Office of House Bill AnalysisH.B. 1168
By: Wilson
State Affairs


Prior to the 77th Legislature, lobbying regulation did not include a client
conflict of interest provision.  A lobbyist was not prohibited from
representing clients who are both for and against the same issue.  House
Bill 1168 prohibits a lobbyist from representing opposing parties, except
under certain conditions, and provides penalties for violators. 


It is the opinion of the Office of House Bill Analysis that this bill does
not expressly delegate any additional rulemaking authority to a state
officer, department, agency, or institution. 


House Bill 1168 amends the Government Code to prohibit a registrant
(lobbyist) from representing opposing parties in communicating directly
with a member of the legislative or executive branch to influence the same
legislation or administrative action except under certain conditions.  The
bill prohibits a lobbyist, except under certain conditions, from
representing a person in communicating directly with a member of the
legislative or executive branch to influence legislation or administrative
action if the representation of that person constitutes a conflict of
interest between that person and matters involving or surrounding the
lobbyist's employment.  

The bill requires the lobbyist to withdraw from any representation that is
in conflict or becomes improper under the Act.  The bill prohibits the
lobbyist's employer or partner from engaging in conduct prohibited by the
Act.  The bill requires the lobbyist to affirm, under oath, compliance with
these provisions in each report filed with the Texas Ethics Commission

The bill authorizes the commission to receive complaints regarding a
violation of the Act and, if the commission determines a violation has
occurred, to impose any penalty it may impose under another state law.
Additionally, in such situations,  the bill authorizes  the commission to
rescind the person's registration and to prohibit the person from
registering with the commission for a period not to exceed two years from
the date of the  rescission.   

The bill provides that if the person knowingly violates the conflict of
interest provision in the Act, the person commits a Class B misdemeanor. 


September 1, 2001.