HBA-NLM H.B. 804 76(R) BILL ANALYSIS Office of House Bill AnalysisH.B. 804 By: Gallego Judicial Affairs 3/17/1999 Introduced 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. The purpose of this bill is to encourage and maintain an improved quality of state representation by filling vacant posts and to encourage qualified candidates to compete for filled posts. This bill proposes that county attorneys receive a salary supplement from the state, in the same manner as district attorneys, criminal district attorneys, and county attorneys with felony responsibilities, as provided by the Act. 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 compensations provided by Chapter 46 (Professional Prosecutors), Government Code. As proposed, 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, or if more than one state prosecutor serves a county. 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. 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, 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. 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. 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, 1997, the county prosecutor was paid in excess of the benchmark salary by the county in which the prosecutor serves. Deletes existing text which states that the provisions of this section only apply to an assistant of a prosecutor if, from all funds received, the assistant receives a salary that is equal to or more than 80 percent of the salary paid by the state to the prosecutor under this chapter. 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 152.032(a), Local Government Code, to provide that the compensation and allowances of a county auditor may not exceed the amount of the compensation and allowances received from all county sources, rather than all sources. SECTION 3. Effective date: September 1, 1999. SECTION 4. Emergency clause.