HBA-MSH H.B. 520 77(R) BILL ANALYSIS Office of House Bill AnalysisH.B. 520 By: Gallego Civil Practices 3/6/2001 Introduced BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE Current law limits to $50,000 the monetary compensation for wrongfully imprisoned persons. No differentiation is made for compensation based on the severity of the sentence or whether a person was sentenced to death or imprisoned for a number of years. House Bill 520 raises the limits on compensation and sets forth certain factors to be considered when determining the level of compensation. 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 520 amends the Civil Practice and Remedies Code to increase from $50,000 to $100,000 the maximum amount of total damages that may be assessed for compensation to wrongfully imprisoned claimants. The bill increases from $25,000 to $50,000 the maximum amount of damages that may be assessed for pain and suffering for wrongfully imprisoned claimants. If the claimant was sentenced to death for the crime, the bill prohibits damages assessed for physical and mental pain and suffering from exceeding $100,000, and prohibits total damages assessed from exceeding $200,000. In assessing the fair and reasonable amount of damages to which a claimant is entitled, the bill requires a jury or judge in a nonjury trial to consider all relevant factors, including the length of time and conditions of the claimant's imprisonment, the claimant's age at the time of conviction and at the time of release, any changes in the claimant's family relationships during the period of imprisonment, and lost wages and opportunities forfeited by the claimant during the period of imprisonment. EFFECTIVE DATE On passage, or if the Act does not receive the necessary vote, the Act takes effect September 1, 2001.