Law:Title 5. Open Government; Ethics. Subtitle B. Ethics from Chapter 573. Degrees Of Relationship; Nepotism Prohibitions (Texas)

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Subtitle B. Ethics

Contents

Chapter 573. Degrees Of Relationship; Nepotism Prohibitions

Subchapter A. General Provisions

Section  573.001.  Definitions.

In this chapter:

(1)  "Candidate" has the meaning assigned by Section 251.001, Election Code.

(2)  "Position" includes an office, clerkship, employment, or duty.

(3)  "Public official" means:

(A)  an officer of this state or of a district, county, municipality, precinct, school district, or other political subdivision of this state;

(B)  an officer or member of a board of this state or of a district, county, municipality, school district, or other political subdivision of this state; or

(C)  a judge of a court created by or under a statute of this state.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993.



Section  573.002.  Degrees Of Relationship.

Except as provided by Section 573.043, this chapter applies to relationships within the third degree by consanguinity or within the second degree by affinity.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993.



Subchapter B. Relationships By Consanguinity Or By Affinity

Section  573.021.  Method Of Computing Degree Of Relationship.

The degree of a relationship is computed by the civil law method.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993.



Section  573.022.  Determination Of Consanguinity.

(a) Two individuals are related to each other by consanguinity if:

(1)  one is a descendant of the other; or

(2)  they share a common ancestor.

(b)  An adopted child is considered to be a child of the adoptive parent for this purpose.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993.



Section  573.023.  Computation Of Degree Of Consanguinity.

(a) The degree of relationship by consanguinity between an individual and the individual's descendant is determined by the number of generations that separate them. A parent and child are related in the first degree, a grandparent and grandchild in the second degree, a great-grandparent and great-grandchild in the third degree and so on.

(b)  If an individual and the individual's relative are related by consanguinity, but neither is descended from the other, the degree of relationship is determined by adding:

(1)  the number of generations between the individual and the nearest common ancestor of the individual and the individual's relative; and

(2)  the number of generations between the relative and the nearest common ancestor.

(c)  An individual's relatives within the third degree by consanguinity are the individual's:

(1)  parent or child (relatives in the first degree);

(2)  brother, sister, grandparent, or grandchild (relatives in the second degree); and

(3)  great-grandparent, great-grandchild, aunt who is a sister of a parent of the individual, uncle who is a brother of a parent of the individual, nephew who is a child of a brother or sister of the individual, or niece who is a child of a brother or sister of the individual (relatives in the third degree).

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993.



Section  573.024.  Determination Of Affinity.

(a) Two individuals are related to each other by affinity if:

(1)  they are married to each other; or

(2)  the spouse of one of the individuals is related by consanguinity to the other individual.

(b)  The ending of a marriage by divorce or the death of a spouse ends relationships by affinity created by that marriage unless a child of that marriage is living, in which case the marriage is considered to continue as long as a child of that marriage lives.

(c)  Subsection (b) applies to a member of the board of trustees of or an officer of a school district only until the youngest child of the marriage reaches the age of 21 years.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 260, Sec. 32, eff. May 30, 1995.



Section  573.025.  Computation Of Degree Of Affinity.

(a) A husband and wife are related to each other in the first degree by affinity. For other relationships by affinity, the degree of relationship is the same as the degree of the underlying relationship by consanguinity. For example: if two individuals are related to each other in the second degree by consanguinity, the spouse of one of the individuals is related to the other individual in the second degree by affinity.

(b)  An individual's relatives within the third degree by affinity are:

(1)  anyone related by consanguinity to the individual's spouse in one of the ways named in Section 573.023(c); and

(2)  the spouse of anyone related to the individual by consanguinity in one of the ways named in Section 573.023(c).

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993.



Subchapter C. Nepotism Prohibitions

Section  573.041.  Prohibition Applicable To Public Official.

A public official may not appoint, confirm the appointment of, or vote for the appointment or confirmation of the appointment of an individual to a position that is to be directly or indirectly compensated from public funds or fees of office if:

(1)  the individual is related to the public official within a degree described by Section 573.002; or

(2)  the public official holds the appointment or confirmation authority as a member of a state or local board, the legislature, or a court and the individual is related to another member of that board, legislature, or court within a degree described by Section 573.002.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993.



Section  573.042.  Prohibition Applicable To Candidate. (a)

A candidate may not take an affirmative action to influence the following individuals regarding the appointment, reappointment, confirmation of the appointment or reappointment, employment, reemployment, change in status, compensation, or dismissal of another individual related to the candidate within a degree described by Section 573.002:

(1)  an employee of the office to which the candidate seeks election; or

(2)  an employee or another officer of the governmental body to which the candidate seeks election, if the office the candidate seeks is one office of a multimember governmental body.

(b)  The prohibition imposed by this section does not apply to a candidate's actions taken regarding a bona fide class or category of employees or prospective employees.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993.



Section  573.043.  Prohibition Applicable To District Judge.

A district judge may not appoint as official stenographer of the judge's district an individual related to the judge or to the district attorney of the district within the third degree.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993.



Section  573.044.  Prohibition Applicable To Trading.

A public official may not appoint, confirm the appointment of, or vote for the appointment or confirmation of the appointment of an individual to a position in which the individual's services are under the public official's direction or control and that is to be compensated directly or indirectly from public funds or fees of office if:

(1)  the individual is related to another public official within a degree described by Section 573.002; and

(2)  the appointment, confirmation of the appointment, or vote for appointment or confirmation of the appointment would be carried out in whole or partial consideration for the other public official appointing, confirming the appointment, or voting for the appointment or confirmation of the appointment of an individual who is related to the first public official within a degree described by Section 573.002.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993.



Subchapter D. Exceptions

Section  573.061.  General Exceptions.

Section 573.041 does not apply to:

(1)  an appointment to the office of a notary public or to the confirmation of that appointment;

(2)  an appointment of a page, secretary, attendant, or other employee by the legislature for attendance on any member of the legislature who, because of physical infirmities, is required to have a personal attendant;

(3)  a confirmation of the appointment of an appointee appointed to a first term on a date when no individual related to the appointee within a degree described by Section 573.002 was a member of or a candidate for the legislature, or confirmation on reappointment of the appointee to any subsequent consecutive term;

(4)  an appointment or employment of a bus driver by a school district if:

(A)  the district is located wholly in a county with a population of less than 35,000; or

(B)  the district is located in more than one county and the county in which the largest part of the district is located has a population of less than 35,000;

(5)  an appointment or employment of a personal attendant by an officer of the state or a political subdivision of the state for attendance on the officer who, because of physical infirmities, is required to have a personal attendant;

(6)  an appointment or employment of a substitute teacher by a school district; or

(7)  an appointment or employment of a person by a municipality that has a population of less than 200.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 76, Sec. 5.07(a), eff. Sept. 1, 1995; Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 260, Sec. 33, eff. May 30, 1995; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 31.01(48), eff. Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1026, Sec. 1, eff. June 18, 1999.



Section  573.062.  Continuous Employment.

(a) A nepotism prohibition prescribed by Section 573.041 or by a municipal charter or ordinance does not apply to an appointment, confirmation of an appointment, or vote for an appointment or confirmation of an appointment of an individual to a position if:

(1)  the individual is employed in the position immediately before the election or appointment of the public official to whom the individual is related in a prohibited degree; and

(2)  that prior employment of the individual is continuous for at least:

(A)  30 days, if the public official is appointed;

(B)  six months, if the public official is elected at an election other than the general election for state and county officers; or

(C)  one year, if the public official is elected at the general election for state and county officers.

(b)  If, under Subsection (a), an individual continues in a position, the public official to whom the individual is related in a prohibited degree may not participate in any deliberation or voting on the appointment, reappointment, confirmation of the appointment or reappointment, employment, reemployment, change in status, compensation, or dismissal of the individual if that action applies only to the individual and is not taken regarding a bona fide class or category of employees.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993.



Subchapter E. Enforcement

Section  573.081.  Removal In General.

(a) An individual who violates Subchapter C or Section 573.062(b) shall be removed from the individual's position. The removal must be made in accordance with the removal provisions in the constitution of this state, if applicable. If a provision of the constitution does not govern the removal, the removal must be by a quo warranto proceeding.

(b)  A removal from a position shall be made immediately and summarily by the original appointing authority if a criminal conviction against the appointee for a violation of Subchapter C or Section 573.062(b) becomes final. If the removal is not made within 30 days after the date the conviction becomes final, the individual holding the position may be removed under Subsection (a).

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993.



Section  573.082.  Removal By Quo Warranto Proceeding.

(a) A quo warranto proceeding under this chapter must be brought by the attorney general in a district court in Travis County or in a district court of the county in which the defendant resides.

(b)  The district or county attorney of the county in which a suit is filed under this section shall assist the attorney general at the attorney general's discretion.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993.



Section  573.083.  Withholding Payment Of Compensation.

A public official may not approve an account or draw or authorize the drawing of a warrant or order to pay the compensation of an ineligible individual if the official knows the individual is ineligible.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993.



Section  573.084.  Criminal Penalty. (a)

An individual commits an offense involving official misconduct if the individual violates Subchapter C or Section 573.062(b) or 573.083.

(b)  An offense under this section is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine not less than $100 or more than $1,000.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993.


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