HBA-GUM, NLM H.B. 804 76(R)BILL ANALYSIS Office of House Bill AnalysisH.B. 804 By: Gallego Judicial Affairs 6/3/1999 Enrolled BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE In 1979, the Professional Prosecutors Act (Act) afforded three of four classifications of state prosecutors the opportunity to receive state funding for salaries to help support prosecutorial endeavors. Staff supplements were also made available. County attorneys were not included within the Act. In recent years the role of the county attorney has expanded considerably. Mandated duties in the areas of juvenile criminal law enforcement, mental health, chemical abuse, family law, and victim assistance have all fallen within the county attorney's purview. Development of misdemeanor punishments in environmental, health and safety, agricultural, and wildlife statutes have also increased the need for county attorneys to provide adequate representation in these areas. H.B. 804 includes in the definition of state prosecutor a county attorney performing the duties of district attorney who serves in a district or county, thereby entitling a county attorney to receive certain compensation provided by Chapter 46 (Professional Prosecutors), Government Code. This bill entitles a county prosecutor to receive supplemental compensation from the state, equal to the amount that is one-half of the benchmark salary divided by the total number of counties served by the state prosecutor; and entitles the county prosecutor to receive one-sixth of the benchmark salary if the state supplemental compensation results in less than one-sixth of the benchmark salary. In addition, this bill requires the comptroller, at least annually, to pay to the salary fund of each county that is entitled to receive funds to supplement the salary of the county prosecutor. 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 Chapter 46, Government Code, as follows: Sec. 46.001. DEFINITIONS. Defines "county prosecutor," "benchmark salary," and "state prosecutor." Includes a county attorney performing the duties of district attorney who serves in a district or county listed in Section 46.002 in the definition of state prosecutor. Makes conforming changes. Sec. 46.002. PROSECUTORS SUBJECT TO CHAPTER. Extends the provisions of this chapter to include all county prosecutors and state prosecutors. Makes a conforming change. Sec. 46.003. New section title: COMPENSATION OF STATE PROSECUTORS. Makes conforming changes. Sec. 46.0031. COMPENSATION OF COUNTY PROSECUTORS. (a) Entitles each county that has a county prosecutor to receive from the state supplemental compensation to be paid by the county to the county prosecutor, equal to the amount that is one-half of the benchmark salary divided by the total number of counties served by the state prosecutor, except as provided by Subsection (b). Entitles the county prosecutor to receive one-sixth of the benchmark salary if the state supplemental compensation results in less than one-sixth of the benchmark salary, or if more than one state prosecutor serves a county. Prohibits a county with no county prosecutor from receiving the salary supplement funds provided by this section. (b) Provides that, for a county with more than one state prosecutor who serves that county, the supplemental salary compensation for the county prosecutor is computed by: _determining the amount of compensation as provided by Subsection (a) in relation to each state prosecutor as if that state prosecutor is the only state prosecutor who serves the county; _adding the amounts of compensation determined under this section; and _setting the amount of compensation at the lesser of the sum of those amounts, or one-half of the benchmark rate. (c) Requires any compensation waived by a county prosecutor, or compensation received under this section causing a county prosecutor's gross salary to exceed the benchmark salary, to be used for expenses of a county prosecutor's office. (d) Requires the comptroller, at least annually, to pay to the salary fund of each county that is entitled to receive funds under this section an amount authorized under this section to supplement the salary of the county prosecutor. (e) Entitles a county attorney who does not have criminal prosecution duties or who has criminal prosecution duties only upon request of the district attorney to receive from the state supplemental salary compensation that is equal to one-half the amount the county attorney would be eligible for under Subsection (a) or (b). Requires that the remainder of the supplement be used for expenses of the county attorney's office. Provides that this subsection does not apply to a county attorney who is responsible for the prosecution of juvenile justice cases under Title 3 (Juvenile Justice Code), Family Code. Sec. 46.004. EXPENSES. Makes conforming changes. Sec. 46.005. LIMITATIONS ON LAW PRACTICE. Provides that this section applies to a county prosecutor and any assistant of a prosecutor if, from all state and county funds received, the county prosecutor or assistant receives a salary that is equal to or more than 80 percent of the benchmark salary. Exempts a county prosecutor from the provisions of this section if the county prosecutor files an annual written waiver with the county auditor of the amount of compensation that is equal to or exceeds 80 percent of the benchmark salary. Requires an amount waived under this section to be used for expenses of the county prosecutor's office. Exempts a county prosecutor from the provisions of this section if, before September 1, 1999, the county prosecutor was paid in excess of the benchmark salary by the county in which the prosecutor serves. Makes conforming changes. Sec. 46.006. PURPOSE; DUTY OF COUNTY. Specifies that the purpose of this chapter is to increase funds available for use in prosecution at both the felony and misdemeanor levels. Prohibits the commissioners court in each county that has a prosecutor subject to this chapter from reducing the county funds provided for the salary or office of the prosecutor as a result of the funds provided by this chapter. Deletes language that requires the commissioners court in each county that has a prosecutor subject to this chapter to provide the funds necessary to carry out the purpose of this chapter and to continue to provide funds for the office of the prosecutor in an amount that is equal to or greater than the amount of funds provided for the office by the county on August 27,1979. Deletes the provision that this subsection does not apply to local supplementation to the salary of the prosecutor. Sec. 46.007. INELIGIBILITY FOR CERTAIN OTHER STATE FUNDS. Provides that Subchapter C, Chapter 41 (Apportionment of State Funds for Prosecution in Certain Counties) does not apply to a county if the county is served by a state prosecutor who serves in a district or county, rather than a prosecuting attorney, listed in Section 46.002. SECTION 2. Amends Section 45.280, Government Code, as follows: Sec. 45.280. OLDHAM COUNTY. (a) Requires the county attorney in Oldham County (county attorney) to represent the state in all matters pending before the district court in that county. (b) Entitles the county attorney to be compensated by the state in the manner and amount provided by general law relating to the salary paid to district attorneys by the state. Requires Oldham County to pay $28,500 of the county attorney's total salary, and the state to pay the remainder of the salary. Deletes existing Subsection (b) (relating to the salary of a district attorney in Oldham County). (c) Entitles the county attorney to receive from the state the amount provided in the General Appropriations Act for the payment of staff salaries and office expense in singlecounty districts. (d) Redesignated from existing Subsection (a). SECTION 3. Effective date: September 1, 1999. SECTION 4. Emergency clause.