James Quintero is the policy director for the Government for the People campaign at the Texas Public Policy Foundation.
The bill before the committee today is easily one of the most consequential pieces of legislation this session. As introduced, SB 10 would take aim at the practice of using tax dollars to hire registered lobbyists by:
- Preventing a county or a municipality from spending public money on or providing compensation to someone for the purpose of “directly or indirectly influenc[ing] or attempt[ing] to influence the outcome of any legislation pending before the legislature.”
- Clarifying that a city or a county may still—
- Allow an officer or employee to provide information for a member of the Legislature or appear before a legislativecommittee at the request of a member of the Legislature;
- Send a locally elected official to advocate for or against legislation or otherwise influence matters before the Legislature; and
- Dispatch an employee to advocate for or against legislation or otherwise influence matters before the Legislature as long as those actions would not require a person to register as a Chapter 305 lobbyist.
- Providing that if a political subdivision is engaged in prohibited activity, a taxpayer or resident of that entity is entitled to injunctive relief to prevent any further activity. A taxpayer or resident who prevails is entitled to recover reasonable attorney’s fees and costs.
Testimony Before the Senate Committee on Local Government