HB0891/SB0731 – Prohibits plea agreements; establishes penalties for misconduct in office. Staples/Briggs
This bill prohibits a court from accepting any plea agreement that allows an elected public official who is charged with an infamous crime involving an offense committed in the person's official capacity or involving the duties of the person's office, to qualify for, seek, or hold public office in this state or political subdivision of this state at some point in the future.
This bill enhances, from a Class C misdemeanor to a Class A misdemeanor, the act of a person taking on any office in this state while being under a disqualification in (1). This bill also revises the disqualification described in (1) above to conform to a separate present law provision whereby a person declared infamous for an offense committed in the person's official capacity or for an offense that involved the duties of the person's office is permanently barred from qualifying for office, even if the person's rights to citizenship have been restored.
AMENDMENT #1 adds that, if an elected public official accepts a plea agreement for an offense committed in the person's official capacity or involving the duties of the person's office, the person is prohibited from qualifying for, seeking, or holding public office in this state or any political subdivision of this state at some point in the future after the plea agreement has been agreed to by all parties.
Favor: The bill serves to discourage the practice of covering for officials who have been accused of misconduct, a practice we all know has been going on for as long as the offices existed.
This may be one good outcome of the "me too" and "gotcha, your busted" mentality that has prevailed in the past few years.
TLRC Observed Process
Passed both houses without much opposition. The minimal opposition was bi-partisan.