1. Sec. 176.001. DEFINITIONS. In this chapter:
    1. (1) "Agent" means a third party who undertakes to transact some business or manage some affair for another person by the authority or on account of the other person. The term includes an employee.
    2. (1-a) "Business relationship" means a connection between two or more parties based on commercial activity of one of the parties. The term does not include a connection based on:
      1. (A) a transaction that is subject to rate or fee regulation by a federal, state, or local governmental entity or an agency of a federal, state, or local governmental entity;
      2. (B) a transaction conducted at a price and subject to terms available to the public; or
      3. (C) a purchase or lease of goods or services from a person that is chartered by a state or federal agency and that is subject to regular examination by, and reporting to, that agency.
    3. (1-b) "Charter school" means an open-enrollment charter school operating under Subchapter D, Chapter 12, Education Code.
    4. (1-c) "Commission" means the Texas Ethics Commission.
    5. (1-d) "Contract" means a written agreement for the sale or purchase of real property, goods, or services.
    6. (2) "Family member" means a person related to another person within the first degree by consanguinity or affinity, as described by Subchapter B, Chapter 573, Government Code.
    7. (2-a) "Family relationship" means a relationship between a person and another person within the third degree by consanguinity or the second degree by affinity, as those terms are defined by Subchapter B, Chapter 573, Government Code.
    8. (2-b) "Gift" means a benefit offered by a person, including food, lodging, transportation, and entertainment accepted as a guest. The term does not include a benefit offered on account of kinship or a personal, professional, or business relationship independent of the official status of the recipient.
    9. (2-c) "Goods" means personal property.
    10. (2-d) "Investment income" means dividends, capital gains, or interest income generated from:
      1. (A) a personal or business:
        1. (i) checking or savings account;
        2. (ii) share draft or share account; or
        3. (iii) other similar account;
      2. (B) a personal or business investment; or
      3. (C) a personal or business loan.
    11. (3) "Local governmental entity" means a county, municipality, school district, charter school, junior college district, water district created under Subchapter B, Chapter 49, Water Code, or other political subdivision of this state or a local government corporation, board, commission, district, or authority to which a member is appointed by the commissioners court of a county, the mayor of a municipality, or the governing body of a municipality. The term does not include an association, corporation, or organization of governmental entities organized to provide to its members education, assistance, products, or services or to represent its members before the legislative, administrative, or judicial branches of the state or federal government.
    12. (4) "Local government officer" means:
      1. (A) a member of the governing body of a local governmental entity;
      2. (B) a director, superintendent, administrator, president, or other person designated as the executive officer of a local governmental entity; or
      3. (C) an agent of a local governmental entity who exercises discretion in the planning, recommending, selecting, or contracting of a vendor.
    13. (5) "Records administrator" means the director, county clerk, municipal secretary, superintendent, or other person responsible for maintaining the records of the local governmental entity or another person designated by the local governmental entity to maintain statements and questionnaires filed under this chapter and perform related functions.
    14. (6) "Services" means skilled or unskilled labor or professional services, as defined by Section 2254.002, Government Code.
    15. (7) "Vendor" means a person who enters or seeks to enter into a contract with a local governmental entity. The term includes an agent of a vendor. The term includes an officer or employee of a state agency when that individual is acting in a private capacity to enter into a contract. The term does not include a state agency except for Texas Correctional Industries.
    Added by Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 1014 (H.B. 914), Sec. 1, eff. June 18, 2005.
    Amended by:
    Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 226 (H.B. 1491), Sec. 1, eff. May 25, 2007.
    Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 989 (H.B. 23), Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2015.
  1. Sec. 176.002. APPLICABILITY TO VENDORS AND OTHER PERSONS. (a) This chapter applies to a person who is:
    1. (1) a vendor; or
    2. (2) a local government officer of a local governmental entity.
  2. (b) A person is not subject to the disclosure requirements of this chapter if the person is:
    1. (1) a state, a political subdivision of a state, the federal government, or a foreign government; or
    2. (2) an employee or agent of an entity described by Subdivision (1), acting in the employee's or agent's official capacity.
    Added by Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 1014 (H.B. 914), Sec. 1, eff. June 18, 2005.
    Amended by:
    Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 226 (H.B. 1491), Sec. 2, eff. May 25, 2007.
    Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 989 (H.B. 23), Sec. 2, eff. September 1, 2015.
    Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 989 (H.B. 23), Sec. 3, eff. September 1, 2015.
  1. Sec. 176.003. CONFLICTS DISCLOSURE STATEMENT REQUIRED. (a) A local government officer shall file a conflicts disclosure statement with respect to a vendor if:
    1. (1) the vendor enters into a contract with the local governmental entity or the local governmental entity is considering entering into a contract with the vendor; and
    2. (2) the vendor:
      1. (A) has an employment or other business relationship with the local government officer or a family member of the officer that results in the officer or family member receiving taxable income, other than investment income, that exceeds $2,500 during the 12-month period preceding the date that the officer becomes aware that:
        1. (i) a contract between the local governmental entity and vendor has been executed; or
        2. (ii) the local governmental entity is considering entering into a contract with the vendor;
      2. (B) has given to the local government officer or a family member of the officer one or more gifts that have an aggregate value of more than $100 in the 12-month period preceding the date the officer becomes aware that:
        1. (i) a contract between the local governmental entity and vendor has been executed; or
        2. (ii) the local governmental entity is considering entering into a contract with the vendor; or
      3. (C) has a family relationship with the local government officer.
  2. (a-1) A local government officer is not required to file a conflicts disclosure statement in relation to a gift accepted by the officer or a family member of the officer if the gift is:
    1. (1) a political contribution as defined by Title 15, Election Code; or
    2. (2) food accepted as a guest.
  3. (a-2) A local government officer is not required to file a conflicts disclosure statement under Subsection (a) if the local governmental entity or vendor described by that subsection is an administrative agency created under Section 791.013, Government Code.
  4. (b) A local government officer shall file the conflicts disclosure statement with the records administrator of the local governmental entity not later than 5 p.m. on the seventh business day after the date on which the officer becomes aware of the facts that require the filing of the statement under Subsection (a).
  5. (c) Repealed by Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 989 , Sec. 9(1), eff. September 1, 2015.
  6. (d) Repealed by Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 989 , Sec. 9(1), eff. September 1, 2015.
  7. (e) The commission shall adopt the conflicts disclosure statement for local government officers for use under this section. The conflicts disclosure statement must include:
    1. (1) a requirement that each local government officer disclose:
      1. (A) an employment or other business relationship described by Subsection (a)(2)(A), including the nature and extent of the relationship; and
      2. (B) gifts accepted by the local government officer and any family member of the officer from a vendor during the 12-month period described by Subsection (a)(2)(B) if the aggregate value of the gifts accepted by the officer or a family member from that vendor exceeds $100;
    2. (2) an acknowledgment from the local government officer that:
      1. (A) the disclosure applies to each family member of the officer; and
      2. (B) the statement covers the 12-month period described by Subsection (a)(2)(B); and
    3. (3) the signature of the local government officer acknowledging that the statement is made under oath under penalty of perjury.
    Added by Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 1014 (H.B. 914), Sec. 1, eff. June 18, 2005.
    Amended by:
    Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 226 (H.B. 1491), Sec. 3, eff. May 25, 2007.
    Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 989 (H.B. 23), Sec. 4, eff. September 1, 2015.
    Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 989 (H.B. 23), Sec. 5, eff. September 1, 2015.
    Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 989 (H.B. 23), Sec. 9(1), eff. September 1, 2015.
  1. Sec. 176.006. DISCLOSURE REQUIREMENTS FOR VENDORS AND OTHER PERSONS; QUESTIONNAIRE. (a) A vendor shall file a completed conflict of interest questionnaire if the vendor has a business relationship with a local governmental entity and:
    1. (1) has an employment or other business relationship with a local government officer of that local governmental entity, or a family member of the officer, described by Section 176.003(a)(2)(A);
    2. (2) has given a local government officer of that local governmental entity, or a family member of the officer, one or more gifts with the aggregate value specified by Section 176.003(a)(2)(B), excluding any gift described by Section 176.003(a-1); or
    3. (3) has a family relationship with a local government officer of that local governmental entity.
  2. (a-1) The completed conflict of interest questionnaire must be filed with the appropriate records administrator not later than the seventh business day after the later of:
    1. (1) the date that the vendor:
      1. (A) begins discussions or negotiations to enter into a contract with the local governmental entity; or
      2. (B) submits to the local governmental entity an application, response to a request for proposals or bids, correspondence, or another writing related to a potential contract with the local governmental entity; or
    2. (2) the date the vendor becomes aware:
      1. (A) of an employment or other business relationship with a local government officer, or a family member of the officer, described by Subsection (a);
      2. (B) that the vendor has given one or more gifts described by Subsection (a); or
      3. (C) of a family relationship with a local government officer.
  3. (b) The commission shall adopt a conflict of interest questionnaire for use under this section that requires disclosure of a vendor's business and family relationships with a local governmental entity.
  4. (c) The questionnaire adopted under Subsection (b) must require, for the local governmental entity with respect to which the questionnaire is filed, that the vendor filing the questionnaire:
    1. (1) describe each employment or business and family relationship the vendor has with each local government officer of the local governmental entity;
    2. (2) identify each employment or business relationship described by Subdivision (1) with respect to which the local government officer receives, or is likely to receive, taxable income, other than investment income, from the vendor;
    3. (3) identify each employment or business relationship described by Subdivision (1) with respect to which the vendor receives, or is likely to receive, taxable income, other than investment income, that:
      1. (A) is received from, or at the direction of, a local government officer of the local governmental entity; and
      2. (B) is not received from the local governmental entity; and
    4. (4) describe each employment or business relationship with a corporation or other business entity with respect to which a local government officer of the local governmental entity:
      1. (A) serves as an officer or director; or
      2. (B) holds an ownership interest of one percent or more.
  5. (d) A vendor shall file an updated completed questionnaire with the appropriate records administrator not later than the seventh business day after the date on which the vendor becomes aware of an event that would make a statement in the questionnaire incomplete or inaccurate.
  6. (e) A person who is both a local government officer and a vendor of a local governmental entity is required to file the questionnaire required by Subsection (a)(1) only if the person:
    1. (1) enters or seeks to enter into a contract with the local governmental entity; or
    2. (2) is an agent of a person who enters or seeks to enter into a contract with the local governmental entity.
  7. (f) Repealed by Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 989 , Sec. 9(3), eff. September 1, 2015.
  8. (g) Repealed by Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 989 , Sec. 9(3), eff. September 1, 2015.
  9. (h) Repealed by Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 989 , Sec. 9(3), eff. September 1, 2015.
  10. (i) The validity of a contract between a vendor and a local governmental entity is not affected solely because the vendor fails to comply with this section.
  11. Added by Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 1014 (H.B. 914), Sec. 1, eff. June 18, 2005.
    Amended by:
    Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 226 (H.B. 1491), Sec. 6, eff. May 25, 2007.
    Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 226 (H.B. 1491), Sec. 9, eff. May 25, 2007.
    Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 87 (S.B. 1969), Sec. 15.005, eff. September 1, 2009.
    Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 989 (H.B. 23), Sec. 6, eff. September 1, 2015.
    Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 989 (H.B. 23), Sec. 9(3), eff. September 1, 2015.
  1. Sec. 176.0065. MAINTENANCE OF RECORDS. A records administrator shall:
    1. (1) maintain a list of local government officers of the local governmental entity and shall make that list available to the public and any vendor who may be required to file a conflict of interest questionnaire under Section 176.006; and
    2. (2) maintain the statements and questionnaires that are required to be filed under this chapter in accordance with the local governmental entity's records retention schedule.
    Added by Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 226 (H.B. 1491), Sec. 8, eff. May 25, 2007.
    Redesignated and amended from Local Government Code, Section 176.011 by Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 989 (H.B. 23), Sec. 7, eff. September 1, 2015.
  1. Sec. 176.008. ELECTRONIC FILING. The requirements of this chapter, including signature requirements, may be satisfied by electronic filing in a form approved by the commission.
  2. Added by Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 1014 (H.B. 914), Sec. 1, eff. June 18, 2005.
  1. Sec. 176.009. POSTING ON INTERNET. (a) A local governmental entity that maintains an Internet website shall provide access to the statements and to questionnaires required to be filed under this chapter on that website. This subsection does not require a local governmental entity to maintain an Internet website.
  2. (b) Repealed by Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 847, Sec. 3(b), eff. January 1, 2014.
  3. Added by Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 1014 (H.B. 914), Sec. 1, eff. June 18, 2005.
    Amended by:
    Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 226 (H.B. 1491), Sec. 7, eff. May 25, 2007.
    Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., R.S., Ch. 1163 (H.B. 2702), Sec. 76, eff. September 1, 2011.
    Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 847 (H.B. 195), Sec. 3(b), eff. January 1, 2014.
  1. Sec. 176.010. REQUIREMENTS CUMULATIVE. The requirements of this chapter are in addition to any other disclosure required by law.
  2. Added by Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 1014 (H.B. 914), Sec. 1, eff. June 18, 2005.
  1. Sec. 176.012. APPLICATION OF PUBLIC INFORMATION LAW. This chapter does not require a local governmental entity to disclose any information that is excepted from disclosure by Chapter 552, Government Code.
  2. Added by Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 226 (H.B. 1491), Sec. 8, eff. May 25, 2007.
  1. Sec. 176.013. ENFORCEMENT. (a) A local government officer commits an offense under this chapter if the officer:
    1. (1) is required to file a conflicts disclosure statement under Section 176.003; and
    2. (2) knowingly fails to file the required conflicts disclosure statement with the appropriate records administrator not later than 5 p.m. on the seventh business day after the date on which the officer becomes aware of the facts that require the filing of the statement.
  2. (b) A vendor commits an offense under this chapter if the vendor:
    1. (1) is required to file a conflict of interest questionnaire under Section 176.006; and
    2. (2) either:
      1. (A) knowingly fails to file the required questionnaire with the appropriate records administrator not later than 5 p.m. on the seventh business day after the date on which the vendor becomes aware of the facts that require the filing of the questionnaire; or
      2. (B) knowingly fails to file an updated questionnaire with the appropriate records administrator not later than 5 p.m. on the seventh business day after the date on which the vendor becomes aware of an event that would make a statement in a questionnaire previously filed by the vendor incomplete or inaccurate.
  3. (c) An offense under this chapter is:
    1. (1) a Class C misdemeanor if the contract amount is less than $1 million or if there is no contract amount for the contract;
    2. (2) a Class B misdemeanor if the contract amount is at least $1 million but less than $5 million; or
    3. (3) a Class A misdemeanor if the contract amount is at least $5 million.
  4. (d) A local governmental entity may reprimand, suspend, or terminate the employment of an employee who knowingly fails to comply with a requirement adopted under this chapter.
  5. (e) The governing body of a local governmental entity may, at its discretion, declare a contract void if the governing body determines that a vendor failed to file a conflict of interest questionnaire required by Section 176.006.
  6. (f) It is an exception to the application of Subsection (a) that the local government officer filed the required conflicts disclosure statement not later than the seventh business day after the date the officer received notice from the local governmental entity of the alleged violation.
  7. (g) It is an exception to the application of Subsection (b) that the vendor filed the required questionnaire not later than the seventh business day after the date the vendor received notice from the local governmental entity of the alleged violation.
  8. Added by Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 989 (H.B. 23), Sec. 8, eff. September 1, 2015.

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