[Watchdogs] Johnson: Strip pensions from felon lawmakers [Mike Ward, AAS]
milton.hawkins at gmail.com
Fri Dec 17 16:10:28 CST 2010
An interesting development with respect to corrupt legislators. And
remember that Bennie is a felon law*breaker*--not a felon law*maker*. He is
in fact a "faithless servant," and *our Board should hire an attorney to
press that case to Judge Mills*.
Johnson: Strip pensions from felon
By Mike Ward <ward.statesman at gmail.com> | Friday, December 17, 2010, 08:23
A Dallas lawmaker whose predecessor went to federal prison for fraud said
today he is seeking to change state law *to strip pensions and
benefits*from corrupt legislators who are convicted of felonies.
“I’m asking my colleagues in the Texas Legislature to join with me and make
a strong statement that those who abuse the public trust should not be able
to reap any benefits from their time in office,” state Rep. Eric Johnson,
D-Dallas, said in a statement.
“This legislation is fundamental to ensuring that Texans have faith in our
system of government and can feel confident that their elected
representatives will look out for their interests in Austin.”
Johnson said he has filed an ethics reform bill — House Bill 246 — in the
legislative session that begins Jan. 11 that would require legislators and
statewide elected officials who commit felonies connected to their official
duties *to forfeit their state pensions*.
Even though they earn just $600 a month and contribute little to the pension
fund, lawmakers receive state pensions based upon the six-figure salaries of
state district judges.
Texas law currently does not block a legislator or state official convicted
of a felony while in office from collecting their pension, as a member of
the elected class of the Employees Retirement System of Texas.
Johnson replaced state Rep. Terri Hodge, D-Dallas, who resigned last winter
after she was convicted of federal fraud and tax charges. She is now serving
time in a federal prison in Kentucky.
Of the ten most populous states, only New York and Texas lack a pension
forfeiture law that applies to their legislators, Johnson said.
Johnson’s comments came as the
that state Rep. Ismael “Kino” Flores, D-Palmview, remains a member
in good standing in the Texas House — despite his recent conviction and
sentencing on two felony ethics charges and several related misdemeanors —
because there is no rule or law prohibiting felons from serving.
Flores, 52, did not run for re-election and will leave office on Jan. 10.
Once convicted of a felony, Texans are prohibited from voting on Election
Day. But if they are already a member of the House, there is no law or rule
that prohibits them from voting there — if the Legislature is in session.
They can also continue to collect their state salary and benefits.
*Correction*: The entry has been corrected to reflect accurately when Terri
Hodge resigned from the Texas House.
Milton Hawkins milton.hawkins at gmail.com
P.O. Box 1502
Johnson City, Texas 78636-1502
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