Politicians should not be allowed to collect salary, pension simultaneously
AUSTIN – Today, State Representative Chris Turner (HD 101- Grand Prairie) passed HB 408, which would bar elected officials from collecting a salary and state pension at the same time, if their retirement payments are a result of their service as an elected official. Turner first proposed this legislation in 2013.
“This legislation simply says that if politicians want to start collecting a state-funded pension as a result of their time in office, they need to really retire and no longer collect a salary. Our state leaders frequently tout Texas as a national example for fiscal responsibility. This measure is about fiscal responsibility — it’s just plain common sense that an elected official should not be getting paid twice for doing one job,” said Turner.
“Banning double dipping is an important step to strengthening the public’s trust and faith in both elected officials and the laws under which we serve,” said Turner. “I want to thank the members of the House for overwhelmingly approving this legislation with a vote of 144-1.”
…and lose some.
I’m in my third term in the House of Representatives and I’ve been privileged to pass a number of bills through the Legislature and into law…the Veterans Cash lottery scratch-off game which has raised millions for Texas veterans…new consumer protections for apartment tenants…a measure to crack down on child pornographers…those are just a few of the measures I’ve been fortunate to work on and convince my colleagues to support.
And then this week, something new (for me) happened. I presented a bill to the House that my staff and I have been working on for more than two years — a measure to require bars to carry liquor liability insurance. This has always seemed like a fairly straight-forward, common-sense idea to me. In fact, when I would tell people about the bill, the reply I would most often receive was, “that’s not already the law?”. So I thought this was something that would have a decent chance of passing.
Was I wrong about that — not only did it not pass, the vote wasn’t even close.
You’ll often hear politicians talking about local control – cities know better than the state, the state knows better than the federal government (I hear that a lot in Austin) and so on.
Last week, the House took actions which show little respect for local control and the voters who elect local leaders.
First, the House passed HB 40, which would preempt many local regulations with respect to urban oil and gas drilling. This legislation was prompted by the decision of Denton voters last year to impose a ban on fracking in their city. Regardless of what you think about that ban, it’s my belief that the Legislature is going too far and using too broad a brush to address this issue. HB 40 impacts cities like Arlington, which has a gas drilling ordinance in place that appears to have worked well over the years.
Just over a week ago, I toured the Arlington neighborhood affected by a serious gas well incident with Fire Chief Crowson, and I saw first-hand why Arlington’s gas drilling rules are critical to help protect the City’s residents.
Dear Mayor Cluck:
I recently learned that the Arlington South Service Center will not be utilized as an early voting location for the upcoming 2015 municipal election, and I have serious concerns about the impact this decision will have on the constituents of House District 101.
As a state legislator, I try my best to avoid involving myself in city business; however, this matter has the potential to be precedent-setting, affecting the location of early voting sites not only in the May election, but in all elections going forward. Ensuring our constituents can exercise their right to vote without confusion or undue inconvenience must be a priority for all of us in public office, so I hope to provide you and the Council with an additional perspective on this issue.