HBA-KDB H.B. 1033 77(R) BILL ANALYSIS Office of House Bill AnalysisH.B. 1033 By: Thompson Judicial Affairs 2/21/2001 Introduced BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE Caseloads of appellate courts in Texas vary widely and the uneven distribution of the workload creates a burden on the judicial system. For example, appeals filed per justice vary by more than 157 percent between the 11th and Ninth Appellate District. Texas law allows the Supreme Court to transfer cases to appellate courts with less crowded dockets, but the manner in which cases have been transferred has not always been efficient. Often cases are transferred to courts that are hundreds of miles away. More than 18 percent of the appeals filed in the Ninth Appellate District are transferred out, but few go to the nearby appellate courts in Houston. The House Committee on Judicial Affairs (committee) conducted its second study on appellate redistricting and selection during the 76th Legislature's interim. The committee recommended that the courts of appeals be subject to the sunset review process. House Bill 1033 directs the Sunset Advisory Commission to study the courts of appeals districts and workloads and to make recommendations to the next legislature on eliminating or reducing overlapping jurisdiction and equalizing dockets. 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. ANALYSIS House Bill 1033 requires the Sunset Advisory Commission (commission) to study the district boundaries of the courts of appeals and recommend whether the boundaries should be redrawn to equalize the workload among the courts of appeals or eliminate or reduce overlapping territorial jurisdiction between courts. The bill provides that the commission must include in the study a review of the workload of each court of appeals and requires the commission to recommend whether the number of justices on a court should be increased or decreased to improve efficiency at a court or to equalize the workload among the justices of the courts. The bill authorizes the commission to consider the factors that the commission considers relevant to the study and to determining its recommendation, and conduct public hearings regarding the study at the times that the commission considers advisable. The bill requires the Office of Court Administration of the Texas Judicial System to timely provide the commission with the information that the commission requests to conduct the study. The bill requires the commission to report the results of its study and its recommendations to the presiding officer of each officer of the legislature, the Senate Jurisprudence Committee, and the House Committee on Judicial Affairs no later than November 1, 2002. EFFECTIVE DATE September 1, 2001.