Since relinquishing their seats in January, 11 former House members and one former state senator have registered as lobbyists with the Texas Ethics Commission. Several of the former elected officials are now lobbying for clients on issues they worked closely on in the Legislature. Some legislators find the practice unsavory, and have filed bills this session that would require their colleagues to take a cooling-off period before registering as lobbyists.
Rep. Donna Howard, D-Austin, filed House Bill 905, which would require lawmakers to wait two years before performing activity that would require them to register with the Ethics Commission. Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, filed Senate Bill 99, which would require former lawmakers to wait two full legislative sessions.
Our visualization identifies these 12 recent lawmakers and their clients, based on filings from the Ethics Commission.
Shapiro chaired the Senate Education Committee from 2003 to 2012 and was a pivotal player in public education bills passed by the Legislature over the last decade. Texans for Education Reform is a newly formed advocacy group interested in expanding charter schools and virtual learning in the state. It also promotes teacher quality initiatives.
Chisum served as chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, which writes the budget, in 2007.
Eissler was widely viewed as an education expert in the House and chaired the House Public Education Committee during the 2007, 2009 and 2011 sessions. He filed legislation last session eliminating some of the state's more strenuous testing requirements that was widely viewed as aimed at the state's testing contractor — and Eissler's now-client — Pearson.
In 2011, Hamilton chaired the Licensing and Administrative Procedures Committee, which regulates the agency that oversees alcohol permitting.
Hardcastle chaired the Agriculture and Livestock Committee in 2011 and the Energy Resources Committee in 2007.
Hopson, a pharmacist, chaired the General Investigating and Ethics Committee during the 2009 and 2011 sessions.
Howard served on the House Energy Resources Committee and the Agriculture and Livestock Committee in 2011.
Jackson chaired the Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence Committee during the 2011 session.
Miller chaired the Homeland Security and Public Safety Committee and served on the Business and Industry Committee during the 2011 session.
Peña chaired the Technology Committee during the 2011 session and chaired the Criminal Jurisprudence Committee in 2007.
Solomons chaired the Redistricting Committee in 2011, the State Affairs Committee in 2009 and the Financial Institutions Committee during the 2003, 2005 and 2007 sessions.
Truitt chaired the Pensions, Investments and Financial Services Committee during the 2007, 2009 and 2011 sessions. The committee regulates payday lenders like ACE Cash Express, her new client. During the 2011 session, Truitt was vocal in her criticism of the payday lending industry and helped pass payday reform legislation.