HBA-BSM C.S.H.B. 3174 77(R) BILL ANALYSIS Office of House Bill AnalysisC.S.H.B. 3174 By: Solis, Jim Judicial Affairs 4/6/2001 Committee Report (Substituted) BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE The Thirteenth Court of Appeals is the only court of appeals in the state that has two offices. The offices are approximately 153 miles apart, and one of the chief justice's duties is to oversee operations at both facilities, which at times requires the chief justice to travel between the two offices. Currently, there are no provisions relating to reimbursement for these travel costs. C.S.H.B. 3174 entitles each justice of the Thirteenth Court of Appeals to an automobile allowance not to exceed $15,000. The bill also implements an appellate judicial system to aid in cutting costs and expenses incurred by the county. 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 C.S.H.B. 3174 amends the Government Code to provide that the commissioners courts of the counties in the Thirteenth Court of Appeals District by adopting concurrent orders may authorize the payment of an automobile allowance in an amount not to exceed $15,000 annually to each of the justices of the court for automobile expenses in performing official duties. The bill requires Nueces County each fiscal year to pay the total amount of the expenses, and that each of the other counties in the district is required to reimburse Nueces County for their share of the expenses paid not later than the 60th day after the beginning of the county's fiscal year. The bill also authorizes that the Court of Appeals for the Thirteenth Court of Appeals District to be held in the City of Edinburg. The bill authorizes cases originating in Cameron, Hidalgo, or Willacy counties to be heard and transacted in Willacy County. The bill requires the commissioners court of each county in the Thirteenth Court of Appeals District to establish an appellate judicial system (system) to assist the court of appeals for the county in the processing of appeals filed with the court of appeals from the county's courts, and to defray related costs and expenses incurred by the county. The bill requires the commissioners court to set a court costs fee not to exceed $5 for each civil suit filed in a court of the county, and provides for the collection, use, and administration of the fee. The bill also requires the commissioners court to vest management of the system to the chief justice of the court of appeals in the district. EFFECTIVE DATE September 1, 2001. COMPARISON OF ORIGINAL TO SUBSTITUTE C.S.H.B. 3174 differs from the original by incorporating changes to the administration of the Thirteenth Court of Appeals District. The substitute modifies the original by establishing an automobile allowance not to exceed $15,000 annually for each of the justices in performing official duties, whereas the original bill provided for travel reimbursement for justices of the court when performing official duties but did not set a limit on the travel expenses. The substitute also differs from the original by requiring the commissioners court of each county in the Thirteenth Court of Appeals to establish an appellate judicial system to assist the court of appeals in processing appeals from all of the county's courts.