Office of House Bill AnalysisH.B. 177
By: Luna, Vilma
Judicial Affairs


The 76th Legislature authorized municipalities to establish a municipal
court technology fund to purchase computers, hardware, software, and docket
management systems with fees assessed as court costs.  Many justice courts
are located outside courthouses and county seats and lack access to
technologies that allow courts to conduct business in a more efficient
manner.  Establishing a technology fund for justice courts enables a county
to acquire the technology that justice courts need to upgrade at the rate
of other courts. House Bill 177 authorizes the commissioners court of a
county to create a justice court technology fund for technology-related
purposes to be funded through fees assessed as court costs.  


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. 


House Bill 177 amends the Code of Criminal Procedure to authorize the
commissioners court of a county to create a justice court technology fund
and to require a defendant convicted of a misdemeanor offense in a justice
court to pay a technology fee not to exceed $4 as a cost of court.  The
bill provides that a person is considered convicted if a sentence is
imposed on the person, or the court defers final disposition of the
person's case.  The bill requires the justice court clerk to collect the
costs and pay the funds to the county treasurer, or to any other official
who discharges the duties commonly delegated to the county treasurer, for
deposit in a fund to be known as the justice court technology fund.  The
bill provides that the fund may be used only to finance the purchase of
certain technological enhancements for a justice court. The bill requires
that the justice court technology fund be administered by or under the
direction of the commissioners court of the county.  The bill provides that
these provisions expire September 1, 2005.    


September 1, 2001, and applies only to a cost on conviction for an offense
committed on or after that  
date and before September 1, 2005.