Office of House Bill AnalysisH.B. 3822
By: Telford
Judicial Affairs


Prior to the 76th Texas Legislature, there were no county courts at law in
Bowie County. Accordingly, all cases resulting from an infraction of the
law, such as Class A and B misdemeanors, family law matters, juvenile
matters, as well as appeals from the justice and municipal courts, had to
be scheduled in district courts or higher courts.  As a result, these cases
were backlogged in the district courts in Bowie County.  The creation of a
county court of law in Bowie County was suggested to alleviate the caseload
of the district courts.  H.B. 3822 creates one County Court at Law in Bowie


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 1.  Amends Subchapter C, Chapter 25, Government Code, by adding
Sections 25.0211 and 25.0212, effective January 1, 2001, as follows: 

Sec. 25.0211.  BOWIE COUNTY.  Creates the County Court at Law of Bowie
County, as the only statutory county court in Bowie County. 

Sec. 25.0212.  BOWIE COUNTY COURT AT LAW PROVISIONS.  (a)  Sets forth the
jurisdiction of the county court at law in Bowie County to be as that
provided by Section 25.0003 (Jurisdiction), the constitution, general law,
and other law for district courts, and except as limited by Subsection (b). 

(b)  Provides that a county court at law does not have general supervisory
control or appellate review of the commissioners court or jurisdiction of
felony criminal matters, suits on behalf of the state to recover penalties
or escheated property, misdemeanors involving official misconduct, or
contested elections or civil cases in which the matter in controversy
exceeds $100,000, excluding certain specified expenses. 

(c)  Provides that a judge of a county court at law must have the same
qualifications as those required by law for a district judge. 

(d)  Requires a judge of a county court at law to be paid an annual salary
that is at least equal to 60 percent, but does not exceed 80 percent, of
the annual salary that is paid to a district judge in Bowie County,
including supplements or contributions payable by the state or Bowie
County.  Requires that the salary be paid from the same fund and in the
same manner as other county officials in Bowie County are paid. 

(e)  Prohibits a judge of a county court at law from engaging in the
private practice of law. 

(f)  Authorizes the commissioners court to authorize a judge of a county
court at law to set an official court reporter's salary. 

 (g)  Authorizes a juror regularly impaneled by the district court for a
week to be made available, and requires the juror to serve for the week, in
the county court at law at the request of the judge of a county court at

(h)  Provides that the district clerk serves as clerk of a county court at
law in matters of concurrent jurisdiction with the district courts, and the
county clerk serves as clerk of a county court at law in all other matters.
Requires a clerk to establish a separate docket for a county court at law. 

SECTION 2.  Requires that notwithstanding Section 25.0009 (Vacancy),
Government Code, the initial vacancy in an office of judge of the county
court at law is to be filled by election for a twoyear term.  Provides that
the office exists for the purposes of the primary and general elections in
2000.  Requires the qualified voters of the county to elect the initial
judge for a two-year term beginning January 1, 2001.  Requires the judge,
thereafter, to be elected for a four-year term as provided by Sections 64
(Terms of office, certain offices) and 65 (Transition from two year to four
year terms of office), Article XVI, Texas Constitution.  Provides that a
vacancy after the initial vacancy is filled as provided by Section 25.0009,
Government Code. 

SECTION 3.  Emergency clause.
 Effective date: 90 days after adjournment.