Monday, March 27, 2017

#TXLEGE: Senate state affairs hears taxpayer funded lobbying DISCLOSURE bill....

"And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. Amen.
John 21:25

[Note: You can see our testimony at approximately the 75 minute mark here.]

This morning, the Senate State Affairs committee heard SB 445 (Burton), which would require political subdivisions to disclose the contracts they use to hire lobbyists at the Capitol.  It would also require a public, recorded, vote of the relevant governing body before they could hire a lobbyist.  Honestly, it's astonishing they weren't already required to do so.

Taxpayer funded lobbying is a wicked and pernicious practice that should be banned entirely.  It's anti-taxpayer.  It's anti-property rights.  And it's anti-School child.  It enables a corrupt shell game that benefits all kinds of special interests at the local level.

Thus, the bill considered today doesn't go nearly far enough, but it is constitute a meaningful step in the right direction.

And sometimes, at the Capitol, you just need to accept that legislators are only comfortable going so far at any particular time; in the latter part of a session, you can't let the perfect be the enemy of the significantly better.

We listed the Bible verse above because, in many ways, the metaphor of the world not being able to contain the books that could be written sums up our feelings about the evils of this practice.  In preparing to testify, the challenge was how to sum it up in two minutes.  Thus, we'll stick with the 50,000 foot overview.

By holding this hearing, the Senate has already done more to address this issue than any legislature ever has before.  This bill is significantly better than the status quo, and if this is where you can get 19 votes, then the legislature should pass it.  But the practice needs to be banned entirely, and we will continue to advocate in that direction.

Bottom Line: Thank you to Senator Burton for raising the profile of this issue and thank you to the committee for giving this issue more attention than it's ever received in any previous session; #ONWARD....


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