HBA-LCA H.B. 3626 76(R) BILL ANALYSIS Office of House Bill AnalysisH.B. 3626 By: Naishtat Judicial Affairs 4/14/1999 Introduced BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE Various sections of the Government Code authorize the imposition of additional filing fees by certain courts to help a county the costs of administration. Proposed legislation during this session, if passed, will result in statutory probate courts' being the only county-administered courts without the option of imposing such an additional filing fee. H.B. 3626 provides for the imposition of an additional filing fee of $40 for statutory probate courts. Following the existing provisions for an additional filing fee for a judicial fund, a county would be able to choose whether or not to participate, and would be precluded from collecting both a fee as added under this Act and other certain fees. RULEMAKING AUTHORITY It is the opinion of the Office of House Bill Analysis that this bill does not expressly delegate any additional rulemaking authority to a state officer, department, agency, or institution. SECTION BY SECTION ANALYSIS SECTION 1. Amends Subchapter B, Chapter 25, Government Code, by adding Sections 25.00211 and 25.00212, as follows: Sec. 25.00211. STATE CONTRIBUTION. (a) Requires the state, beginning on the first day of the fiscal year, to annually compensate a county that collects fees under Section 51.703, Government Code, as added by this Act, in the amount of $40,000 for each statutory probate court judge in the county. (b) Requires the amount to be paid from the judicial fund to the county's salary fund in equal monthly installments. Sec. 25.00212. EXCESS CONTRIBUTIONS. (a) Requires the comptroller of public accounts (comptroller), at the end of the state fiscal year, to determine the amounts deposited under Section 51.703, Government Code, and the amounts paid to counties under Section 25.0211. Requires the state, if the amount paid from the judicial fund is greater than the amount paid to the counties, to remit the excess to the counties in proportion to the percentage of each county's total amount paid. (b) Requires funds remitted under Subsection (a) to be paid to a county's general fund and used only for court-related purposes specified under Section 21.006 (Judicial Fund). SECTION 2. Amends Subchapter H, Chapter 51, Government Code, by adding Section 51.703, as follows: Sec. 51.703. ADDITIONAL FEES IN CERTAIN STATUTORY PROBATE COURTS. (a) Requires a clerk of a statutory probate court (clerk) to collect a $40 filing fee (fee) in each probate, guardianship, mental health, or civil case filed in the court, except as provided by Subsection (f). Provides that such fees are in addition to all other fees authorized or required by law, and will be used for court-related purposes for the support of the judiciary. (b) Requires fees collected under this section to be collected in the same manner as other fees, fines, or costs are collected in the case. (c) Requires the clerk to send the fee to the comptroller at least monthly. Requires the comptroller to deposit collected fees in the judicial fund. (d) Provides that Section 51.320, which relates to the provision of a bill for service before a payment can be made, applies to this section. (e) Provides that this section applies only to fees collected during a 12-month period beginning July 1 in a county in which the commissioners court has adopted a resolution authorizing the fees (resolution) and filed that resolution with the comptroller before the preceding June 1. (f) Provides that a resolution under Subsection (e) continues until it is rescinded. (g) Requires a commissioners court that wants to rescind a resolution to submit a resolution to the comptroller stating that desire before the June 1 preceding the first day of the state fiscal year. (h) Provides that a county that is not eligible on July 1, but becomes eligible to participate under Subsection (e) during the year may submit a resolution to the comptroller, and requires the comptroller to determine the date the county may collect fees. Provides that such a county may not receive a payment until the 60th day after the date the comptroller determines the county may begin to collect fees. (i) Provides that a clerk may not collect fees under this section and also under Section 51.701 (Additional Filing Fee for Judicial Fund) or 51.702 (Additional Fees and Costs in Certain County Courts). SECTION 3. Makes application of SECTION 2 of this Act prospective. SECTION 4. Emergency clause. Effective date: upon passage.