Office of House Bill AnalysisH.B. 1287
By: Thompson
Judicial Affairs


The goal of drug court programs is to keep substance abuse offenders out of
state jails and prisons and offer comprehensive rehabilitative services.
The first drug court program was established in Miami-Dade County in 1989,
and since then hundreds of drug courts have been established around the
country. According to some studies, the recidivism rate for drug court
graduates is lower than for offenders placed on parole, probation, or in
prison.  House Bill 1287 authorizes the commissioners court of a county to
establish drug court programs. 


It is the opinion of the Office of House Bill Analysis that rulemaking
authority is expressly delegated to the criminal justice division of the
office of the governor  in SECTION 1 (Section 469.003, Health and Safety
Code) of this bill. 


House Bill 1287 amends the Health and Safety Code to authorize a county
commissioners court to establish a drug court program not later than
September 1, 2002  for persons arrested for, charged with, or convicted of: 

 _ an offense in which an element of the offense is the use or possession
of alcohol or the use, possession, or sale of a controlled substance, a
controlled substance analogue, or marihuana; or 
 _an offense in which controlled substance or alcohol use contributed
significantly to the commission of the offense and if the offense did not
involve carrying, possessing, or using a firearm or other dangerous weapon;
the use of force against the person of another; or the death of or serious
bodily injury to any person. 

The bill authorizes the lieutenant governor and the speaker of the house of
representatives to assign to appropriate legislative committees duties
relating to the oversight of the programs.  The bill authorizes a
legislative committee or the governor to request that the state auditor
perform a management, operations, or financial or accounting audit of a

The bill authorizes a program to collect from a participant a fee not to
exceed $1,000 and a urinalysis testing and counseling fee.  The bill
provides that a participant may also be required to pay treatment costs and
other fees incurred while participating in the program, based on the
participant's ability to pay. 

The bill requires the Criminal Justice Policy Council to conduct a study of
programs in Texas and issue a report examining the effectiveness of
presently operating programs and make recommendations regarding potential
expansion and improvements not later than January 15, 2003, to the speaker
of the house of representatives, the lieutenant governor, the House
Appropriations Committee, the Senate Finance Committee, the House Committee
on Judicial Affairs, the Senate Committee on Jurisprudence, the House
Committee on Criminal Jurisprudence, and the Senate Committee on Criminal
Justice.  The bill provides for the expiration of these provisions on June
1, 2003. 

The bill requires the commissioner's court of a county with a population
exceeding 550,000 residents to establish a program. The bill provides that
a program must have at least 100 participants during the first four months
in which the program is operating.  A county required to establish a
program shall to apply to the federal government for any funds available to
pay the costs of the program.  The bill authorizes the criminal justice
division of the governor's office to assist a county in applying for
federal funds, including providing financial assistance to the county.  A
county that does not establish a program is ineligible to receive state
funds for a community supervision and corrections department and grants
administered by the criminal justice division of the governor's office. 

The bill authorizes the commissioners court of a county or a court to use
other drug awareness or drug and alcohol driving awareness programs to
treat persons convicted of drug or alcohol related offenses. 
A county is required to establish a program only if the county receives
federal funding specifically for that purpose or the legislature
appropriates money specifically for that purpose. 


September 1, 2001.