texas ethics commission

Texas Tribune

Harold Simmons, a Dallas businessman and billionaire, philanthropist and Republican mega-donor, died Saturday at Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas. He was 82.

His death was first reported by The Dallas Morning News. Simmons’ wife, Annette, told the paper he had been “very sick for the last two weeks” and said the family had celebrated Christmas at the hospital.

83rd Lege's Regular Session: What Happened, What Didn't

May 28, 2013
Bob Daemmrich/Marjorie Kamys Cotera/Todd Wiseman via Texas Tribune

It's been a whirlwind of an end to the 83rd Legislature's regular session, and with Monday's announcement of a special session, lawmakers aren't done. Here's a look at the deals reached and the measures that fell short during the 140 days of the regular session. 


Todd Wiseman / Ryan Murphy via Texas Tribune

Lawmakers talked a big game about improving transparency this session, but when push came to shove, they did next to nothing to advance it.

Key proposals never even got close, like bills to strengthen reporting of lawmakers’ financial interests, prevent the quick revolving door that sends former legislators into the lobby, and stop the practice of allowing elected officials to draw down both their state salary and their pension.

Veronica Zaragovia/KUT

State lawmakers had a lengthy debate on the House floor Monday when they took up, and passed, a Senate bill that would make changes to a key commission. One that determines the rules state officials must follow. 

The measure by State Sen. Joan Huffman, R-Houston, would make changes to the Texas Ethics Commission, which provides rulemaking and oversight for state officials, like lawmakers, executives and judges, as well as lobbyists and state agency employees.

Ben Philpott, KUT News

Future presidential candidates from Texas may have to foot the bill for their own security on the campaign trail.

Gov. Rick Perry’s unsuccessful run at the White House last year cost taxpayers $3.7 million. And state Rep. Lyle Larson, R-San Antonio, said at a House committee meeting today that the cost of non-state-related security is a burden to Texans.

Todd Wiseman via Texas Tribune

The political action committee for Waste Control Specialists, which is owned by Dallas billionaire Harold Simmons, was fined Wednesday by the Texas Ethics Commission over illegal political contributions. 

The PAC illegally donated nearly $65,000 to 18 state lawmakers — 15 Republicans and 3 Democrats — in 2011, shortly after the organization was formed. At the time, Simmons was the only contributor to the PAC. Texas elections code requires a PAC to have at least 10 donors before it makes a political contribution.