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The Single Texas Senator

A Single Man, Never Married, No Kids – Senator Bryan Hughes Authored the Texas ‘Heartbeat’ Bill which takes away women’s right to choose.

LIT’s Scrapbook on Texas Lawyer, Lawmaker and Batchelor, Sen. Bryan Hughes – Who Has Been in Texas Politics for 20 Years

JAN 28, 2023

Douglas Bryan Hughes (born July 21, 1969) is an American attorney and politician who is a Republican member of the Texas State Senate for District 1.

He was first elected to the Texas Senate in November 2016.

Previously, Hughes was

a member of the Texas House of Representatives from 2003 through January 2017

as state representative for District 5, which includes Camp, Harrison, Upshur, and Wood counties in northeastern Texas.

Background

Hughes was born in Quitman and raised in nearby Mineola.

After graduating from Mineola High School in 1987, he enrolled at Tyler Junior College.

In 1992, he earned his undergraduate degree in economics from the University of Texas at Tyler.

In 1995, Hughes received his Juris Doctor degree from Baylor Law School.

He clerked for the U.S. District Judge for the Eastern District of Texas, William M. Steger of Texas.

In 2003, he joined the Lanier law firm.

Texas legislature

Texas House of Representatives

Hughes was elected to the Texas House of Representatives in 2002 after running against incumbent Democratic Representative Bob D. Glaze of Gilmer in Upshur County.

Hughes polled 20,286 votes (52.4 percent) to Glaze’s 18,451 (47.6 percent).

In the 2004 general election, Glaze ran against Hughes again but lost, garnering 23,029 votes (38 percent) to the Republican’s 37,529 (62 percent).

In 2006, no Democrat filed against Hughes and he went on to defeat the Libertarian Timothy J. Carmichael, 26,286 (81.9 percent) to 5,795 (18.1 percent).

Hughes was unopposed in the 2010 general election, when Republicans carried 101 of the 150 seats in the state House.

In 2011, Hughes was on the House Agriculture and Livestock and Human Services committees.

Hughes was renominated in the Republican primary held on May 29, 2012.

He polled 13,015 votes (77.7 percent) to 3,744 (22.4 percent) for his opponent, Mary Lookadoo.

No Democrat opposed him the November 6 general election.

After his 2012 renomination, Hughes announced that he would attempt to unseat Speaker Straus in 2013.

In December, after six months of attempting to line up the necessary commitments, Hughes decided to exit the contest.

Representative David Simpson of Longview, who later opposed Hughes in his 2016 state senate race, then entered the contest for Speaker with Hughes’ support.

However, Simpson also withdrew before the balloting for Speaker began, and Straus was re-elected without opposition on January 8, 2013.

Joe Straus also retained the speakership in 2016 with significant support.

Texas Senate

When Kevin Eltife announced his retirement from the state Senate, Hughes entered the Republican primary to succeed Eltife.

Hughes carried the backing of Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, the presiding officer of the state senate.

In the primary, Hughes won a plurality of the vote (48 percent), but fell short of a majority in a multi-candidate field.

In the runoff election on May 24, 2016, Hughes defeated fellow State Representative David Simpson, 27,348 (69.3 percent) to 12,105 (30.7 percent).

He faced no Democratic opponent in the November 8 general election.

Voting Rights

In 2021, Hughes introduced legislation to limit voting rights in Texas.

This was part of a broader national effort by Republicans to restrict voting rights in the wake of the 2020 elections.

Joe Biden won the 2020 presidential election, but Donald Trump refused to concede and he and his Republican allies made false claims of extensive election fraud.

Civil rights and voting rights groups have claimed that the proposed legislation is an attempt to restrict the access to voting of voters of color.

One provision would prohibit early voting on Sunday mornings, which was a traditional period of voting for Black churchgoers as part of ‘Souls to the Polls’ events.

Hughes defended his attempts to roll back voting by mail, arguing that it was prone to fraud; he offered no evidence for his claims and existing studies show fraud to be exceptionally rare.

Hughes has inaccurately claimed that Texas has 400 open voter fraud cases; the Texas Attorney General’s office had 43 pending voter fraud cases, of which only one was in relation to the 2020 election.

Abortion

On March 11, 2021, Hughes introduced a fetal heartbeat bill entitled the Texas Heartbeat Bill (SB8) into the Texas Senate and state representative Shelby Slawson of Stephenville, Texas introduced a companion bill (HB1515) into the state house.

The bill allowed private citizens to sue abortion providers after a fetal heartbeat has been detected.

The SB8 version of the bill passed both chambers and was signed into law by Texas Governor Greg Abbott on May 19, 2021.

It took effect on September 1, 2021.

The bill does not make an exception for rape, incest, or life of the mother.

Education on civil rights movement

In 2021, Hughes authored legislation to prevent public schools from requiring that students read writings by prominent civil rights figures, such as Susan B. Anthony, Cesar Chavez, and Martin Luther King Jr., when covering women’s suffrage and the civil rights movement in social studies classes.

Don Harris

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As the first person in his family to go to college, Don Harris holds dual degrees in religion and history.

He attended Nazarene Theological Seminary before changing to the study of law and receiving his J.D. from Southern Methodist University.

During law school, he clerked for Representative Dan Branch.

After graduation, Don began his law career in Austin where he was general counsel for a large mortgage firm.

Don was raised in Houston, where he played football for Spring Woods High School. He and his wife, Betsy, are the proud parents of three sons.

Practice Areas

Corporate Business Counselor, Business Law
Real Estate
Estate Planning and Probate
Sports & Entertainment
Special Needs Law
Special Needs Trusts
Agency and Management

Education

Bachelors of Arts, Religion, Mid-America Nazarene College, 1989
Bachelors of Arts, History, Mid-America Nazarene College, 1991
Juris Doctor, Southern Methodist University School of Law, 1996

Admission to the Bar
State of Texas (1996)

Memberships and Affiliations
Smith County Bar Association
Texas State Bar Association

Ty Beard

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ty Beard has practiced law since 1996.

Originally, Ty intended to be a history professor.

He received his B.S. in History and began work on his M.A. in History with plans to then pursue a Ph.D.

However, he became intrigued by the law and went to law school instead.

Ty is an experienced business attorney with extensive experience in mergers/acquisitions, business transactions, business litigation, and advanced estate planning.

He is the founder and managing partner of ETI Investments, Ltd., a private equity firm.

He is also Chairman of the Board of Tango Networks, Inc.

Practice Areas

Defamation
Tortious Interference
Business Litigation
Business Transactions
Mergers and Acquisitions
Estate Planning
Private Equity Transactions
Strategic Planning and Structuring
Conflict Negotiation

Education

Bachelors of Science, History, The University of Texas at Tyler, 1988
Teacher certification, History, Stephen F. Austin State University, 1990
Juris Doctor, Southern Methodist University School of Law, 1996

Admission to the Bar
State of Texas (1996)

Memberships and Affiliations
State Bar of Texas
National Rifle Association (NRA)
Mensa

Bryan Hughes is a lifelong Texan and the first member of his family to receive a bachelor’s degree.

He attended Tyler Junior College and the University of Texas at Tyler, receiving his B.B.A. in Economics, cum laude, in 1992.

He received his law degree in 1995 from Baylor University and then served as a law clerk to the Hon. William M. Steger in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas.

Since entering private law practice in 1997, he has focused on civil litigation as well as advising and representing entrepreneurs and businesses of all sizes.

In 2002, Bryan was elected to represent District Five in the Texas House of Representatives, where he sat on the House Committee on Appropriations, the House Judiciary Committee, as well as the House Committee on Juvenile Justice and Family Issues.

Bryan was chosen as the Baylor Young Lawyer of the Year in 2008 and was honored by the Judges of Texas with the Friend of the Judiciary Award in 2014.

Bryan has also received numerous awards for his work in the Legislature.

Elected to the Texas Senate in 2016, Bryan currently represents the 800,000 people of Senate District One in northeast Texas.

He is Chairman of the Committee on State Affairs, Chairman of the Committee on Administration, and a member of the Committees on Education, Criminal Justice, and Natural Resources & Economic Development.

In addition, Bryan is a trained Texas Mediator and a Fellow of the Texas Center for Public Policy Dispute Resolution.

In his time away from the Senate and Franklin Scott Conway, you can find Bryan involved with his church, playing his guitar, and brushing up on Texas and U.S. history.

Baylor Law School, J.D.
University of Texas at Tyler, BBA
Tyler Junior College

ADMISSIONS

U.S. District Court – Eastern District of Texas
U.S. Court of Appeals – District of Columbia Circuit
U.S. Supreme Court

Chairman, Texas Senate Committee on State Affairs (2019-Present)
Community Partner of the Year, Tyler Independent School District (2019)
Friend of the Judiciary Award, Judges of the State of Texas (2014-2015)
Distinguished Alumni Award, University of Texas at Tyler (2013)
Baylor Young Lawyer of the Year (2008)
Certified Texas Mediator

Case Number Date Filed Style v. Case Type COA Case Number Trial Court Case Number Trial Court County Trial Court Appellate Court
 10 items in 1 pages
22-0527 6/29/2022 IN RE KEN PAXTON; TEXAS MEDICAL BOARD… Petition for Writ of Mandamus 01-22-00480-CV 2022-38397 Harris 269th District Court SC
21-1039 12/6/2021 MARK LEE DICKSON AND RIGHT TO LIFE EA… THE AFIYA CENTER AND TEXAS EQUAL ACCE… Petition for Review/Cause under Rule 53.1 05-20-00988-CV DC-20-08104 Dallas 116th District Court SC
21-0978 11/15/2021 THE LILITH FUND FOR REPRODUCTIVE EQUI… MARK LEE DICKSON AND RIGHT TO LIFE EA… Petition for Review/Cause under Rule 53.1 07-21-00005-CV D-1-GN-20-003113 Travis 53rd District Court SC
21-0262 3/23/2021 DON ZIMMERMAN CITY OF AUSTIN; AND SPENCER CRONK, IN… Petition for Review originally filed as 53.7(f) 08-20-00039-CV D-1-GN-19-005930 Travis 98th District Court SC
20-0725 9/18/2020 PATRICK VON DOHLEN, BRIAN GRECO, KEVI… CITY OF SAN ANTONIO Petition for Review/Cause under Rule 53.1 04-20-00071-CV 2019CI18637 Bexar 37th District Court SC
19-0408 5/13/2019 DEBORAH PATTERSON HOWARD GOUGHNOUR ROBERT H. PATTERSON, JR., TRUSTEE OF … Petition for Review under Tex. R. App. P. 53.1 12-17-00234-CV 112216-C Smith 241st District Court SC
03-0043 1/15/2003 ALFORD-CHEVROLET-GEO, ET AL. PAT MURPHY Third Petition for Review originally filed as 53.7(f) 06-02-00059-CV 168-96 Marion 115th District Court SC
03-0044 1/15/2003 ALFORD-CHEVROLET-GEO, ET AL. JETT JONES AND ENVO-TECH, INC. Third Petition for Review originally filed as 53.7(f) 06-02-00058-CV 30-96 Marion 115th District Court SC
00-1290 12/18/2000 IN RE ALFORD CHEVROLET-GEO, ET AL. Petition for Writ of Mandamus 06-00-00126-CV 30-96 Marion 115th District Court SC
97-1171 12/12/1997 IN RE ALFORD CHEVROLET-GEO ET AL. Mandamus/Cause 06-97-00124-CV 30-96 Marion 115th District Court SC
201658985- 7
Disposed (Final)
CRESTVIEW FINANCIAL LLC vs. BURDEN TRANSPORT LLC D/B/A BURDEN TRANSP 9/1/2016 189 Civil Foreign Judgment
200930377- 7
Disposed (Final)
HARRIS COUNTY, ET AL vs.
AP PARTNERS CORPORATION
5/15/2009 295 Civil Tax Delinquency
200411084- 7
Disposed (Final)
SCHABILION, MELVIN (IND AND PER REP OF OTTO SCHABI vs. ALLIED SIGNAL INC 3/2/2004 011 Civil MDL – ASBESTOSIS
200411084A- 7
Disposed (Final)
DUCKWORTH, JOHNNY JR vs.
ALLIED SIGNAL INC
3/2/2004 011 Civil SEVERANCE
200202263- 7
Disposed (Final)
FINANCIAL FEDERAL CREDIT INC (TEXAS CORP vs. MASTER MACHINING CORPORATION (WISCONSIN 1/17/2002 113 Civil Landlord / Tenant

GOVERNMENT CODE

TITLE 5. OPEN GOVERNMENT; ETHICS

SUBTITLE B. ETHICS

CHAPTER 572. PERSONAL FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE, STANDARDS OF CONDUCT, AND CONFLICT OF INTEREST

SUBCHAPTER A. GENERAL PROVISIONS

Sec. 572.001. POLICY; LEGISLATIVE INTENT. (a) It is the policy of this state that a state officer or state employee may not have a direct or indirect interest, including financial and other interests, or engage in a business transaction or professional activity, or incur any obligation of any nature that is in substantial conflict with the proper discharge of the officer’s or employee’s duties in the public interest.

(b) To implement this policy and to strengthen the faith and confidence of the people of this state in state government, this chapter provides standards of conduct and disclosure requirements to be observed by persons owing a responsibility to the people and government of this state in the performance of their official duties.

(c) It is the intent of the legislature that this chapter serve not only as a guide for official conduct of those persons but also as a basis for discipline of those who refuse to abide by its terms.

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

Sec. 572.002. GENERAL DEFINITIONS. In this chapter:

(1) “Appointed officer” means:

(A) the secretary of state;

(B) an individual appointed with the advice and consent of the senate to the governing board of a state-supported institution of higher education;

(C) an officer of a state agency who is appointed for a term of office specified by the Texas Constitution or a statute of this state, excluding an appointee to a vacated elective office; or

(D) an individual who is a member of the governing board or commission of a state agency, who is not appointed, and who is not otherwise:

(i) an elected officer;

(ii) an officer described by Paragraphs (A) through (C); or

(iii) an executive head of a state agency.

(2) “Business entity” means any entity recognized by law through which business for profit is conducted, including a sole proprietorship, partnership, firm, corporation, holding company, joint stock company, receivership, or trust.

(3) “Commission” means the Texas Ethics Commission.

(4) “Elected officer” means:

(A) a member of the legislature;

(B) an executive or judicial officer elected in a statewide election;

(C) a judge of a court of appeals or of a district court;

(D) a member of the State Board of Education;

(E) a district attorney or criminal district attorney; or

(F) an individual appointed to fill a vacancy in an office or appointed to a newly created office who, if elected to the office instead of appointed, would be an elected officer under this subdivision.

(5) “Executive head of a state agency” means the director, executive director, commissioner, administrator, chief clerk, or other individual who is appointed by the governing body or highest officer of the state agency to act as the chief executive or administrative officer of the agency and who is not an appointed officer. The term includes the chancellor or highest executive officer of a university system and the president of a public senior college or university as defined by Section 61.003, Education Code.

(6) “State party chair” means the state chair of any political party receiving more than two percent of the vote for governor in the most recent general election.

(7) “Person” means an individual or a business entity.

(8) “Regulatory agency” means any department, commission, board, or other agency, except the secretary of state and the comptroller, that:

(A) is in the executive branch of state government;

(B) has authority that is not limited to a geographical portion of the state;

(C) was created by the Texas Constitution or a statute of this state; and

(D) has constitutional or statutory authority to engage in regulation.

(9) “Salaried appointed officer” means an appointed officer who receives or is authorized to receive a salary for state service but not a per diem or other form of compensation.

(10) “State agency” means:

(A) a department, commission, board, office, or other agency that:

(i) is in the executive branch of state government;

(ii) has authority that is not limited to a geographical portion of the state; and

(iii) was created by the Texas Constitution or a statute of this state;

(B) a university system or an institution of higher education as defined by Section 61.003, Education Code, other than a public junior college; or

(C) a river authority created under the Texas Constitution or a statute of this state.

(11) “State employee” means an individual, other than a state officer, who is employed by:

(A) a state agency;

(B) the Supreme Court of Texas, the Court of Criminal Appeals of Texas, a court of appeals, or the Texas Judicial Council; or

(C) either house of the legislature or a legislative agency, council, or committee, including the Legislative Budget Board, the Texas Legislative Council, the State Auditor’s Office, and the Legislative Reference Library.

(11-a) “State judge” means:

(A) a judge, former judge, or retired judge of an appellate court, a district court, a constitutional county court, a county court at law, or a statutory probate court of this state;

(B) an associate judge appointed under Chapter 201, Family Code, or a retired associate judge or former associate judge appointed under that chapter;

(C) a magistrate or associate judge appointed under Chapter 54 or 54A;

(D) a justice of the peace; or

(E) a municipal court judge.

(12) “State officer” means an elected officer, an appointed officer, a salaried appointed officer, an appointed officer of a major state agency, or the executive head of a state agency.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1134, Sec. 12, Sept. 1, 1997.

Amended by:

Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 1253 (H.B. 1945), Sec. 1, eff. June 18, 2005.

Acts 2017, 85th Leg., R.S., Ch. 190 (S.B. 42), Sec. 18, eff. September 1, 2017.

Sec. 572.003. DEFINITION: APPOINTED OFFICER OF MAJOR STATE AGENCY. (a) In this chapter, “appointed officer of a major state agency” means an individual listed in Subsection (b) or (c).

(b) The term means:

(1) the Banking Commissioner of The Banking Department of Texas;

(2) the administrative director of the Office of Court Administration of the Texas Judicial System;

(3) the chief executive of the Office of Public Utility Counsel;

(4) the executive director of the State Bar of Texas;

(5) the director of the lottery division of the Texas Lottery Commission;

(6) the deputy in charge of the department of security in the lottery division of the Texas Lottery Commission;

(7) the director of the bingo division of the Texas Lottery Commission; or

(8) the secretary of state.

(c) The term means a member of:

(1) the Public Utility Commission of Texas;

(2) the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality;

(3) the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission;

(4) the Finance Commission of Texas;

(5) the Texas Facilities Commission;

(6) the Texas Board of Criminal Justice;

(7) the board of trustees of the Employees Retirement System of Texas;

(8) the Texas Transportation Commission;

(9) the Texas Department of Insurance;

(10) the Parks and Wildlife Commission;

(11) the Public Safety Commission;

(12) the Texas Ethics Commission;

(13) the State Securities Board;

(14) the Texas Water Development Board;

(15) the governing board of a public senior college or university as defined by Section 61.003, Education Code, or of The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler, University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, Texas State Technical College–Harlingen, Texas State Technical College–Marshall, Texas State Technical College–Sweetwater, or Texas State Technical College–Waco;

(16) the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board;

(17) the Texas Workforce Commission;

(18) the board of trustees of the Teacher Retirement System of Texas;

(19) the Credit Union Commission;

(20) the School Land Board;

(21) the board of the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs;

(22) the Texas Racing Commission;

(23) the State Board of Dental Examiners;

(24) the Texas Medical Board;

(25) the Board of Pardons and Paroles;

(26) the Texas State Board of Pharmacy;

(27) the Department of Information Resources governing board;

(28) the board of the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles;

(29) the Texas Real Estate Commission;

(30) the board of directors of the State Bar of Texas;

(31) the Bond Review Board;

(32) the Health and Human Services Commission;

(33) the Texas Funeral Service Commission;

(34) the board of directors of a river authority created under the Texas Constitution or a statute of this state;

(35) the Texas Lottery Commission; or

(36) the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas.

(d) The term includes the successor in function as provided by law to an office listed in Subsection (b) or (c) if that office is abolished.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 76, Sec. 5.06(a), eff. Sept. 1, 1995; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 238, Sec. 3, eff. May 22, 2001; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 817, Sec. 10.04, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

Amended by:

Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 937 (H.B. 3560), Sec. 3.09, eff. September 1, 2007.

Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 87 (S.B. 1969), Sec. 11.012, eff. September 1, 2009.

Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 179 (H.B. 1844), Sec. 13, eff. September 1, 2013.

Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 1316 (S.B. 220), Sec. 3.02, eff. June 14, 2013.

Acts 2017, 85th Leg., R.S., Ch. 521 (S.B. 81), Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2017.

Acts 2021, 87th Leg., R.S., Ch. 276 (H.B. 3514), Sec. 2, eff. September 1, 2021.

Sec. 572.004. DEFINITION: REGULATION. In this chapter, “regulation” means rulemaking, adjudication, or licensing. In this definition:

(1) “Adjudication” means the process of an agency for formulating an order.

(2) “License” includes all or part of an agency permit, certificate, approval, registration, charter, membership, statutory exemption, or other form of permission.

(3) “Licensing” includes the process of an agency concerning the grant, renewal, denial, revocation, suspension, annulment, withdrawal, limitation, amendment, modification, or conditioning of a license.

(4) “Order” means all or part of a final disposition, whether affirmative, negative, injunctive, or declaratory in form, of an agency in a matter other than rulemaking but including licensing.

(5) “Rule” means all or part of an agency statement of general or particular applicability and future effect designed to implement, interpret, or prescribe law or policy or to describe the organization, procedure, or practice requirements of an agency.

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

Sec. 572.005. DETERMINATION OF SUBSTANTIAL INTEREST. An individual has a substantial interest in a business entity if the individual:

(1) has a controlling interest in the business entity;

(2) owns more than 10 percent of the voting interest in the business entity;

(3) owns more than $25,000 of the fair market value of the business entity;

(4) has a direct or indirect participating interest by shares, stock, or otherwise, regardless of whether voting rights are included, in more than 10 percent of the profits, proceeds, or capital gains of the business entity;

(5) is a member of the board of directors or other governing board of the business entity;

(6) serves as an elected officer of the business entity; or

(7) is an employee of the business entity.

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

Sec. 572.006. DETERMINATION OF DEPENDENT CHILD. An individual’s child, including an adopted child or stepchild, is the individual’s dependent during a calendar year in which the individual provides more than 50 percent of the child’s support.

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

Sec. 572.007. PENALTIES IMPOSED BY COMMISSION. This chapter does not prohibit the imposition of civil penalties by the commission in addition to criminal penalties or other sanctions imposed by law.

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

Sec. 572.008. VENUE. An offense under this chapter, including perjury, may be prosecuted in Travis County or in any other county in which it may be prosecuted under the Code of Criminal Procedure.

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

SUBCHAPTER B. PERSONAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT

Sec. 572.021. FINANCIAL STATEMENT REQUIRED. Except as provided by Section 572.0211, a state officer, a partisan or independent candidate for an office as an elected officer, and a state party chair shall file with the commission a verified financial statement complying with Sections 572.022 through 572.0252.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993. Amended by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 249, Sec. 5.01, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

Amended by:

Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 630 (H.B. 2511), Sec. 2, eff. June 17, 2005.

Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 1253 (H.B. 1945), Sec. 2, eff. June 18, 2005.

Sec. 572.0211. FILING BY HOLDOVER OFFICER NOT REQUIRED. (a) An appointed officer who resigns from office and who ceases to participate in the state agency’s functions is not required to file a financial statement that is due because of service in that office after the effective date of the resignation.

(b) An appointed officer whose term of office expires and who ceases to participate in the functions of the state agency is not required to file a financial statement that is due because of service in that office after the date the term of office expires.

(c) An appointed officer of a state agency that is abolished or whose functions are transferred to another state agency is not required to file a financial statement that is due because of service after the date that the agency is abolished or the functions of the agency are transferred.

(d) An appointed officer who resigns or whose term of office expires who does not intend to participate in the functions of the state agency shall deliver written notice of the officer’s intention to the governor and the commission.

Added by Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 630 (H.B. 2511), Sec. 1, eff. June 17, 2005.

Sec. 572.022. REPORTING CATEGORIES; REQUIRED DESCRIPTIONS. (a) If an amount in a financial statement is required to be reported by category, the individual filing the statement shall report whether the amount is:

(1) less than $5,000;

(2) at least $5,000 but less than $10,000;

(3) at least $10,000 but less than $25,000; or

(4) $25,000 or more.

(b) The individual filing the statement shall report an amount of stock by category of number of shares instead of by category of dollar value and shall report whether the amount is:

(1) less than 100 shares;

(2) at least 100 but less than 500 shares;

(3) at least 500 but less than 1,000 shares;

(4) at least 1,000 but less than 5,000 shares;

(5) at least 5,000 but less than 10,000 shares; or

(6) 10,000 shares or more.

(c) The individual filing the statement shall report a description of real property by reporting:

(1) the street address, if available, or the number of lots or number of acres, as applicable, in each county, and the name of the county, if the street address is not available; and

(2) the names of all persons retaining an interest in the property, excluding an interest that is a severed mineral interest.

(d) For a gift of cash or a cash equivalent such as a negotiable instrument or gift certificate that is reported in accordance with Section 572.023(b)(7), the individual filing the statement shall include in the description of the gift a statement of the value of the gift.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993. Amended by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 249, Sec. 5.02, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

Amended by:

Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 342 (S.B. 129), Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2007.

Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 342 (S.B. 129), Sec. 2, eff. September 1, 2007.

Sec. 572.023. CONTENTS OF FINANCIAL STATEMENT IN GENERAL. (a) A financial statement must include an account of the financial activity of the individual required by this subchapter to file a financial statement and an account of the financial activity of the individual’s spouse and dependent children if the individual had actual control over that activity for the preceding calendar year.

(b) The account of financial activity consists of:

(1) a list of all sources of occupational income, identified by employer, or if self-employed, by the nature of the occupation, including identification of a person or other organization from which the individual or a business in which the individual has a substantial interest received a fee as a retainer for a claim on future services in case of need, as distinguished from a fee for services on a matter specified at the time of contracting for or receiving the fee, if professional or occupational services are not actually performed during the reporting period equal to or in excess of the amount of the retainer, and the category of the amount of the fee;

(2) identification by name and the category of the number of shares of stock of any business entity held or acquired, and if sold, the category of the amount of net gain or loss realized from the sale;

(3) a list of all bonds, notes, and other commercial paper held or acquired, and if sold, the category of the amount of net gain or loss realized from the sale;

(4) identification of each source and the category of the amount of income in excess of $500 derived from each source from interest, dividends, royalties, and rents;

(5) identification of each guarantor of a loan and identification of each person or financial institution to whom a personal note or notes or lease agreement for a total financial liability in excess of $1,000 existed at any time during the year and the category of the amount of the liability;

(6) identification by description of all beneficial interests in real property and business entities held or acquired, and if sold, the category of the amount of the net gain or loss realized from the sale;

(7) identification of a person or other organization from which the individual or the individual’s spouse or dependent children received a gift of anything of value in excess of $250 and a description of each gift, except:

(A) a gift received from an individual related to the individual at any time within the second degree by consanguinity or affinity, as determined under Subchapter B, Chapter 573;

(B) a political contribution that was reported as required by Chapter 254, Election Code; and

(C) an expenditure required to be reported by a person required to be registered under Chapter 305;

(8) identification of the source and the category of the amount of all income received as beneficiary of a trust, other than a blind trust that complies with Subsection (c), and identification of each trust asset, if known to the beneficiary, from which income was received by the beneficiary in excess of $500;

(9) identification:

(A) by description of a corporation, firm, partnership, limited partnership, limited liability partnership, professional corporation, professional association, joint venture, or other business association in which five percent or more of the outstanding ownership was held, acquired, or sold; and

(B) by description and the category of the amount of all assets and liabilities of a corporation, firm, partnership, limited partnership, limited liability partnership, professional corporation, professional association, joint venture, or other business association in which 50 percent or more of the outstanding ownership was held, acquired, or sold;

(10) a list of all boards of directors of which the individual is a member and executive positions that the individual holds in corporations, firms, partnerships, limited partnerships, limited liability partnerships, professional corporations, professional associations, joint ventures, or other business associations or proprietorships, stating the name of each corporation, firm, partnership, limited partnership, limited liability partnership, professional corporation, professional association, joint venture, or other business association or proprietorship and the position held;

(11) identification of any person providing transportation, meals, or lodging expenses permitted under Section 36.07(b), Penal Code, and the amount of those expenses, other than expenditures required to be reported under Chapter 305;

(12) any corporation, firm, partnership, limited partnership, limited liability partnership, professional corporation, professional association, joint venture, or other business association, excluding a publicly held corporation, in which both the individual and a person registered under Chapter 305 have an interest;

(13) identification by name and the category of the number of shares of any mutual fund held or acquired, and if sold, the category of the amount of net gain or loss realized from the sale;

(14) identification of each blind trust that complies with Subsection (c), including:

(A) the category of the fair market value of the trust;

(B) the date the trust was created;

(C) the name and address of the trustee; and

(D) a statement signed by the trustee, under penalty of perjury, stating that:

(i) the trustee has not revealed any information to the individual, except information that may be disclosed under Subdivision (8); and

(ii) to the best of the trustee’s knowledge, the trust complies with this section;

(15) if the aggregate cost of goods or services sold under one or more written contracts described by this subdivision exceeds $10,000 in the year covered by the report, identification of each written contract, including the name of each party to the contract:

(A) for the sale of goods or services in the amount of $2,500 or more;

(B) to which the individual, the individual’s spouse, the individual’s dependent child, or any business entity of which the individual, the individual’s spouse, or the individual’s dependent child, independently or in conjunction with one or more persons described by this subsection, has at least a 50 percent ownership interest is a party; and

(C) with:

(i) a governmental entity; or

(ii) a person who contracts with a governmental entity, if the individual or entity described by Paragraph (B) performs work arising out of the contract, subcontract, or agreement between the person and the governmental entity for a fee; and

(16) if the individual is a member of the legislature and provides bond counsel services to an issuer, as defined by Section 1201.002(1), identification of the following for each issuance for which the individual served as bond counsel:

(A) the amount of the issuance;

(B) the name of the issuer;

(C) the date of the issuance;

(D) the amount of fees paid to the individual, and whether the amount is:

(i) less than $5,000;

(ii) at least $5,000 but less than $10,000;

(iii) at least $10,000 but less than $25,000; or

(iv) $25,000 or more; and

(E) the amount of fees paid to the individual’s firm, if applicable, and whether the amount is:

(i) less than $5,000;

(ii) at least $5,000 but less than $10,000;

(iii) at least $10,000 but less than $25,000; or

(iv) $25,000 or more.

(c) For purposes of Subsections (b)(8) and (14), a blind trust is a trust as to which:

(1) the trustee:

(A) is a disinterested party;

(B) is not the individual;

(C) is not required to register as a lobbyist under Chapter 305;

(D) is not a public officer or public employee; and

(E) was not appointed to public office by the individual or by a public officer or public employee the individual supervises; and

(2) the trustee has complete discretion to manage the trust, including the power to dispose of and acquire trust assets without consulting or notifying the individual.

(d) If a blind trust under Subsection (c) is revoked while the individual is subject to this subchapter, the individual must file an amendment to the individual’s most recent financial statement, disclosing the date of revocation and the previously unreported value by category of each asset and the income derived from each asset.

(e) In this section, “governmental entity” means this state, a political subdivision of the state, or an agency or department of the state or a political subdivision of the state.

(f) Subsection (b)(15) does not require the disclosure of an employment contract between a school district or open-enrollment charter school and an employee of the district or school.

(g) An individual who complies with any applicable requirements of Sections 51.954 and 51.955, Education Code, and Section 2252.908 of this code, in an individual capacity or as a member or employee of an entity to which those sections apply, is not required to include in the account of financial activity the information described by Subsection (b)(15) unless specifically requested by the commission to include the information.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993. Amended by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 249, Sec. 5.03, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

Amended by:

Acts 2017, 85th Leg., R.S., Ch. 439 (H.B. 501), Sec. 1, eff. January 8, 2019.

Sec. 572.024. INFORMATION ABOUT SERVICES FOR LOBBYISTS OR LOBBYIST EMPLOYERS. A state officer who receives a fee for services rendered by the officer to or on behalf of a person required to be registered under Chapter 305, or to or on behalf of a person or entity that the officer actually knows directly compensates or reimburses a person required to be registered under Chapter 305, shall report on the financial statement the name of each person or entity for which the services were rendered and the category of the amount of each fee.

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

Sec. 572.025. INFORMATION ABOUT LEGISLATORS’ REPRESENTATION BEFORE EXECUTIVE STATE AGENCIES. A member of the legislature who represents another person for compensation before an executive state agency shall report on the financial statement:

(1) the name of the agency;

(2) the person represented by the member; and

(3) the category of the amount of compensation received by the member for that representation.

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

Sec. 572.0251. INFORMATION ABOUT LEGISLATIVE CONTINUANCES. A member or member-elect of the legislature licensed to practice law in this state who represents a party to a civil or criminal case for compensation and on that party’s behalf applies for or obtains a legislative continuance under Section 30.003, Civil Practice and Remedies Code, or under another law or rule that requires or permits a court to grant a continuance on the grounds that an attorney for a party is a member or member-elect of the legislature shall report on the financial statement:

(1) the name of the party represented;

(2) the date on which the member or member-elect was retained to represent the party;

(3) the style and cause number of the action in which the continuance was sought and the court and jurisdiction in which the action was pending when the continuance was sought;

(4) the date on which the member or member-elect applied for a continuance; and

(5) whether the continuance was granted.

Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 249, Sec. 5.04, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

Sec. 572.0252. INFORMATION ABOUT REFERRALS. A state officer who is an attorney shall report on the financial statement:

(1) making or receiving any referral for compensation for legal services; and

(2) the category of the amount of any fee accepted for making a referral for legal services.

Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 249, Sec. 5.04, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

Sec. 572.026. FILING DATES FOR STATE OFFICERS AND STATE PARTY CHAIRS. (a) Not later than April 30 each year, a state officer or a state party chair shall file the financial statement as required by this subchapter.

(b) An individual who is appointed to serve as a salaried appointed officer or an appointed officer of a major state agency or who is appointed to fill a vacancy in an elective office shall file a financial statement not later than the 30th day after the date of appointment or the date of qualification for the office, or if confirmation by the senate is required, before the first committee hearing on the confirmation, whichever date is earlier.

(c) An individual who is appointed or employed as the executive head of a state agency shall file a financial statement not later than the 45th day after the date on which the individual assumes the duties of the position. A state agency shall immediately notify the commission of the appointment or employment of an executive head of the agency.

(d) An individual required to file a financial statement under Subsection (a) may request the commission to grant an extension of not more than 60 days for filing the statement. The commission shall grant the request if it is received before the filing deadline or if a timely filing or request for extension is prevented because of physical or mental incapacity. The commission may not grant more than one extension to an individual in one year except for good cause shown.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993. Amended by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 249, Sec. 5.05, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

Amended by:

Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 1253 (H.B. 1945), Sec. 3, eff. June 18, 2005.

Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 1253 (H.B. 1945), Sec. 4, eff. June 18, 2005.

Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 248 (H.B. 2839), Sec. 1, eff. May 25, 2007.

Sec. 572.027. FILING DATES FOR CANDIDATES. (a) An individual who is a partisan or independent candidate for an office as an elected officer shall file the financial statement required by this subchapter not later than the later of:

(1) the 60th day after the date of the regular filing deadline for an application for a place on the ballot in the general primary election; or

(2) February 12.

(b) If the deadline under which a candidate files an application for a place on the ballot, other than the regular filing deadline for an independent candidate, or files a declaration of write-in candidacy falls after the date of the regular filing deadline for candidates in the general primary election, the candidate shall file the financial statement not later than the 30th day after that later deadline. However, if that deadline falls after the 35th day before the date of the election in which the candidate is running, the candidate shall file the statement not later than the fifth day before the date of that election.

(c) An individual who is a candidate in a special election for an office as an elected officer shall file the financial statement not later than the fifth day before the date of that election.

(d) An individual nominated to fill a vacancy in a nomination as a candidate for a position as an elected officer under Chapter 145, Election Code, shall file the financial statement not later than the 15th day after the date the certificate of nomination required by Section 145.037 or 145.038, Election Code, is filed.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1134, Sec. 13, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

Amended by:

Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 239 (S.B. 431), Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2015.

Sec. 572.028. DUPLICATE STATEMENTS. If an individual has filed a financial statement under one provision of this subchapter covering the preceding calendar year, the individual is not required to file a financial statement required under another provision of this subchapter to cover that same year if, before the deadline for filing the statement under the other provision, the individual notifies the commission in writing that the individual has already filed a financial statement under the provision specified.

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

Sec. 572.029. TIMELINESS OF FILING. (a) The deadline for filing a financial statement required by this subchapter is 5 p.m. of the last day designated in the applicable provision for filing the statement.

(b) If the last day for filing the financial statement is a Saturday, Sunday, or holiday included under Subchapter B, Chapter 662, the statement is timely if filed on the next day that is not a Saturday, Sunday, or listed holiday.

(c) A financial statement is timely filed if it is properly addressed and placed in the United States Post Office or in the hands of a common or contract carrier not later than the last day for filing the financial statement. The post office cancellation mark or the receipt mark of a common or contract carrier is prima facie evidence of the date the statement was deposited with the post office or carrier. The individual filing the statement may show by competent evidence that the actual date of posting was different from that shown by the marks.

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

Sec. 572.0291. ELECTRONIC FILING REQUIRED. (a) Except as provided by Subsection (b), a financial statement filed with the commission must be filed by computer diskette, modem, or other means of electronic transfer, using computer software provided by the commission or computer software that meets commission specifications for a standard file format.

(b) An individual who was appointed to office and who is required to file a financial statement with the commission under this subchapter may file the financial statement by certified mail. The filing by mail must be in compliance with Section 572.029.

Added by Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 818 (H.B. 3683), Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2015.

Amended by:

Acts 2017, 85th Leg., R.S., Ch. 243 (H.B. 791), Sec. 1, eff. May 29, 2017.

Sec. 572.0295. AMENDMENT OF FINANCIAL STATEMENT. (a) A person who files a financial statement under this chapter may amend the person’s statement.

(b) A financial statement that is amended is considered to have been filed on the date on which the original statement was filed if:

(1) the amendment is made on or before the 14th day after the date the person filing the statement learns of an error or omission in the original statement;

(2) the original financial statement was made in good faith and without an intent to mislead or to misrepresent the information contained in the statement; and

(3) the person filing the amendment accompanies the amendment with a declaration that:

(A) the person became aware of the error or omission in the original statement during the preceding 14 days; and

(B) the original statement was made in good faith and without intent to mislead or to misrepresent the information contained in the statement.

Added by Acts 2017, 85th Leg., R.S., Ch. 439 (H.B. 501), Sec. 2, eff. January 8, 2019.

Sec. 572.030. PREPARATION AND MAILING OF FORMS. (a) The commission shall design forms that may be used for filing the financial statement under this subchapter.

(b) The commission shall mail to each individual required to file under this subchapter a notice that:

(1) states that the individual is required to file a financial statement under this subchapter;

(2) identifies the filing dates for the financial statement as provided by Sections 572.026 and 572.027;

(3) describes the manner in which the individual may obtain the financial statement forms and instructions from the commission’s Internet website;

(4) states that on request of the individual, the commission will mail to the individual a copy of the financial statement forms and instructions; and

(5) states, if applicable, the fee for mailing the forms and instructions and the manner in which the individual may pay the fee.

(c) The notice required by Subsection (b) must be mailed:

(1) before the 30th day before the deadline for filing the financial statement under Section 572.026(a) or (c), except as otherwise provided by this subsection;

(2) not later than the 15th day after the applicable deadline for filing an application for a place on the ballot or a declaration of write-in candidacy for candidates required to file under Section 572.027(a), (b), or (c);

(3) not later than the seventh day after the date of appointment for individuals required to file under Section 572.026(b), or if the legislature is in session, sooner if possible; and

(4) not later than the fifth day after the date the certificate of nomination is filed for candidates required to file under Section 574.027(d).

(d) The commission shall mail a copy of the financial statement forms and instructions to an individual not later than the third business day after the date the commission receives the individual’s request for the forms and instructions.

(e) The commission may charge a fee for mailing the financial statement forms and instructions to an individual. The amount of the fee may not exceed the reasonable cost of producing and mailing the forms and instructions.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1134, Sec. 14, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

Amended by:

Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 299 (H.B. 1652), Sec. 1, eff. June 15, 2007.

Sec. 572.031. DETERMINATION OF COMPLIANCE WITH SUBCHAPTER. (a) The commission shall conduct a continuing survey to determine whether all individuals required to file financial statements under this subchapter have filed statements in compliance with this subchapter.

(b) If the commission determines that an individual has failed to file the statement in compliance with this subchapter, the commission shall send a written statement of the determination to the appropriate prosecuting attorneys of the state.

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

Sec. 572.032. PUBLIC ACCESS TO STATEMENTS. (a) Financial statements filed under this subchapter are public records. The commission shall maintain the statements in separate alphabetical files and in a manner that is accessible to the public during regular office hours.

Text of subsection as amended by Acts 2017, 85th Leg., R.S., Ch. 983 (H.B. 776), Sec. 1

(a-1) The commission shall remove the home address, the telephone number, and the names of the dependent children of an individual from a financial statement filed by the individual under this subchapter before:

(1) permitting a member of the public to view the statement;

(2) providing a copy of the statement to a member of the public; or

(3) making the statement available to the public on the commission’s Internet website, if the commission makes statements filed under this subchapter available on its website.

Text of subsection as amended by Acts 2017, 85th Leg., R.S., Ch. 34 (S.B. 1576), Sec. 15

(a-1) Before permitting a member of the public to view a financial statement filed under this subchapter or providing a copy of the statement to a member of the public, the commission shall remove from the statement, if applicable, the home address of:

(1) a judge or justice; or

(2) a member of the governing board or executive head of the Texas Civil Commitment Office.

(b) During the one-year period following the filing of a financial statement, each time a person requests to see the financial statement, excluding the commission or a commission employee acting on official business, the commission shall place in the file a statement of the person’s name and address, whom the person represents, and the date of the request. The commission shall retain that statement in the file for one year after the date the requested financial statement is filed.

(c) After the second anniversary of the date the individual ceases to be a state officer, the commission may and on notification from the former state officer shall destroy each financial statement filed by the state officer.

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

Amended by:

Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 638 (H.B. 842), Sec. 1, eff. June 15, 2007.

Acts 2017, 85th Leg., R.S., Ch. 34 (S.B. 1576), Sec. 15, eff. September 1, 2017.

Acts 2017, 85th Leg., R.S., Ch. 983 (H.B. 776), Sec. 1, eff. June 15, 2017.

Sec. 572.033. CIVIL PENALTY. (a) The commission shall determine from any available evidence whether a statement required to be filed under this subchapter is late. On making a determination that the statement is late, the commission shall immediately mail a notice of the determination to the individual responsible for filing the statement and to the appropriate attorney for the state.

(b) If a statement is determined to be late, the individual responsible for filing the statement is liable to the state for a civil penalty of $500. If a statement is more than 30 days late, the commission shall issue a warning of liability by registered mail to the individual responsible for the filing. If the penalty is not paid before the 10th day after the date on which the warning is received, the individual is liable for a civil penalty in an amount determined by commission rule, but not to exceed $10,000.

(c) This section is cumulative of any other available sanction for a late filing of a sworn statement.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993. Amended by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 249, Sec. 5.06, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

Sec. 572.034. CRIMINAL PENALTY. (a) An individual commits an offense if the individual is a state officer or candidate or state party chair and knowingly and wilfully fails to file a financial statement as required by this subchapter.

(b) An offense under this section is a Class B misdemeanor.

(c) In a prosecution for failure to file a financial statement under this section, it is a defense that the individual did not receive copies of the financial statement form required by this subchapter to be mailed to the individual.

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

Amended by:

Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 1253 (H.B. 1945), Sec. 5, eff. June 18, 2005.

Sec. 572.035. REMOVAL OF PERSONAL INFORMATION FOR FEDERAL JUDGES, STATE JUDGES, AND FAMILY MEMBERS. (a) On receiving notice from the Office of Court Administration of the Texas Judicial System of the judge’s qualification for the judge’s office, the commission shall remove or redact from any financial statement, or information derived from a financial statement, that is available to the public the residence address of a federal judge, including a federal bankruptcy judge, a state judge, or a family member of a federal judge, including a federal bankruptcy judge, or a state judge.

(b) In this section, “family member” has the meaning assigned by Section 31.006, Finance Code.

Added by Acts 2017, 85th Leg., R.S., Ch. 190 (S.B. 42), Sec. 19, eff. September 1, 2017.

Amended by:

Acts 2021, 87th Leg., R.S., Ch. 383 (S.B. 1134), Sec. 10, eff. September 1, 2021.

SUBCHAPTER C. STANDARDS OF CONDUCT AND CONFLICT OF INTEREST PROVISIONS

Sec. 572.051. STANDARDS OF CONDUCT; STATE AGENCY ETHICS POLICY. (a) A state officer or employee should not:

(1) accept or solicit any gift, favor, or service that might reasonably tend to influence the officer or employee in the discharge of official duties or that the officer or employee knows or should know is being offered with the intent to influence the officer’s or employee’s official conduct;

(2) accept other employment or engage in a business or professional activity that the officer or employee might reasonably expect would require or induce the officer or employee to disclose confidential information acquired by reason of the official position;

(3) accept other employment or compensation that could reasonably be expected to impair the officer’s or employee’s independence of judgment in the performance of the officer’s or employee’s official duties;

(4) make personal investments that could reasonably be expected to create a substantial conflict between the officer’s or employee’s private interest and the public interest; or

(5) intentionally or knowingly solicit, accept, or agree to accept any benefit for having exercised the officer’s or employee’s official powers or performed the officer’s or employee’s official duties in favor of another.

(b) A state employee who violates Subsection (a) or an ethics policy adopted under Subsection (c) is subject to termination of the employee’s state employment or another employment-related sanction. Notwithstanding this subsection, a state officer or employee who violates Subsection (a) is subject to any applicable civil or criminal penalty if the violation also constitutes a violation of another statute or rule.

(c) Each state agency shall:

(1) adopt a written ethics policy for the agency’s employees consistent with the standards prescribed by Subsection (a) and other provisions of this subchapter; and

(2) distribute a copy of the ethics policy and this subchapter to:

(A) each new employee not later than the third business day after the date the person begins employment with the agency; and

(B) each new officer not later than the third business day after the date the person qualifies for office.

(d) The office of the attorney general shall develop, in coordination with the commission, and distribute a model policy that state agencies may use in adopting an agency ethics policy under Subsection (c). A state agency is not required to adopt the model policy developed under this subsection.

(e) Subchapters E and F, Chapter 571, do not apply to a violation of this section.

(f) Notwithstanding Subsection (e), if a person with knowledge of a violation of an agency ethics policy adopted under Subsection (c) that also constitutes a criminal offense under another law of this state reports the violation to an appropriate prosecuting attorney, then, not later than the 60th day after the date a person notifies the prosecuting attorney under this subsection, the prosecuting attorney shall notify the commission of the status of the prosecuting attorney’s investigation of the alleged violation. The commission shall, on the request of the prosecuting attorney, assist the prosecuting attorney in investigating the alleged violation. This subsection does not apply to an alleged violation by a member or employee of the commission.

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

Amended by:

Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 629 (H.B. 590), Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2007.

Sec. 572.052. REPRESENTATION BY LEGISLATORS BEFORE STATE AGENCIES; CRIMINAL OFFENSE. (a) A member of the legislature may not, for compensation, represent another person before a state agency in the executive branch of state government unless the representation:

(1) is pursuant to an attorney-client relationship in a criminal law matter; or

(2) involves the filing of documents that involve only ministerial acts on the part of the commission, agency, board, department, or officer.

(b) A member of the legislature commits an offense if the member violates this section. An offense under this subsection is a Class A misdemeanor.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1134, Sec. 15, eff. Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 249, Sec. 5.07, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

Sec. 572.053. VOTING BY LEGISLATORS ON CERTAIN MEASURES OR BILLS; CRIMINAL OFFENSE. (a) A member of the legislature may not vote on a measure or a bill, other than a measure that will affect an entire class of business entities, that will directly benefit a specific business transaction of a business entity in which the member has a controlling interest.

(b) In this section, “controlling interest” includes:

(1) an ownership interest or participating interest by virtue of shares, stock, or otherwise that exceeds 10 percent;

(2) membership on the board of directors or other governing body of the business entity; or

(3) service as an officer of the business entity.

(c) A member of the legislature commits an offense if the member violates this section. An offense under this subsection is a Class A misdemeanor.

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

Sec. 572.0531. NOTICE REQUIRED FOR INTRODUCTION OR SPONSORSHIP OF OR VOTING ON CERTAIN MEASURES OR BILLS BY LEGISLATORS. (a) A member shall file a notice as required by Subsection (b) before introducing, sponsoring, or voting on a measure or bill if the member’s spouse or a person related to the member within the first degree by consanguinity, as determined under Subchapter B, Chapter 573, is registered as a lobbyist under Chapter 305 with respect to the subject matter of the measure or bill.

(b) A member of the house of representatives to whom Subsection (a) applies shall file a written notice of that fact with the chief clerk of the house of representatives. A senator to whom Subsection (a) applies shall file a written notice of that fact with the secretary of the senate. The member shall also file a notice with the commission. A notice filed under this subsection must:

(1) identify:

(A) the member;

(B) the measure, bill, or class of measures or bills with respect to which the notice is required under this section; and

(C) the person registered as a lobbyist; and

(2) be included in the journal of the house to which the member belongs.

(c) A person related to the member to whom Subsection (a) applies shall file a notice with the commission identifying:

(1) the person;

(2) the member; and

(3) the class of measures or bills with respect to which notice is required under this section.

(d) A person related to the member to whom Subsection (a) applies shall file the notice required by Subsection (c) not later than:

(1) the beginning of a regular or special legislative session as to which the person is registered as a lobbyist under Chapter 305 and will communicate directly with a member of the legislative branch with respect to the measure, bill, or class of measures or bills; or

(2) the seventh business day after the day the person agrees to accept reimbursement or compensation to communicate directly with a member of the legislative branch with respect to the measure, bill, or class of measures or bills, if the person agrees to accept the reimbursement or compensation after the beginning of a legislative session.

(e) A member of the legislature who violates this section is subject to discipline by the house to which the member belongs, as provided by Section 11, Article III, Texas Constitution.

(f) In this section, “communicates directly with” and “member of the legislative branch” have the meanings assigned by Section 305.002.

Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 249, Sec. 5.08, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

Sec. 572.054. REPRESENTATION BY FORMER OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE OF REGULATORY AGENCY RESTRICTED; CRIMINAL OFFENSE. (a) A former member of the governing body or a former executive head of a regulatory agency may not make any communication to or appearance before an officer or employee of the agency in which the member or executive head served before the second anniversary of the date the member or executive head ceased to be a member of the governing body or the executive head of the agency if the communication or appearance is made:

(1) with the intent to influence; and

(2) on behalf of any person in connection with any matter on which the person seeks official action.

(b) A former state officer or employee of a regulatory agency who ceases service or employment with that agency on or after January 1, 1992, may not represent any person or receive compensation for services rendered on behalf of any person regarding a particular matter in which the former officer or employee participated during the period of state service or employment, either through personal involvement or because the case or proceeding was a matter within the officer’s or employee’s official responsibility.

(c) Subsection (b) applies only to:

(1) a state officer of a regulatory agency; or

(2) a state employee of a regulatory agency who is compensated, as of the last date of state employment, at or above the amount prescribed by the General Appropriations Act for step 1, salary group 17, of the position classification salary schedule, including an employee who is exempt from the state’s position classification plan.

(d) Subsection (b) does not apply to a rulemaking proceeding that was concluded before the officer’s or employee’s service or employment ceased.

(e) Other law that restricts the representation of a person before a particular state agency by a former state officer or employee of that agency prevails over this section.

(f) An individual commits an offense if the individual violates this section. An offense under this subsection is a Class A misdemeanor.

(g) In this section, the comptroller and the secretary of state are not excluded from the definition of “regulatory agency.”

(g-1) For purposes of this section, the Department of Information Resources is a regulatory agency.

(h) In this section:

(1) “Participated” means to have taken action as an officer or employee through decision, approval, disapproval, recommendation, giving advice, investigation, or similar action.

(2) “Particular matter” means a specific investigation, application, request for a ruling or determination, rulemaking proceeding, contract, claim, charge, accusation, arrest, or judicial or other proceeding.

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

Amended by:

Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., 1st C.S., Ch. 4 (S.B. 1), Sec. 23.01, eff. September 28, 2011.

Sec. 572.055. CERTAIN SOLICITATIONS OF REGULATED BUSINESS ENTITIES PROHIBITED; CRIMINAL OFFENSE. (a) An association or organization of employees of a regulatory agency may not solicit, accept, or agree to accept anything of value from a business entity regulated by that agency and from which the business entity must obtain a permit to operate that business in this state or from an individual directly or indirectly connected with that business entity.

(b) A business entity regulated by a regulatory agency and from which the business entity must obtain a permit to operate that business in this state or an individual directly or indirectly connected with that business entity may not offer, confer, or agree to confer on an association or organization of employees of that agency anything of value.

(c) This section does not apply to an agency regulating the operation or inspection of motor vehicles or an agency charged with enforcing the parks and wildlife laws of this state.

(d) A person commits an offense if the person intentionally or knowingly violates this section. An offense under this subsection is a Class A misdemeanor.

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

Sec. 572.056. CONTRACTS BY STATE OFFICERS WITH GOVERNMENTAL ENTITIES; CRIMINAL OFFENSE. (a) A state officer may not solicit or accept from a governmental entity a commission, fee, bonus, retainer, or rebate that is compensation for the officer’s personal solicitation for the award of a contract for services or sale of goods to a governmental entity.

(b) This section does not apply to:

(1) a contract that is awarded by competitive bid as provided by law and that is not otherwise prohibited by law; or

(2) a court appointment.

(c) In this section, “governmental entity” means the state, a political subdivision of the state, or a governmental entity created under the Texas Constitution or a statute of this state.

(d) A state officer who violates this section commits an offense. An offense under this subsection is a Class A misdemeanor.

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

Sec. 572.057. CERTAIN LEASES PROHIBITED. (a) Except as provided by Subsection (d), a member of the legislature, an executive or judicial officer elected in a statewide election, or a business entity in which the legislator or officer has a substantial interest may not lease any office space or other real property to the state, a state agency, the legislature or a legislative agency, the Supreme Court of Texas, the Court of Criminal Appeals, or a state judicial agency.

(b) A lease made in violation of Subsection (a) is void.

(c) This section does not apply to an individual who is an elected officer on June 16, 1989, for as long as the officer holds that office.

(d) A member of the legislature or a business entity in which the legislator has a substantial interest may donate the use of office space that the member or entity owns and that is located in the member’s district to the house of the legislature in which the member serves to be used for the member’s official business. Office space donated under this subsection is not a contribution for purposes of Title 15, Election Code. Acceptance of a donation of office space under this subsection is not subject to Section 301.032.

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

Amended by:

Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 293 (H.B. 1256), Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2013.

Sec. 572.058. PRIVATE INTEREST IN MEASURE OR DECISION; DISCLOSURE; REMOVAL FROM OFFICE FOR VIOLATION. (a) An elected or appointed officer, other than an officer subject to impeachment under Article XV, Section 2, of the Texas Constitution, who is a member of a board or commission having policy direction over a state agency and who has a personal or private interest in a measure, proposal, or decision pending before the board or commission shall publicly disclose the fact to the board or commission in a meeting called and held in compliance with Chapter 551. The officer may not vote or otherwise participate in the decision. The disclosure shall be entered in the minutes of the meeting.

(b) An individual who violates this section is subject to removal from office on the petition of the attorney general on the attorney general’s own initiative or on the relation of a resident or of any other member of the board or commission. The suit must be brought in a district court of Travis County or of the county where the violation is alleged to have been committed.

(c) If the court or jury finds from a preponderance of the evidence that the defendant violated this section and that an ordinary prudent person would have known the individual’s conduct to be a violation of this section, the court shall enter judgment removing the defendant from office.

(d) A suit under this section must be brought before the second anniversary of the date the violation is alleged to have been committed, or the suit is barred.

(e) The remedy provided by this section is cumulative of other methods of removal from office provided by the Texas Constitution or a statute of this state.

(f) In this section, “personal or private interest” has the same meaning as is given to it under Article III, Section 22, of the Texas Constitution, governing the conduct of members of the legislature. For purposes of this section, an individual does not have a “personal or private interest” in a measure, proposal, or decision if the individual is engaged in a profession, trade, or occupation and the individual’s interest is the same as all others similarly engaged in the profession, trade, or occupation.

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

Sec. 572.059. INDEPENDENCE OF STATE AND LOCAL OFFICERS ACTING IN LEGISLATIVE CAPACITY. (a) In this section, “legislative measure” includes:

(1) a bill, resolution, order, or other proposal to adopt, enact, amend, or repeal a statute, ordinance, rule, or policy of general application;

(2) a proposal to adopt, enact, amend, or repeal, or to grant a variance or other exception to, a zoning ordinance; or

(3) a proposed constitutional amendment or charter amendment subject to a vote of the electorate.

(b) For purposes of Subsection (a), a measure that is applicable to a class or subset of persons or matters that is defined in general terms without naming the particular persons or matters is a measure of general application.

(c) To protect the independence of state and local officers acting in a legislative capacity, a state or local officer, whether elected or appointed, including a member of the governing body of a school district or other political subdivision of this state, may not be subject to disciplinary action or a sanction, penalty, disability, or liability for:

(1) an action permitted by law that the officer takes in the officer’s official capacity regarding a legislative measure;

(2) proposing, endorsing, or expressing support for or opposition to a legislative measure or taking any action permitted by law to support or oppose a legislative measure;

(3) the effect of a legislative measure or of a change in law proposed by a legislative measure on any person; or

(4) a breach of duty, in connection with the member’s practice of or employment in a licensed or regulated profession or occupation, to disclose to any person information, or to obtain a waiver or consent from any person, regarding:

(A) the officer’s actions relating to a legislative measure; or

(B) the substance, effects, or potential effects of a legislative measure.

Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1206, Sec. 1, eff. June 20, 2003.

Sec. 572.060. SOLICITATION OF OR RECOMMENDATIONS REGARDING CONTRIBUTIONS TO CHARITABLE ORGANIZATIONS AND GOVERNMENTAL ENTITIES. (a) Unless otherwise prohibited by the Code of Judicial Conduct, a state officer or state employee may:

(1) solicit from any person a contribution to:

(A) an organization that:

(i) is exempt from income taxation under Section 501(a), Internal Revenue Code of 1986, by being listed under Section 501(c)(3) of that code;

(ii) does not attempt to influence legislation as a substantial part of the organization’s activities; and

(iii) has not elected under Section 501(h), Internal Revenue Code of 1986, to have that subsection apply to the organization; or

(B) a governmental entity; or

(2) recommend to any person that the person make a contribution to an organization or entity described by Subdivision (1).

(b) A monetary contribution solicited or recommended as provided by Subsection (a) must:

(1) be paid or made directly to the charitable organization or governmental entity by the person making the contribution;

(2) be in the form of a check, money order, or similar instrument payable to the charitable organization or governmental entity; or

(3) be in the form of a deduction from a state employee’s salary or wage payment under the state employee charitable campaign under Subchapter I, Chapter 659.

(c) A contribution solicited or recommended as provided by Subsection (a) that is not a monetary contribution must be delivered directly to the charitable organization or governmental entity by the person making the contribution.

(d) A contribution paid as provided by Subsection (b) or delivered as provided by Subsection (c) is not:

(1) a political contribution to, or political expenditure on behalf of, the state officer or state employee for purposes of Title 15, Election Code;

(2) an expenditure for purposes of Chapter 305; or

(3) a benefit to the state officer or state employee for purposes of Sections 36.08 and 36.09, Penal Code.

Added by Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 53 (H.B. 762), Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2005.

Sec. 572.061. CERTAIN GRATUITIES AUTHORIZED. This subchapter does not prohibit the acceptance of a gratuity that is accepted and reported in accordance with Section 11.0262, Parks and Wildlife Code.

Added by Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 639 (H.B. 2685), Sec. 3, eff. September 1, 2005.

Sec. 572.069. CERTAIN EMPLOYMENT FOR FORMER STATE OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE RESTRICTED. A former state officer or employee of a state agency who during the period of state service or employment participated on behalf of a state agency in a procurement or contract negotiation involving a person may not accept employment from that person before the second anniversary of the date the contract is signed or the procurement is terminated or withdrawn.

Added by Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 326 (S.B. 20), Sec. 4, eff. September 1, 2015.

Amended by:

Acts 2017, 85th Leg., R.S., Ch. 556 (S.B. 533), Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2017.

A Single Man, Never Married, No Kids – Senator Bryan Hughes Authored the Texas ‘Heartbeat’ Bill

JAN 28, 2023

Jonathan Mitchell has never had a high profile in the anti-abortion movement, but he developed and promoted the legal approach that has flummoxed the courts and enraged abortion rights supporters.

By Michael S. Schmidt

Published Sept. 12, 2021 Updated Nov. 1, 2021

Jonathan F. Mitchell grew increasingly dismayed as he read the Supreme Court’s decision in June 2016 striking down major portions of a Texas anti-abortion bill he had helped write.

Not only had the court gutted the legislation, which Mr. Mitchell had quietly worked on a few years earlier as the Texas state government’s top appeals court lawyer, but it also had called out his attempt to structure the law in a way that would prevent judicial action to block it, essentially saying: nice try.

“We reject Texas’ invitation to pave the way for legislatures to immunize their statutes” from a general review of their constitutionality, Justice Stephen G. Breyer wrote in the majority’s opinion.

For Mr. Mitchell, a onetime clerk to Justice Antonin Scalia, the decision was a stinging rebuke, and he vowed that if he ever had the chance to help develop another anti-abortion law, he would ensure it survived at the Supreme Court.

Last month, he got his chance. With its ideological balance recast by President Donald J. Trump, the court refrained from blocking a new law in Texas that all but bans abortion — a potential turning point in the long-running fight over the procedure. And it was the deeply religious Mr. Mitchell, a relative unknown outside of Texas in the anti-abortion movement and the conservative legal establishment, who was the conceptual force behind the legislation.

The court’s decision did not address the law’s constitutionality, and the legislation will no doubt face more substantive challenges. But already, the audacious legislative structure that Mr. Mitchell had conceived of — built around deputizing ordinary citizens to enforce it rather than the state — has flummoxed lower courts and sent the Biden administration and other supporters of abortion rights scrambling for some way to stop it.

“Jonathan could have given up, but instead it galvanized him and directly led to the more radical concepts we see” in the new Texas law, said Adam Mortara, a conservative legal activist who is one of Mr. Mitchell’s closest friends.

Mr. Mitchell represents a new iteration of the anti-abortion campaign. Instead of focusing on stacking the courts with anti-abortion judges, trying to change public opinion or pass largely symbolic bills in state legislatures, Mr. Mitchell has spent the last seven years honing a largely below-the-radar strategy of writing laws deliberately devised to make it much more difficult for the judicial system — particularly the Supreme Court — to thwart them, according to interviews.

How he pulled it off is a story that brings to life the persistence of the anti-abortion movement and its willingness to embrace unconventional approaches based more on process than moral principle.

Never an especially prominent, popular or financially successful figure in the conservative legal world — he was best-known for litigation seeking to limit the power of unions — Mr. Mitchell, 45, is only now emerging as a pivotal player in one of the most high-profile examples yet of the erosion of the right to abortion.

As his role has started to become more widely known, he has drawn intense criticism from abortion rights supporters not just for restricting access to the procedure but also for what they see as gaming the judicial system through a legislative gimmick they say will not withstand scrutiny.

“It grinds my gears when people say what’s been done here is genius, novel or particularly clever — it was only successful because it had a receptive audience in the Supreme Court and Fifth Circuit,” said Khiara M. Bridges, a professor of law at the University of California at Berkeley, referring to the conservative-leaning federal appeals court that also weighed in on the Texas law.

“If you want to overturn Roe v. Wade, you create a law that is inconsistent with the Supreme Court’s precedent and someone will challenge it and you work it through the federal courts,” she said. “You don’t create a law that is designed to evade judicial review.”

This article is based on interviews with anti-abortion activists who worked with Mr. Mitchell, reproductive rights advocates, friends and legal experts, and a review of Mr. Mitchell’s writings.

Mr. Mitchell briefly addressed his work in a statement.

“The political branches have been too willing to cede control of constitutional interpretation to the federal judiciary,” he said. “But there are ways to counter the judiciary’s constitutional pronouncements, and Texas has shown that the states need not adopt a posture of learned helplessness in response to questionable or unconstitutional court rulings.”

From Local Story to National

Mark Lee Dickson, an anti-abortion activist, was sitting in a Chick-fil-A in eastern Texas in the late spring of 2019. Rumors were circulating that an abortion clinic in the nearby city of Shreveport, Louisiana, might relocate over the state line to the border town of Waskom, Texas.

The mayor of Waskom had asked Mr. Dickson to draft an ordinance that would outlaw abortion clinics in the town of 2,000 people.

But, Mr. Dickson recalled, he was concerned about giving the ordinance to the mayor, fearing that if the town enacted it, groups like the American Civil Liberties Union would quickly sue, saddling it with legal bills that would bankrupt it.

Mr. Dickson texted Bryan Hughes, a Republican Texas state senator who represented the area.

Mr. Hughes replied that he had the perfect lawyer for him: Jonathan Mitchell, who had left his role as Texas solicitor general in 2015 and was running a one-man law firm.

Mr. Hughes described Mr. Mitchell’s bona fides.

“He was a law clerk for Scalia and had been quoted by Alito and Thomas and was the former solicitor general of Texas — I automatically had respect for him because being in those positions, he was definitely the right person to talk to,” Mr. Dickson said.

Sitting in his 2008 white Ford F-150 pickup truck in the parking lot of the Chick-fil-A, Mr. Dickson had a conference call with Mr. Mitchell and Mr. Hughes, and Mr. Mitchell said that he had a solution.

Drawing from an idea that he had first floated in a 2018 law review article, Mr. Mitchell said that there was a provision that could be added to the ordinance outlawing abortion in Waskom while stripping the town government of authority for enforcing the ban. Instead enforcement power would be given to ordinary citizens, who could bring lawsuits themselves to uphold the ban.

Mr. Mitchell’s explanation convinced Mr. Dickson that the provision would protect the town from being bankrupted. The two men worked together to have the provision added to the ordinance and in June 2019, the City Council, in a 5-to-0 vote, passed it.

All five votes for the ordinance were cast by men. At the time, the ordinance received little attention, even though it appeared to be the first time that a city in the United States had passed a law that outlawed abortion since the Roe v. Wade decision 46 years earlier.

In the end, it proved largely symbolic, since no abortion provider tried to move to Waskom.

But the passage of the ordinance galvanized Mr. Dickson and Mr. Mitchell. Throughout 2020, Mr. Dickson crisscrossed Texas, meeting with local officials — many who represented cities and towns that were unlikely to ever become home to an abortion clinic — to press them to enact similar ordinances.

With Mr. Mitchell helping with the legal wording needed in the ordinance, Mr. Dickson persuaded over 30 cities to adopt the law. Mr. Mitchell was so confident in the provision that he assured the towns he would represent them at no cost to taxpayers if they were sued.

Anti-abortion activists and legal experts closely watching the issue across the state — and the country — started taking notice.

“We would not have the Texas abortion law without Waskom” said Mary Ziegler, a law professor at Florida State University and legal historian.

“It was a super local story,” she said, “and something people ignored, but ended up changing the national conversation.”

A Winding Career Path

The oldest of seven brothers, Mr. Mitchell was raised in a religious Christian home in Pennsylvania. He attended Wheaton College, a small school in Illinois that “prepares students to make an impact for Christ,” according to its website. Friends refrain from calling him on Sundays, as they know he spends at least several hours at church.

Despite his Supreme Court clerkship and having held jobs with the state of Texas and the Justice Department and in academia, he had struggled to find a consistent paying job in the years after he was replaced as solicitor general in Texas.

Concluding that writing provocative and novel legal analysis would attract the attention of the top law schools, Mr. Mitchell wrote a law review article based on his experience in Texas, where he saw up close how the vulnerabilities in laws produced by the State Legislature were being used to challenge them in court.

That article, “The Writ-of-Erasure Fallacy,” published in 2018, would set out the approach that he would go on to use in the municipal ordinances across Texas and then in the 2021 state law: helping states protect themselves from judicial review by delegating enforcement authority to private citizens.

But his writings failed to win him a tenure track teaching offer, and efforts to land a job in Washington after Mr. Trump was elected president in 2016 also fizzled.

After losing out on jobs in the Justice Department and the Office of Management and Budget, he was nominated by Mr. Trump to lead the Administrative Conference of the United States, an obscure federal agency that tries to make the government more efficient.

But Senator Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, a top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, demanded that Mr. Mitchell answer questions about whether he had taken money from donors to pursue cases that would help the far right, including his anti-union work, according to a copy of a letter Mr. Whitehouse sent him.

In response, Mr. Mitchell said that he had not received such funds. But the answers failed to satisfy Mr. Whitehouse, who essentially killed his nomination.

Colleagues say that one reason Mr. Mitchell struggled to find employment is that he shows no interest in the subtleties of politics. He is often so focused on the weedy legal issues of the day, they said, that he failed to pay attention to the world around him.

During his tenure as a clerk on the Supreme Court, he ate lunch nearly every day at the same Mexican restaurant, but after a year of going there, he still did not know its name.

By the summer of 2018, Mr. Mitchell decided to open a one-person law firm. With Mr. Trump driving the Supreme Court rightward with his nominees, Mr. Mitchell calculated that the court would be more sympathetic to cases in areas like religious freedom, abortion, and affirmative action that big law firms would not take on because they were politically divisive.

To keep his one-man shop going, Mr. Mitchell reached an agreement with Juris Capital, a company that finances small law firms in exchange for a share of damages they win in litigation. Juris agreed to give him $18,000 a month to finance his firm’s operations.

A Second Chance

Back at the Texas State Legislature in late 2020, Mr. Hughes was helping plot Republican plans for their legislative agenda. Mr. Hughes mentioned to Mr. Mitchell that he planned to introduce a so-called heartbeat bill, which would make it illegal to have an abortion after early fetal cardiac activity is detected roughly six weeks into pregnancy.

Mr. Mitchell told him that was a terrible idea. A pattern had emerged in which similar laws passed by state legislatures were thwarted by federal judges.

Mr. Hughes asked whether there was any way they could come up with a bill that would survive challenges in the court. Mr. Mitchell immediately cited the growing success of the municipal-level effort that had started in Waskom to alter the way anti-abortion laws would be enforced.

“It’s going to require outside-the-box thinking and you to persuade your colleagues of a different approach — it can be done; give me the pen and I’ll give you the language,” Mr. Mitchell told Mr. Hughes.

Mr. Mitchell wrote into the heartbeat bill the same provision that he had written about in the journal article and that served as the core of ordinances in dozens of cities across Texas.

Republican state senators remained skeptical. How could a law be enforced that the state itself was being prohibited from enforcing? Why was it not a criminal law — would that not make it toothless?

Mr. Hughes arranged a conference call between Mr. Mitchell and a dozen staff members and senators. Mr. Hughes listened as Mr. Mitchell walked his colleagues through his idea.

“No lawyer can guarantee it will work — I can’t guarantee it’s going to work, but it will have a fighting chance, and will have a better chance than a regular heartbeat law,” Mr. Mitchell said.

By the end of the call, nearly everyone was on board.

In May, when Gov. Greg Abbott signed the law, he did not thank or even mention Mr. Mitchell. Mr. Mitchell did not attend the ceremony.

Texas Lawyer Bryan Hughes Was a Lawyer on a Trump Voter Fraud Federal Lawsuit in P.A. During his First Term as a Texas Senator

JAN 28, 2023

Donald J. Trump For President, Inc. v. Boockvar

(4:20-cv-02078)

District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania

Election 2020

Plaintiff In Trump Election Lawsuit Is A Former State Lawmaker

PA state Rep. Lawrence Roberts is one of two plaintiffs in President Trump’s legal attempt to block Joe Biden’s win in Pennsylvania.

November 19, 2020

David John Henry and Lawrence Roberts are the two Pennsylvania voters listed as “injured parties” in President Trump’s federal lawsuit seeking to block the state from certifying President-elect Joe Biden’s win.

Roberts, 79, was a former state representative who served in Harrisburg for 14 years.

He was a Democrat but later announced public support for U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, a Republican.

Online voting records reviewed by Newsy’s investigative team show Roberts’ November ballot listed as canceled in Fayette County.

While the Trump lawsuit does not say why Roberts’ ballot was rejected, Fayette County Election Bureau Director Larry Blosser told Newsy it was because Roberts did not put his mail-in vote in the required secrecy envelope.

“Sad to say, he made a mistake,” Blosser said. “Mr. Roberts being in that position, being a legislator, he should’ve known the laws.”

Phone numbers listed for Roberts were out of service.

Newsy was unable to contact him.

Henry, the second plaintiff in the case, declined to answer questions when reached by phone.

The lawsuit says he also sent back a ballot without the secrecy sleeve.

Some Pennsylvania counties alerted voters who cast “naked ballots,” giving them another chance to vote, but that was an extra step not required by the state.

Voting officials statewide spent months reminding mail voters to use secrecy sleeves.

In a move pushed by Republicans, counties were forbidden from opening ballots until Election Day. That limited the time available to reach voters who sent naked ballots.

Fayette and Lancaster counties don’t dispute that Roberts and Henry learned about their disqualified ballots when it was too late to fix them.

Fayette county told Newsy the secrecy sleeve rule tripped up 22 voters including Roberts.

“I don’t think he was disenfranchised,” Blosser said. “You got to hold the voters somewhat accountable for their actions.”

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Fifth Cir. Judge Don Willett Says Prior Panel’s Wrongful Foreclosure Opinion and Erie Guess Went Too Far

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14 Years of Carnage and Corruption: The Greatest Theft of Housing in Texas and American History

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The Single Texas Senator
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