El Paso-centric info and commentary from the Center of North America

NPT Capitol: Ethics bill passed despite House meltdown

SB 1368, the El Paso Ethics bill, passed the House on second reading this evening. It now will go through several rubber stamps before coming law.

Read state Rep Marisa Marquez’s press release after the jump.

–Ben Wright

Rep. Marquez Passes El Paso County Ethics Bill In The House

SB 1368 Now On the Fast Track to The Governor’s Desk

AUSTIN, TX–—Freshman State Rep. Marisa Marquez (D – El Paso) passed the El Paso County ethics bill today on the floor of the House of Representatives, a hard-fought victory for proponents of clean government in El Paso. SB 1368 authored by Sen. Shapleigh and sponsored in the House by Rep. Marquez allows the county to establish an independent ethics commission that will adopt, publish, and enforce an ethics code governing county public servants. The only remaining procedural step is a final concurrence in the Senate.

“This is a great day for El Paso and its citizens,” said Marquez. “We have seen a breakdown in county government recently. Community leaders from the courthouse to the statehouse have joined together to ensure that we have a new day for El Paso county government.”

The version of the ethics bill that finally passed the House was a collaborative piece of legislation that was ultimately supported by all members of the El Paso delegation. Marquez worked closely with the County Commissioners Court, District Attorney Jaime Esparza, County Attorney Jose Rodriguez, Sheriff Richard Wiles, and other community leaders to improve the bill. The previous version of the bill sat in the Calendars Committee until it was placed too late on the calendar for house bills. This version, however, was sent to the Local and Consent Calendars Committee and placed for a vote in short order.

“We have worked with great energy to fend off attacks on this bill from various quarters. We have finally triumphed and delivered for our community a bill that will help El Paso move forward,” said Marquez. “This bill is ultimately good for business. It will indicate to companies that wish to do business in El Paso that we do not have a corruption problem that will get in the way of free commerce.”

SB 1368 is unique in being the first bill to allow a county to create its own ethics commission. Under the new law, the county could create a ten member ethics commission that would review complaints and impose civil penalties of up to $4,000 for each violation.

Marquez is serving her first term in the Texas House of Representatives. She represents District 77, containing downtown El Paso, UTEP, and neighborhoods near Fort Bliss. She sits on three committees: Corrections, County Affairs, and Rules & Resolutions.



May 23, 2009

CONTACT: Michael Garemko

(512) 463-0638

Written by newspapertreeelpaso

May 23, 2009 at 8:55 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

2 Responses

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  1. Cornell Journal of Law and Public Policy Fall, 2006
    16 Cornell J. L. & Pub. Pol’y 1 “Since 1992, the [Texas Ethics Commission] has initiated only one sworn complaint, has conducted one formal hearing and has not forwarded a single case to a law enforcement agency for criminal prosecution.”

    I think there will be much lege and legal action following this for one it may usurp tx state bar sole authority to regulate government attorneys, it also may ‘interfere’ with various unions gov employees belong to besides the sheriff union, it also seems to usurp the tx ethics commission itself…it will be a law fraught with problems and unintended consequences as Chavez said. There also seems to be alot of Garrity vs NJ issues not addressed.

    As law review shows above, it is nothing more or less than a paper tiger or witch hunt but it makes us feel good.

    Carl Starr

    May 24, 2009 at 11:23 am

  2. Witch hunt or not, the problem of public corruption has to be adressed. As you know I have been blogging about the illegal acts by Richard Wiles and his new staff. The use of county equipment to gather court documents and personal information while on county time and posting it on blogs to try to opress me. They figure if they post exaggerrated or embareassing comments and or facts about me I will stop speaking out. Brother please, it wil take a whole lot more to stop me. Wiles has incarserated me twice for blogging. Once when he was trying to get the Austin chief job and another time when he was running for sheriff. His buddy Jaime Esparza helped it happen. Unfortunately they expected me to just roll over and play dead. They have run me through the court system for the last four and a half years. I have been accused of violent crimes, I have faced jury trials, have faced felony charges and fought off up to twenty years in prison three times yet I didn’t give up. I am no saint by any means but I was not guilty of the crimes I was charged with to shut me up. I applaud any action to stop the corruption. I am only one of the many victims of this practice. The New York times wrote a story on Esparza and Wiles back in 2004 critisizing them for not properly investigating citizen complaints. Wiles claimed the number of Internal Affairs reports dropped wile he was Chief and the number of police officers fired also dropped. That is true, five of my internal affairs were lost, and the police officer that brutality tazed me was forced to resign after facing three more excessive force charges.


    Little Monster

    May 25, 2009 at 10:20 pm

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