HBA-KMH S.B. 71 76(R) BILL ANALYSIS Office of House Bill AnalysisS.B. 71 By: Brown Judicial Affairs 5/5/1999 Engrossed BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE 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. 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 Subtitle B, Title 2, Government Code, by adding Chapter 35, as follows: CHAPTER 35. JUDICIAL COMPENSATION COMMISSION SUBCHAPTER A. ORGANIZATION 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 commission. 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 commission. 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. SUBCHAPTER B. POWERS AND DUTIES 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 consideration. 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 act. 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.