Protecting the First Amendment Rights of State Employees

I filed HB 200 this morning to protect the First Amendment rights of state employees by explicitly allowing state employees to voluntarily participate in political activities, and, just as important, run for partisan political office. 

In particular, the bill amends §36.150 to state that (1) the prohibition against solicitation of financial assistance from state employees as a condition of employment shall not be interpreted to prevent a state employee from”voluntarily engaging in any political activity during non-working hours” and (2) to delete the section which requires a state employee to resign or obtain a leave of absence in order to be a candidate for nomination to partisan political office. 

I’m filing this because state employees shouldn’t be forced to abandon their rights to political activity, including running for office, in non-work hours just because they’re a state employee.