institution of higher education. A mandatory student service fee may not be used to influence the outcome of an election.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1035, Sec. 85, eff. June 19, 1997; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1498, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.



Section  556.003.  State Employees' Rights. A S

tate employee has the rights of freedom of association and political participation guaranteed by the state and federal constitutions except as provided by Section 556.004.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993. Amended by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1498, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.



Section  556.004.  Prohibited Acts Of Agencies And Individuals.

(a) A state agency may not use any money under its control, including appropriated money, to finance or otherwise support the candidacy of a person for an office in the legislative, executive, or judicial branch of state government or of the government of the United States. This prohibition extends to the direct or indirect employment of a person to perform an action described by this subsection.

(b)  A state officer or employee may not use a state-owned or state-leased motor vehicle for a purpose described by Subsection (a).

(c)  A state officer or employee may not use official authority or influence or permit the use of a program administered by the state agency of which the person is an officer or employee to interfere with or affect the result of an election or nomination of a candidate or to achieve any other political purpose.

(d)  A state employee may not coerce, attempt to coerce, command, restrict, attempt to restrict, or prevent the payment, loan, or contribution of any thing of value to a person or political organization for a political purpose.

(e)  For purposes of Subsection (c), a state officer or employee does not interfere with or affect the results of an election or nomination if the individual's conduct is permitted by a law relating to the individual's office or employment and is not otherwise unlawful.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993. Amended by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1498, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.



Section  556.005.  Employment Of Lobbyist.

(a) A state agency may not use appropriated money to employ, as a regular full-time or part-time or contract employee, a person who is required by Chapter 305 to register as a lobbyist. Except for an institution of higher education as defined by Section 61.003, Education Code, a state agency may not use any money under its control to employ or contract with an individual who is required by Chapter 305 to register as a lobbyist.

(b)  A state agency may not use appropriated money to pay, on behalf of the agency or an officer or employee of the agency, membership dues to an organization that pays part or all of the salary of a person who is required by Chapter 305 to register as a lobbyist. This subsection does not apply to the payment by a state agency of membership fees under Chapter 81.

(c)  A state agency that violates Subsection (a) is subject to a reduction of amounts appropriated for administration by the General Appropriations Act for the biennium following the biennium in which the violation occurs in an amount not to exceed $100,000 for each violation.

(d)  A state agency administering a statewide retirement plan may enter into a contract to receive assistance or advice regarding the qualified tax status of the plan or on other federal matters affecting the administration of the state agency or its programs if the contractor is not required by Chapter 305 to register as a lobbyist.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993. Amended by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1498, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1999; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 249, Sec. 4.11, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.



Section  556.0055.  Restrictions On Lobbying Expenditures.

(a) A political subdivision or private entity that receives state funds may not use the funds to pay:

(1)  lobbying expenses incurred by the recipient of the funds;

(2)  a person or entity that is required to register with the Texas Ethics Commission under Chapter 305;

(3)  any partner, employee, employer, relative, contractor, consultant, or related entity of a person or entity described by Subdivision (2); or

(4)  a person or entity that has been hired to represent associations or other entities for the purpose of affecting the outcome of legislation, agency rules, ordinances, or other government policies.

(b)  A political subdivision or private entity that violates Subsection (a) is not eligible to receive additional state funds.

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1498, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.



Section  556.006.  Legislative Lobbying.

(a) A state agency may not use appropriated money to attempt to influence the passage or defeat of a legislative measure.

(b)  This section does not prohibit a state officer or employee from using state resources to provide public information or to provide information responsive to a request.

Added by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1035, Sec. 86, eff. June 19, 1997. Amended by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1498, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.



Section  556.007.  Termination Of Employment.

A state employee who causes an employee to be discharged, demoted, or otherwise discriminated against for providing information under Section 556.006(b) or who violates Section 556.004(c) or (d) is subject to immediate termination of employment.

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1498, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.



Section  556.008.  Compensation Prohibition. A S

tate agency may not use appropriated money to compensate a state officer or employee who violates Section 556.004(a), (b), or (c) or Section 556.005 or 556.006(a), or who is subject to termination under Section 556.007.

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1498, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.



Section  556.009.  Notice Of Prohibitions. (a) A State Agency Shall

provide each officer and employee of the agency a copy of Sections 556.004, 556.005, 556.006, 556.007, and 556.008 and require a signed receipt on delivery. A new copy and receipt are required if one of those provisions is changed.

(b)  A state agency shall maintain receipts collected from current officers and employees under this section in a manner accessible for public inspection.

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1498, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.


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