Office of House Bill AnalysisS.B. 71
By: Brown
Judicial Affairs


After evaluating the judicial system in Texas, the Texas Commission on
Judicial Efficiency recommended the establishment of a commission
responsible for making judicial salary recommendations, as there is
currently no such review system. S.B. 71 creates the Judicial Compensation
Commission (commission), authorizes the governor to appoint the nine
commission members, and requires the commission to make a report of the
proper salaries of all judges of the supreme court, courts of criminal
appeals, courts of appeal, and the district courts.  This bill also
provides that if the salary recommendations are accepted by a certain date,
they are binding. 


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 Subtitle B, Title 2, Government Code, by adding Chapter
35, as follows: 



 Sec.  35.001.  DEFINITION.  Defines "commission."

Sec.  35.002.  MEMBERSHIP; TERMS.  Provides that the Judicial Compensation
Commission (commission) consists of nine members appointed by the governor,
and sets forth provisions of their terms. 

Sec. 35.003.  VACANCY. Requires the governor to appoint a replacement to
fill an unexpired term in the case of a commission vacancy. 

Sec.  35.004.  PRESIDING OFFICER.  Requires the governor to designate a
presiding officer of the commission who votes on all matters before the

Sec. 35.005.  QUALIFICATIONS.  Provides that each commission member must be
a registered voter of the state.  Prohibits commission members from holding
another public office or being state employees during their term.
Prohibits a person from serving as a commissioner or general counsel of the
commission and a lobbyist under Chapter 305 (Registration of Lobbyist),
Government Code.  Sets forth required conditions of appointment to the

Sec. 35.006.  REMOVAL.  Establishes guidelines for removal of commission
members including ineligibility under Section 35.005, and attendance
specifications.  Provides that when a ground for removal of a commission
member exists, it does not affect the validity of commission actions. 

Sec.  35.007.  ADMINISTRATIVE SUPPORT.  Requires the Office of Court
Administration (OCA) to provide administrative support for the commission
and grant all reasonable  requests for staff support and other resources
under this section.  Entitles the commission to receive certain resources
from OCA. 

Sec.  35.008.  COMPENSATION AND REIMBURSEMENT.  Prohibits members from
receiving compensation for serving on the commission.  Requires OCA to
reimburse members for expenses incurred in the exercise of powers and
performance of duties in the amount and manner prescribed. 


Sec.  35.101.  MEETINGS.  Requires the commission to meet at the request of
the presiding officer or a majority of the members. 

Sec. 35.102.  BIENNIAL REPORTS.  Requires the commission to make a biennial
report of the proper salaries to be paid by the state to all state judges,
not later than December 1 of even-numbered years to the legislature.  Sets
forth required factors to be considered in determining judges' salaries.
Provides that the level of overall compensation adequate to attract the
most highly qualified individuals in the state is the most important

Sec. 35.103. BINDING NATURE OF REPORT. Provides that commission
recommendations in the biennial report have full force of law on September
1 after delivery of the report, provided that the recommendations are
accepted before the enactment of the General Appropriations Act for the
subsequent biennium.  Requires the comptroller to pay the recommended
salaries unless the recommendations are rejected by the senate or the house
of representatives. 

SECTION 2.  Amends Section 659.011, Government Code, to subject this
section to the provisions of Chapter 35.  This section provides that state
officer salaries are in the amounts provided by the biennial appropriations

SECTION 3.  Repealer:  Section 659.012 (Judicial Salaries), Government Code.

SECTION 4.  Requires the governor to appoint the nine initial commission
members in three groups with staggered terms. 

SECTION 5.  Effective date:  Provides that this Act takes effect
concurrently with the effective date of the proposed companion
constitutional amendment S.J.R. 10, 76th Legislature, Regular Session,
1999, if passed by the voters. 

SECTION 6.  Emergency clause.