Rulebreaking but not lawbreaking is the conclusion.
A Texas Rangers investigation released Tuesday found that the staff of state Rep. Jonathan Stickland, R-Bedford, filled out witness registration forms for people who were not in the Capitol but that no one committed any prosecutable offenses.
House leaders have long said that legislative rules require witnesses who want to participate in a hearing to be physically in the room. Participants are asked to register through electronic kiosks outside the hearing rooms.
The Rangers’ report is the latest twist in a state investigation that began immediately after an April 30 House Transportation Committee hearing at which Chairman Joe Pickett, D-El Paso, accused Stickland of breaking the law by listing witnesses who were not in Austin as supporters of his bill to ban red light cameras. He then ordered Stickland to leave the hearing.
The House General Investigating and Ethics Committee, which launched a probe into the hearing and requested assistance from the Texas Rangers, met for nearly two hours Tuesday, almost entirely in executive session. The closed-door portion of the meeting featured testimony from Rangers involved in the investigation, according to Chairman John Kuempel, R-Seguin.
Kuempel said afterward that the committee members will need time to review the report before deciding on the next step.
“The Rangers’ investigation is closed,” Kuempel said. “Ours is still ongoing.”
The committee also voted unanimously to request that the House Administration Committee plan training sessions for House members and staff on House rules and operations.
See here, here, and here for the background. Stickland is claiming victory and redemption, which of course he is. For everyone else, it’s more training and a rewrite of the rules that were apparently not clear enough for Jonathan Stickland. What a great use of everyone’s time. Trail Blazers has more.