Before taking up a bill that would eradicate "sanctuary cities" in the state, the Texas Senate voted Tuesday to approve a different high-profile bill concerning ethics reforms.
Before the Senate vote took place, legislators discussed Senate Bill 14 -- the ethics reform bill -- which was passed out of committee on Thursday by a unanimous vote. Now that SB 14 has been approved by the Senate, it will head to the House of Representatives for a vote. SB 14 would do four things if passed into law as introduced:
1. Forces a legislator to resign and lose their pension if they are convicted of a felony;
2. Requires legislators to disclose any government contracts they may hold;
3. Requires legislators to disclose lobbyist expenditures;
4. Establishes a “clear line” between an elected official and lobbyist, partly by implementing a cool down period, of a full legislative session for when someone can go from being a legislator to being a lobbyist.
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick issued the following statement after SB 14 passed the Senate:
"Government, at all levels, must inspire the public’s trust in a transparent and ethically principled manner. I congratulate Sen. Taylor on today's unanimous vote in the Senate to pass SB 14 - this is a victory for Texas voters. Ethics reform was one of my top priorities and I am very proud that this first priority bill has passed."
Senate Bill 4, which would eliminate sanctuary cities in the state, passed out of committee along party lines early Friday morning after 16 hours of testimony by members of the public. If made into law, SB 4 will require all law enforcement in Texas honor U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement (ICE) detainers. Those detainers are voluntary requests from ICE to hold people who have been arrested for 48 hours while ICE investigates their immigration status.
Local government entities and college campuses who refuse to enforce the detainers would be subject to punishments that include withholding state funds.
After hearing arguments on more than 30 amendments to SB 4, the senate passed SB 4 by a vote of 20-11. A final vote is expected to take place Wednesday. An amendment to the bill would make it a Class A misdemeanor for any elected official who violates the law.
This story will be updated when the vote on the bills takes place.