Mere days ahead of the convening of the 86th Texas Legislature, a state representative who spent the past four months in jail was released.

State Rep. Ron Reynolds (D–Missouri City) was released this morning from the Montgomery County Jail according to Houston’s KPRC-TV. Though sentenced to a year behind bars, he was released early, as anticipated, on good behavior.

Reynolds turned himself in on September 7 to begin serving a yearlong sentence. He was found guilty of five misdemeanor counts of barratry stemming from an ambulance chasing scheme in which his friend, a chiropractor, convinced patients to sign a contract that retained Reynolds as their legal counsel without his presence or even a physical examination.

He voluntarily revoked his appeal bond in September, hoping to become eligible for early release in time to start the next legislative session. Today he got his wish.

While in jail, Reynolds won his re-election bid and filed a number of bills during the pre-filing period. Under state law, Reynolds did not have to resign. Texas Election Code only requires resignations for felony convictions.

Though he may be released and preparing for the session, Reynolds has one last problem. At $52,500, he currently has the highest unpaid ethics fines owed to the Texas Ethics Commission.

Charles Blain

Charles Blain is the president of Urban Reform and Urban Reform Institute. A native of New Jersey, he is based in Houston and writes on municipal finance and other urban issues.

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