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Jim Pitts

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Jim Pitts
Jim Pitts.jpg
Texas House of Representatives, District 10
Incumbent
In office
1993 - Present
Term ends
January 11, 2013
Years in position 21
PartyRepublican
Compensation
Base salary$7,200/year
Per diem$150/day
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 2, 2010
First electedNovember 3, 1992
Next generalNovember 6, 2012
Term limitsN/A
Personal
BirthdayJanuary 1, 1947
Place of birthDallas, TX
ReligionRoman Catholic
Websites
Office website
Campaign website
CandidateVerification
Jim Pitts is a Republican member of the Texas House of Representatives, representing District 10. He was first elected to the chamber in 1992.

On August 22, 2013, Pitts announced that he would not run for re-election and retire from the House after serving 10 terms.[1]

Biography

Pitts is the Director of Citizens National Bank in Waxahachie, Owner of Ellis County Abstract and Title Company, Director of Sims Library, and is an Attorney.

He is on the Board of Trustees of Presbyterian Children's Services, Community Advisory Council - Scottish Rite Learning Center, Sims Library, and Board of Directors of the Waxahachie Chamber of Commerce.

Prior to his election to the House, Pitts served on the Waxahachie School District Board of Trustees from 1978-1992.[2]

Committee assignments

2013-2014

At the beginning of the 2013 legislative session, Pitts served on the following committees:

Texas Committee Assignments, 2013
Appropriations, Chair
Joint Committee on Oversight of Higher Ed Governance, Excellence & Transparency

2011-2012

During the 2011-2012 legislative session, Pitts served on the following Texas House of Representatives committees:

Issues

Wallace Hall impeachment


Seal of Texas.svg.png

University of Texas Investigations

Background
Wallace Hall impeachment trialPolitical favoritism in admissions to the University of TexasForgivable loans program at the University of Texas Law School House Select Committee on Transparency in State Agency Operations (TSAO)Joint Committee on Oversight of Higher Ed Governance, Excellence & Transparency

UT Regents
Wallace HallPaul FosterEugene PowellSteven HicksErnest AlisedaJeffery HildebrandBrenda PejovichAlex CranbergRobert Stillwell

Elected Officials
Rick PerryJoe StrausCharles PerryTrey FischerDan FlynnNaomi GonzalezEric JohnsonLyle LarsonCarol AlvaradoFour PriceJim PittsDan Branch

UT Individuals
Bill PowersLarry SagerBarry BurgdorfKevin HegartyFrancisco CigarroaCarol Longoria
See also: Wallace Hall impeachment trial

Pitts has pushed for the impeachment of University of Texas Regent Wallace Hall. After he was appointed in 2011, Hall began looking into what he believed to be clout scandals within the University of Texas system. Hall investigated the university's forgivable-loans program, admissions policies and preferential treatment to politically-connected individuals.[3] Hall, as an individual citizen, filed a large number of FOIA requests with the University system after his inquiries via his role as a Regent were rebuffed.[4] Hall filed requests of more than 800,000 pages, which some Texas administrators called an unnecessary burden. Hall has been accused of overstepping his authority in making demands on the University of Texas, Austin staff. Specifically, the allegations surround possible mishandling of private student information and providing inadequate information on his application to be a regent. Hall claims to have proof that two legislators sought to influence top officials in the university system regarding admissions.[5][6][7]

On June 24, 2013, Pitts filed a resolution to advance along impeachment proceedings of Hall.[8] However, House Speaker Joe Straus issued a proclamation that expanded the Transparency in State Agency Operations Committee's jurisdiction to allow it to propose articles of impeachment against executive appointees.

In July 2013, University of Texas Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa and Regent Eugene Powell responded to the ongoing investigation and negative remarks against Hall from some elected officials and University of Texas staff. Cigarroa said Hall was not allowed to access anything that was not reviewed by University lawyers to ensure they met federal privacy standards. In a July 15, 2013 letter to Pitts, Powell wrote: "Regent Hall's efforts extend to bringing the U.T. System into a competitive position nationally; especially related to offering blended and online learning opportunities to U.T. students. I would point out Regent Hall's excellent service to the Board in terms of time and energy. I appreciate his Board service and his dedication and hard work designed to fulfill his fiduciary obligations.[9][10]

During October testimony to the committee, Pitts acknowledged that he routinely writes letters to Bill Powers, President of the University of Texas, on behalf of select student applications. Specifically, he wrote a letter on behalf of his son after the University of Texas law school had initially rejected his admittance. "The letter I wrote for my son was pretty much a form letter," Pitts said in an October meeting of the Transparency in State Agency Operations Committee. These letters were sent to both the law school dean and the university president.[11][12][13] In an interview with the National Journal, Pitts did not deny that he sought to influence the admission process at the University of Texas law school to get his son admitted to the school. Speaking about Hall, Pitts said that, "Any parent whose child has ever sought admission at the University of Texas should be deeply concerned that Mr. Hall’s allies would share children’s confidential admissions information with the news media in order to fulfill their insatiable appetite for harassing UT students and employees."[14] Pitts alleged that Hall is undermining the prominence of the University of Texas while trying to bring about the "resignation or firing of President Bill Powers." Pitts has been a central proponent of the impeachment investigation.[15][16] Hall's attorney Van Fleet at the October 22, 2013 meeting alleged that there was evidence Pitts spoke with President Powers' executive assistant about ensuring an unnamed student who had previously been rejected from law school would receive an opportunity to re-apply and interview with the dean.[17]

A National Review article on December 13, 2013 commented on the FERPA allegations in the case and how the author obtained his sources. In the article, the author said he had never spoken with Hall about the case and had discovered his research simply by Googling information. The author wrote, "Given that Representative Pitts not only improperly sought special consideration for his son but then had the audacity to lead impeachment proceedings in a case in which he has a clear and obvious conflict of interest, my read is that the wrong man is on trial in Austin."[18]

University of Texas Law School

See also: Political favoritism in admissions to the University of Texas

Representative Pitts was implicated in a Texas Watchdog December 2013 report on political favoritism at the University of Texas. Pitts's son James Ryan Pitts, along with two other sons of Texas state lawmakers, failed the Texas bar exam repeatedly after graduating from the University of Texas Law School. This was unusual for University of Texas Law School graduates, as less than 10 percent had to retake the exam in the eight years prior to 2013. State Senator John Carona (R) and State Senator Judith Zaffirini (D) were also implicated in the report, as their sons had similar difficulties. The report found that between the three lawmakers' sons, they had taken the bar exam 10 times -- with only two passing the exam. Pitts admitted to writing to University of Texas President Bill Powers on his son's behalf. The report was released following months of investigations into University Regent Wallace Hall and his FOIA requests of the University system. Hall implied that there were issues of clout and corruption within the Texas school system, alleging that legislators were using their political influence to effect law school admissions. The Watchdog report was issued following its investigation, which it said did not include details from Hall's FOIA requests.[19]

  • HB 226 - Relating to prohibiting employers from requiring employees to make certain charitable contributions.
  • HB 1482 - Relating to the creation of the offense of assault with bodily fluids, the prosecution and punishment of that offense, and the consequences of a conviction for that offense.
  • HB 1483 - Relating to the use of eminent domain authority.
  • HB 4584 - Relating to improving efficiency in state government and reducing state government spending.[20]

Campaign themes

2012

Pitts' website highlighted the following campaign themes:[21]

Protect the Right to Bear Arms

  • Excerpt:"Jim Pitts is a strong supporter of the 2nd Amendment. Jim believes that it is a Constitutional right to be able to own and carry firearms, and will fight to protect this country’s heritage and God-given right to bear arms."

Defend Private Property Rights

  • Excerpt:"Jim Pitts has voted to protect citizens from eminent domain abuse. Jim was a strong supporter of the eminent domain bill that passed during the 82nd Legislative Session and understands the value of private property rights."

Stop Illegal Immigration

  • Excerpt:"In his role as Chairman of the Committee charged with balancing the state’s budget, Jim has seen firsthand the escalating costs of illegal immigration. To fix it, Jim supports greater penalties for companies that knowingly employ illegal immigrants. Jim amended a key piece of legislation this past session to ensure that only Texas citizens are able to obtain and renew drivers’ licenses."

Create Jobs

  • Excerpt:"Since we elected Jim Pitts, Texas has been called the “job creation capital of the nation.” In fact, Texas has created more jobs over the past ten years than all other states combined. Jim will continue the fight to reduce regulations and cut taxes that prevent employers from keeping Texans on the job."

Protect Life

  • Excerpt:"Jim Pitts is 100% pro-life. He was endorsed by Texas Right to life and has a very strong record on Pro-Life votes from the 82nd Legislative Session and before."

Elections

2012

See also: Texas House of Representatives elections, 2012

Pitts ran in the 2012 election for Texas House of Representatives, District 10. Pitts defeated Linda Bounds, T.J. Fabby, and Matthew Melton in the May 29 primary election. He was unchallenged in the general election which took place on November 6, 2012.[22]

Texas House of Representatives District 10 Republican Primary, 2012
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngJim Pitts Incumbent 57.6% 8,392
T.J. Fabby 27% 3,931
Linda Bounds 12.4% 1,801
Matthew Melton 3.1% 457
Total Votes 14,581

2010

See also: Texas House of Representatives elections, 2010

Pitts won re-election unopposed to the 10th District seat in 2010. He had no opposition in the March 2nd primary, and he had no opposition in the general election, which took place on November 2, 2010.[23]

Texas House of Representatives, District 10
2010 General election results
Candidates Votes Percent


Green check mark transparent.png Jim Pitts (R) 31,797 100%

2008

On November 4, 2008, Pitts won re-election to the Texas House of Representatives from Texas's 10th District, defeating Phil Smart (L). Pitts received 49,401 votes in the election while Smart received 8,366 votes.[24] Pitts raised $325,315 for his campaign.[25]

Texas House of Representatives, District 10
Candidates Votes Percent


Green check mark transparent.png Jim Pitts (R) 49,401 85.51%
Phil Smart (L) 8,366 14.48%

Campaign donors

Comprehensive donor information for Pitts is available dating back to 1998. Based on available campaign finance records, Pitts raised a total of $3,507,490 during that time period. This information was last updated on July 19, 2013.[26]

Jim Pitts's Campaign Contribution History
Year Office Result Contributions
2012 Texas State House, District 10 Won $797,112
2010 Texas State House, District 10 Won $759,487
2008 Texas State House, District 10 Won $325,315
2006 Texas State House, District 10 Won $824,686
2004 Texas State House, District 10 Won $387,182
2002 Texas State House, District 10 Won $169,224
2000 Texas State House, District 10 Won $137,596
1998 Texas State House, District 10 Won $106,888
Grand Total Raised $3,507,490

2012

Pitts won re-election to the Texas House of Representatives in 2012. During that election cycle, Pitts raised a total of $797,112.

2010

Pitts won re-election to the Texas House of Representatives in 2010. During that election cycle, Pitts raised a total of $759,487.

2008

Pitts won re-election to the Texas House of Representatives in 2008. During that election cycle, Pitts raised a total of $325,315.

2006

Pitts won re-election to the Texas House of Representatives in 2006. During that election cycle, Pitts raised a total of $824,686.

2004

Pitts won re-election to the Texas House of Representatives in 2004. During that election cycle, Pitts raised a total of $387,182.

2002

Pitts won re-election to the Texas House of Representatives in 2002. During that election cycle, Pitts raised a total of $169,224.

2000

Pitts won re-election to the Texas House of Representatives in 2000. During that election cycle, Pitts raised a total of $137,596.

1998

Pitts won re-election to the Texas House of Representatives in 1998. During that election cycle, Pitts raised a total of $106,888.

Scorecards

Empower Texans Fiscal Responsibility Index

Empower Texans produces the Fiscal Responsibility Index as "a measurement of how lawmakers perform on size and role of government issues." The index uses "exemplar votes on core budget and free enterprise issues that demonstrate legislators' governing philosophy."[27] Legislators were graded along a 0 through 100 scale in 2013 and on an A through F grading scale in 2011.

2013

Pitts received a score of 29.7 in the 2013 Fiscal Responsibility Index, compared to the grade of D that Pitts received for the 2011 Fiscal Responsibility Index.

2011

Jim Pitts received a grade of D on the 2011 Fiscal Responsibility Index.

Recent news

This section displays the most recent stories in a Google news search for the term Jim + Pitts + Texas + House

All stories may not be relevant to this legislator due to the nature of the search engine.

Jim Pitts News Feed

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External links

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References

  1. The Dallas Morning News, "Rep. Jim Pitts, head of powerful House budget-writing committee, to retire from Texas Legislature," August 22, 2013
  2. Project Vote Smart - Rep. Pitts
  3. American Spectator "Transparency for Thee," October 25, 2013
  4. Daily Texas Online "Facing impeachment, Regent Wallace Hall defends actions in debate with Sen. Kirk Watson," September 28, 2013
  5. Daily Texas Online "Former UT System vice chancellor alleges Regent Wallace Hall’s ‘clear intent to get rid of Bill Powers’," October 24, 2013
  6. Dallas Morning News "UT regent sought 800,000 documents, official says in impeachment hearing," October 22, 2013
  7. Texas Tribune "Pitts: Enough Evidence to Impeach UT Regent Hall," October 22, 2013
  8. Alcalde "Pitts Files Resolution to Impeach UT Regent Wallace Hall," June 24, 2013
  9. Texas Tribune "UT System Pushes Back Against Criticism of Regent Hall," July 16, 2013
  10. University of Texas System "Letter from Eugene Powell to Jim Pitts," July 15, 2013
  11. National Review "The Ongoing Texas Travesty," October 23, 2013
  12. Watchdog "Lawmaker admits pulling strings on UT admissions," October 23, 2013
  13. National Review "The Curious and Curiouser Case of Wallace Hall," August 21, 2013
  14. Watchdog.org, "Texas’ Rep. Pitts announces retirement after improper influence story," August 22, 2013
  15. My West Texas "Opinion: Texas politicians guilty of clout abuse," Accessed November 22, 2013
  16. Dallas Morning News "Texas House budget chief says Dallas Regent Wallace Hall attacking UT, its president," October 22, 2013
  17. Dallas Morning News "UT, Powers under fire, according to early testimony during regent investigation," October 22, 2013
  18. National Review "The Texas Travesty, Again," December 13, 2013
  19. Texas Watchdog, "Children of Texas lawmakers get into UT School of Law, but struggle to pass bar exam," December 18, 2013
  20. Texas Legislature - Bills Authored/Joint Authored by Rep. Pitts
  21. jimpitts.net - Issues
  22. Texas Secretary of State, "1992 - Current Election History," accessed February 24, 2014
  23. Official Texas Election Results
  24. Texas Secretary of State, "1992 - Current Election History," accessed February 24, 2014
  25. District 10 Texas House candidate funds, 2008
  26. Follow the Money, "Pitts, Jim," accessed July 19, 2013
  27. Empower Texans, "Fiscal Responsibility Index," accessed February 22, 2014
Political offices
Preceded by
'
Texas House District 10
1993–present
Succeeded by
NA