Earlier today, the Texas Senate passed a common sense measure that would bring transparency and accountability to the practice whereby government entities use tax dollars to lobby the state legislature.
Senate Bill 445 by State Sen. Konni Burton (R-Colleyville) would simply require that any government entity seeking to spend taxpayer funds lobbying the state legislature approve such expenditures in a public meeting as a standalone agenda item. This would create direct accountability for such lobby efforts – allowing citizens to assign culpability for these expenditures directly to the board members who approve them, instead of burying them deep within some obfuscated budget.
Often, citizens seeking such information about their local governments’ expenditures do so at the discretion of the very bureaucrats from which they seek these items. While some grant it willingly, others delay or ask for prohibitively expensive fees – effectively deterring average citizens from obtaining necessary information about their governments’ expenditures. Burton’s would improve transparency and accountability on a statewide level.
The legislation passed the Texas Senate by a vote of 24-7, it will now proceed to the Texas House which has been traditionally hostile toward lobbying disclosure measures.
All too often, government entities use coercively taken tax-dollars for legislative purposes that are at direct odds with the interests of the taxpayers funding them. Burton has taken a step in the right direction with SB 445, which would make these efforts directly attributable to the elected officials approving them and give citizens the information they need to hold them accountable for such measures.
“I am extremely proud the Texas Senate passed SB445 out today with bipartisan support,” said Burton. “Many taxpayers are unaware of this practice and our bill provides strong transparency and disclosure requirements to help better inform them. I came to Austin to be an advocate for taxpayers and I am extremely proud of the bill the Senate passed today that does exactly that.”