Board Calls For Modern Texas Ethics Commission | KERA News

Board Calls For Modern Texas Ethics Commission

A legislative advisory board has found that the Texas Ethics Commission punishes minor infractions and unduly stigmatizes politicians for minor mistakes.

The Sunset Advisory Commission reviews state agencies and recommends how to improve them. On Tuesday the Texas lawmakers on the sunset board released their report on the ethics commission.

The legislators found that the current rules are too often used as tools to politically damage the reputation of an opponent for minor errors in their ethics reports. The review also found that the commission's technology has not kept up with the times.

In terms of enforcement, the board also recommended separating the investigative and judgment functions of the commission to make it fairer.

The lawmakers also pointed out the commission could do more in terms of ethics enforcement.


Texas lawmakers review business tax

Texas's businesses think the state's tax system is mediocre and best and disastrous at worse.

Business owners and lobbyists on Tuesday shared their views with the House Ways and Means Committee on how to improve the way the state taxes businesses.

The Texas margins tax, also known as the franchise tax, levies a tax based on company's revenue, after some exclusions. Big capital-intensive businesses say the current tax is barely acceptable, while service industries complain the system is unfair to them.

Since the Texas Constitution bans income taxes, that means some companies that lose money have to pay taxes anyway. Democratic lawmakers complain that because the business tax consistently underperforms. Republicans have promised to improve the system. The Legislature meets again in January, when they will likely amend the tax.


Attorney: DOJ to meet family of boy shot on border

An attorney says U.S. Justice Department officials will meet with the parents of a 15-year-old Mexican boy fatally shot by a Border Patrol agent to explain why they won't pursue a case against the agent.

Attorney Steve Shadowin said the family of Sergio Adrian Hernandez Guereca will be informed Tuesday that there is no avenue to appeal a Justice Department ruling that Jesus Mesa Jr. acted within policy in the 2010 incident.

Shadowin says the parents will meet Justice officials in El Paso, across the border from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. The family has filed a civil lawsuit.

U.S. investigators have said the agent was trying to arrest illegal immigrants who were crossing the bed of the Rio Grande into the U.S. when he came under attack from rock throwers.