A bill that called for greater governmental transparency died in the Texas House on Friday.
State Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer, D-San Antonio, killed the measure with a parliamentary maneuver known as a point of order. Martinez Fischer opposed the bill because officials from his hometown of San Antonio saw it as a burden.
By not going forward with the bill, local governments can now “meaningfully participate in the process,” said Martinez Fischer, who added that he supports the concept of transparency.
House Bill 14 by state Rep. Jim Pitts, R-Waxahachie, would have required cities, special districts, counties and school districts to disclose long-term debt obligations and other financial information to voters annually.
The idea was to provide the electorate with financial information before they vote on taxpayer-funded projects.
Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell, who also hailed the issue of transparency, was also against the measure. He told Speaker Joe Straus in a recent letter obtained by the Austin American-Statesman that the bill would hinder cities’ ability to make infrastructure investments.
“Unfortunately, H.B. 14 has the potential to confuse and mislead voters about these investments, ultimately making it harder to finance infrastructure, and putting our strong economic performance at risk.” Leffingwell wrote to Straus.
State Comptroller Susan Combs, a Republican who has been discussed as a possible candidate to be the next lieutenant governor, has pushed for the bill.
The proposal still has a chance in the House, and a similar bill is pending in a Senate committee.