HBA-EDN H.B. 177 77(R) BILL ANALYSIS Office of House Bill AnalysisH.B. 177 By: Luna, Vilma Judicial Affairs 3/13/2001 Introduced BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE 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 would enable them to acquire the technology they 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. 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 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. EFFECTIVE DATE 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.