TITLE 1. ADMINISTRATION

PART 2. TEXAS ETHICS COMMISSION

CHAPTER 12. SWORN COMPLAINTS

SUBCHAPTER A. GENERAL PROVISIONS AND PROCEDURES

1 TAC §12.21

The Texas Ethics Commission (the commission) proposes an amendment to Texas Ethics Commission Rules §12.21, regarding requirements for the Commission to send hearing notices to a respondent.

The Commission's current rule §12.21 provides general notice requirements, requiring all notices to be sent to the most recently provided address for a complainant or respondent. The rule is amended by deleting the specific requirements for a hearing notice, which is moved to proposed new rules §12.84 and §12.103. The rule is also amended to allow a complainant or respondent to agree to receive written notices by electronic mail or other means.

Seana Willing, Executive Director, has determined that for the first five-year period the proposed amendment is in effect there will be no fiscal implications for state or local government as a result of enforcing or administering the proposed amendment.

The Executive Director has also determined that for each year of the first five years the proposed amendment is in effect the public benefit will be clarity and fairness in the hearing process. There will not be an effect on small businesses. There is no anticipated economic cost to persons who are required to comply with the proposed amendment.

The Executive Director has determined that during the first five years that the proposed amended rule is in effect, it will not: create or eliminate a government program; require the creation of new employee positions or the elimination of existing employee positions; require an increase or decrease in future legislative appropriations to the agency; require an increase or decrease in fees paid to the agency; create a new regulation; expand, limit, or repeal an existing regulation; increase or decrease the number of individuals subject to the rule's applicability; or positively or adversely affects this state's economy.

The Texas Ethics Commission invites comments on the proposed amendment from any member of the public. A written statement should be emailed to public_comment@ethics.state.tx.us, or mailed or delivered to Seana Willing, Texas Ethics Commission, P.O. Box 12070, Austin, Texas 78711-2070, or by facsimile (FAX) to (512) 463-5777. A person who wants to offer spoken comments to the commission concerning the proposed amendment may do so at any commission meeting during the agenda item relating to the proposed amendment. Information concerning the date, time, and location of commission meetings is available by telephoning (512) 463-5800 or on the Texas Ethics Commission's website at www.ethics.state.tx.us.

The amendment to §12.21 is proposed under Texas Government Code §571.062, which authorizes the commission to adopt rules to administer Chapter 571 of the Government Code.

The proposed amendment to §12.21 affects Subchapter E of Chapter 571 of the Government Code.

§12.21.Notice.

(a) A notice required to be sent to a complainant under chapter 571 of the Government Code shall be sent to the address most recently provided by the complainant.

(b) A notice required to be sent to a respondent under chapter 571 of the Government Code shall be sent to the address provided by the complainant or to the address most recently provided by the respondent.

[(c) Notice of a hearing must be given at least 10 business days before the date of the hearing, and must include:]

[(1) the date, time, place, and nature of the hearing;]

[(2) a statement of the legal authority and jurisdiction under which the hearing is to be held;]

[(3) a reference to the particular sections of the statutes and rules involved; and]

[(4) a short and plain statement of the matters asserted.]

(c) [(d)] A person entitled to receive notice may waive that right by filing a written waiver with the executive director.

(d) [(e)] A respondent or complainant in a complaint may waive the right under section 571.032 of the Government Code to receive written notices related to the complaint by registered or certified mail, restricted delivery, return receipt requested, and may agree to receive written notices related to the complaint by first class mail, electronic mail, or other means.

The agency certifies that legal counsel has reviewed the proposal and found it to be within the state agency's legal authority to adopt.

Filed with the Office of the Secretary of State on November 30, 2017.

TRD-201704865

Seana Willing

Executive Director

Texas Ethics Commission

Earliest possible date of adoption: January 14, 2018

For further information, please call: (512) 463-5800


SUBCHAPTER D. PRELIMINARY REVIEW HEARING

1 TAC §12.84

The Texas Ethics Commission (the Commission) proposes new Ethics Commission §12.84, in new Subchapter D, regarding preliminary review hearing procedures.

The rule would require Commission staff to provide notice for a preliminary review hearing to a respondent and complainant at least 45 days before the date of the hearing. Staff would provide to the respondent documents and witness lists at least 30 days before the hearing, and the respondent would be required to provide the same to staff at least 14 days before the hearing. The Commission would be able to reschedule a hearing, or continue the hearing and limit the admission of evidence or testimony, if staff or a respondent does not comply with the rule's requirements.

Seana Willing, Executive Director, has determined that for the first five-year period the proposed new rule is in effect there will be no fiscal implications for state or local government as a result of enforcing or administering the proposed new rule.

The Executive Director has also determined that for each year of the first five years the proposed new rule is in effect the public benefit will be clarity and fairness in the hearing process. There will not be an effect on small businesses. There is no anticipated economic cost to persons who are required to comply with the proposed new rule.

The Executive Director has determined that during the first five years that the proposed new rule is in effect, it will not: create or eliminate a government program; require the creation of new employee positions or the elimination of existing employee positions; require an increase or decrease in future legislative appropriations to the agency; require an increase or decrease in fees paid to the agency; increase or decrease the number of individuals subject to the rule's applicability; or positively or adversely affects this state's economy. The rule creates a new regulation by creating a new rule that sets out specific requirements for Commission staff and respondents to provide notice and exchange certain documents for a preliminary review hearing. However, notice requirements for a preliminary review hearing are already required by §571.125(b), Government Code, and the rule merely requires notices to be sent to a complainant and respondent earlier than existing §12.21. Additionally, the rule expands on an existing rule by requiring Commission staff and respondents to exchange certain documents prior to a preliminary review hearing and specifying how the Commission may address a failure to comply with those requirements. Section 571.1244 of the Government Code requires the Commission to adopt procedures for the conduct of preliminary review hearings, and rulemaking is a formal process of such adoption.

The Texas Ethics Commission invites comments on the proposed new rule from any member of the public. A written statement should be emailed to public_comment@ethics.state.tx.us, or mailed or delivered to Seana Willing, Texas Ethics Commission, P.O. Box 12070, Austin, Texas 78711-2070, or by facsimile (FAX) to (512) 463-5777. A person who wants to offer spoken comments to the commission concerning the proposed new rule may do so at any commission meeting during the agenda item relating to the proposed new rule. Information concerning the date, time, and location of commission meetings is available by telephoning (512) 463-5800 or on the Texas Ethics Commission's website at www.ethics.state.tx.us.

The new §12.84 is proposed under Texas Government Code §571.062, which authorizes the commission to adopt rules to administer Chapter 571 of the Government Code.

The proposed new rule §12.84 affects Subchapter E of Chapter 571 of the Government Code.

§12.84.Notice of Preliminary Review Hearing.

(a) Commission staff shall provide notice of a preliminary review hearing to a respondent and complainant at least 45 days before the date of the hearing and must include:

(1) the date, time, place, and nature of the hearing;

(2) a statement of the legal authority and jurisdiction under which the hearing is to be held;

(3) a reference to the particular sections of the statutes and rules involved; and

(4) a short and plain statement of the factual matters asserted.

(b) Commission staff shall provide to a respondent at least 30 days before the date of the hearing:

(1) a list of proposed witnesses to be called at the hearing and a brief statement as to the nature of the testimony expected to be given by each witness to be called at the hearing; and

(2) copies of all documents expected to be used or introduced as exhibits at the hearing.

(c) The respondent shall provide to commission staff the contents described by subsections (b)(1) and (b)(2) of this section. The contents must be received by commission staff at least 14 days before the date of the hearing. If a respondent or commission staff fail to comply with this section, the commission may reschedule the hearing or proceed with the hearing and exclude at the hearing evidence, documents, and testimony provided by the respondent or commission staff, as applicable, but such failure may be excused upon a showing of good cause.

The agency certifies that legal counsel has reviewed the proposal and found it to be within the state agency's legal authority to adopt.

Filed with the Office of the Secretary of State on November 30, 2017.

TRD-201704866

Seana Willing

Executive Director

Texas Ethics Commission

Earliest possible date of adoption: January 14, 2018

For further information, please call: (512) 463-5800


SUBCHAPTER E. FORMAL HEARING

1 TAC §12.103

The Texas Ethics Commission (the commission) proposes new Ethics Commission Rules §12.103, regarding formal hearing procedures.

The rule would require Commission staff to provide notice for a formal hearing to a respondent and complainant at least 60 days before the date of the hearing and send documents and witness lists to both the respondent and complainant at least 30 days before the hearing. The respondent would be required to send the same to staff at least 14 days before the hearing. The notice must include the contents required by §571.126(b) of the Government Code. The Commission would be able to reschedule a hearing, or continue the hearing and limit the admission of evidence or testimony, if staff or a respondent does not comply with the rule's requirements.

Seana Willing, Executive Director, has determined that for the first five-year period the proposed new rule is in effect there will be no fiscal implications for state or local government as a result of enforcing or administering the proposed new rule.

The Executive Director has also determined that for each year of the first five years the proposed new rule is in effect the public benefit will be clarity and fairness in the hearing process. There will not be an effect on small businesses. There is no anticipated economic cost to persons who are required to comply with the proposed new rule.

The Executive Director has determined that during the first five years that the proposed new rule is in effect, it will not: create or eliminate a government program; require the creation of new employee positions or the elimination of existing employee positions; require an increase or decrease in future legislative appropriations to the agency; require an increase or decrease in fees paid to the agency; increase or decrease the number of individuals subject to the rule's applicability; or positively or adversely affects this state's economy. The rule creates a new regulation by creating a new rule that sets out specific requirements for Commission staff and respondents to provide notice and exchange certain documents for a formal hearing. However, notice requirements for a formal hearing are already required by §571.126(b), Government Code, and the rule merely requires notices to be sent to a complainant and respondent earlier than existing rule §12.21 and Chapter 2001 of the Government Code. Additionally, the rule expands on an existing rule by requiring Commission staff to provide certain documents by a date earlier than the date required by §571.131, Government Code, and requires a respondent to do the same for the efficiency of the hearing. The rule also specifies how the Commission may address a failure to comply with those requirements.

The Texas Ethics Commission invites comments on the proposed new rule from any member of the public. A written statement should be emailed to public_comment@ethics.state.tx.us, or mailed or delivered to Seana Willing, Texas Ethics Commission, P.O. Box 12070, Austin, Texas 78711-2070, or by facsimile (FAX) to (512) 463-5777. A person who wants to offer spoken comments to the commission concerning the proposed new rule may do so at any commission meeting during the agenda item relating to the proposed new rule. Information concerning the date, time, and location of commission meetings is available by telephoning (512) 463-5800 or on the Texas Ethics Commission's website at www.ethics.state.tx.us.

The new rule §12.103 is proposed under Texas Government Code §571.062, which authorizes the commission to adopt rules to administer Chapter 571 of the Government Code.

The proposed new rule §12.103 affects Subchapter E of Chapter 571 of the Government Code.

§12.103.Notice of Formal Hearing.

(a) Commission staff shall provide notice of a formal hearing to a respondent and complainant at least 60 days before the date of the hearing and must include, in addition to the contents required by section 571.126(b) of the Government Code:

(1) the date, time, place, and nature of the hearing;

(2) a statement of the legal authority and jurisdiction under which the hearing is to be held;

(3) a reference to the particular sections of the statutes and rules involved; and

(4) a short and plain statement of the factual matters asserted.

(b) Commission staff shall provide to a respondent and complainant at least 30 days before the date of the hearing:

(1) a list of proposed witnesses to be called at the hearing and a brief statement as to the nature of the testimony expected to be given by each witness to be called at the hearing; and

(2) copies of all documents expected to be used or introduced as exhibits at the hearing.

(c) The respondent shall provide to commission staff the contents described by subsections (b)(1) and (b)(2) of this section. The contents must be received by commission staff at least 14 days before the date of the hearing. If a respondent or commission staff fail to comply with this section, the commission may reschedule the hearing or proceed with the hearing and exclude at the hearing evidence, documents, and testimony provided by the respondent or commission staff, as applicable, but such failure may be excused upon a showing of good cause.

The agency certifies that legal counsel has reviewed the proposal and found it to be within the state agency's legal authority to adopt.

Filed with the Office of the Secretary of State on November 30, 2017.

TRD-201704867

Seana Willing

Executive Director

Texas Ethics Commission

Earliest possible date of adoption: January 14, 2018

For further information, please call: (512) 463-5800