HBA-CBW H.B. 1451 77(R) BILL ANALYSIS Office of House Bill AnalysisH.B. 1451 By: Dunnam Judicial Affairs 3/27/2001 Introduced BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE Under the Texas Constitution, the Supreme Court of Texas (supreme court) has responsibility for the efficient administration of the judicial branch and is required to promulgate rules of administration, as well as rules of civil procedure for all courts, not inconsistent with the laws of the state as may be necessary for the efficient and uniform administration of justice in the various courts. Furthermore, the supreme court and the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals (appeals court) have the express authority to promulgate other rules as may be prescribed by law, the constitution, or legislative delegation. Currently, the supreme court or the appeals court may promulgate rules at any time; therefore, rules may be promulgated at a time which escapes legislative review. House Bill 1451 provides procedures for the supreme court and appeals court to follow when exercising rulemaking authority, including notification, open meetings, public information, and fiscal note requirements for each proposed rule or amendment to a rule. RULEMAKING AUTHORITY It is the opinion of the Office of House Bill Analysis that rulemaking authority is expressly delegated to the Supreme Court of Texas and the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals in SECTION 2 (Section 22.353, Government Code) of this bill. ANALYSIS House Bill 1451 amends the Government Code to prohibit the Supreme Court of Texas (supreme court) and the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals (appeals court) from issuing a rule or an amendment to a rule relating to the procedure of the court, rules of civil procedure, rules of appellate procedure in criminal cases, or rules of evidence in criminal cases unless the court meets the requirements in the Act. The bill requires the supreme court and appeals court (the courts) to transmit to the legislature a copy of a proposed rule or an amendment to an existing rule not later than the 30th day after the date of commencement of each regular legislative session and prohibits a rule or an amendment transmitted to the legislature from taking effect earlier than the 90th day after the date of adjournment of the legislature for the session in which the rule or amendment is transmitted. The bill authorizes either of the courts to adopt a rule or an amendment to a rule without following the procedures in the Act if a court finds that the rule or the amendment is necessary for the proper administration of justice. If either of the courts adopt a rule or an amendment to a rule, the bill requires the adopting or amending court to publish an opinion stating the specific reasons that the court is unable to follow the rulemaking procedures and to transmit to the legislature a copy of a rule or an amendment to a rule that is adopted. The bill provides that a committee, task force, or other group appointed by either of the courts to discuss, examine, or recommend a rule or an amendment to a rule is subject to the open meetings law and the public information law. The bill requires the courts to prepare a fiscal note for a rule or an amendment to a rule transmitted to the legislature outlining the fiscal implications and probable cost of the measure, and provides the information that must be contained in such a fiscal note. At the request of either of the courts, the bill requires the comptroller of public accounts to assist in the preparation of the economic impact statement. Not later than the 15th day after the date a proposed rule or an amendment to an existing rule is transmitted to the legislature, the bill requires the Office of Court Administration (office) to develop and compile an opinion poll on the rule or the amendment to a rule of appeals court judges, district judges, county judges, statutory county court judges, and statutory probate court judges. The bill requires the office to report the results of the opinion poll not later than the 75th day after the date of commencement of the regular legislative session. The bill authorizes the supreme court to promulgate a specific rule or rules of civil procedure or an amendment or amendments to a specific rule or rules for all courts not inconsistent with the laws of the state as may be necessary for the efficient and uniform administration of justice in the various courts. The bill removes the provision that requires the secretary of state to report the rules or amendments to rules to the next regular session of the legislature. EFFECTIVE DATE September 1, 2001.