Office of House Bill AnalysisS.B. 1001
By: Wentworth
Judicial Affairs


Currently, Texas law allows for the creation of multicounty statutory
courts.  The size of the probate caseload in a county and the willingness
of a county commissioners court to fund staffing play a major role in the
decision to create a statutory probate court.  A multicounty statutory
probate court allows the counties to share the costs and benefits of a
statutory probate court.  S.B. 1001 establishes guidelines relating to a
judge's compensation and the constitution of personnel  in a multicounty
statutory probate court. 

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 Chapter 25, Government Code, by adding Subchapter E, as


Sec. 25.2651.  APPLICATION OF SUBCHAPTER.  Establishes that this subchapter
applies only to statutory probate courts composed of more than one county.
Establishes that Subchapters A (General Provisions) and B (General
Provisions Relating to Statutory Probate Courts) apply to a statutory
probate court composed of more than one county, with certain exceptions.   

Sec. 25.2652.  JUDGE.  Provides that a judge is elected by the qualified
voters of the counties at the election at which other statutory probate
court judges are elected.  Sets forth a judge's qualifications.  Entitles a
judge to be paid an annual salary set by a vote of a majority of the total
number of the county judges and commissioners of the commissioners courts
of the counties.  Requires the salary to be apportioned among the counties
according to the ratio a county's population bears to the total population
of the counties composing the court.   

Sec.  25.2653.  VACANCY.  Provides that a vacancy in the office of judge is
filled by a joint appointment by the commissioners courts of the counties
composing the court, and approved by a vote of a majority of the county
judges and commissioners.  Provides that an appointee holds office until
the next general election and until a successor is elected and has
qualified. Provides that this section applies to a vacancy existing on
creation of the office of judge.   
Sec. 25.2654.  PERSONNEL.  Establishes that the county clerk of a
particular county serves as clerk in that county.  Provides that the
prosecuting attorney representing the state in a statutory probate court in
a particular county serves as prosecutor in that county.  Requires the
sheriff and other court officials in a county to serve in the manner
required by law for their offices and entitles them to the compensation,
fees, and allowances prescribed by law for their offices.  

Sec. 25.2655.  SEAL.  Provides that the seal is the same as provided by law
for a statutory  probate court, except that it must contain the name of the
court as designated by statute. 

Sec. 25.2656.  GENERAL LAW.  Provides that the general law relating to
statutory probate courts applies, unless this subchapter contains a
conflicting provision. 

SECTION 2.  Effective date: September 1, 1999.