Office of House Bill AnalysisS.B. 1179
By: Gallegos
Urban Affairs


The City of Houston and the Houston Police Officers' Union entered into a
meet and confer agreement in 1998 in accordance with state law regarding
municipal civil service.  The meet and confer agreement called for the
development and implementation of alternative dispute resolution procedures
for mediating disputes regarding police officers.  Senate Bill 1179
incorporates  procedures for the mediation of police officer disputes into
the provisions regarding municipal civil service in a municipality of 1.5
million or more. 


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. 


Senate Bill 1179 amends the Local Government Code to authorize the head of
a police department in a municipality with a population of 1.5 million or
more to develop and implement an alternative dispute resolution program to
refer to mediation certain disputes regarding police officers.  The bill
sets forth time limitations and deadlines for a dispute that is referred to

S.B. 1179 provides that the conduct and demeanor of the mediator and the
parties to a dispute during the course of a mediation are confidential, and
sets forth provisions for disclosure of communication relevant to a dispute
when such communication is admissible or discoverable in a separate
proceeding.  The bill also sets forth that it is prohibited to require a
mediator to testify in a proceeding concerning information relating to or
arising out of a mediation. 

S.B. 1179 provides that current law regarding public information applies to
a final written agreement reached by mediation to which the police
department or municipality is a signatory.  The bill authorizes conflicts
between the provisions of the bill and other legal requirements for the
disclosure of communications or materials to be presented to a district
court.  The bill specifies that, except to the extent of any conflict with
the provisions of the bill, the provisions regarding public information in
alternative dispute resolution in the Government and Civil Practice and
Remedies codes and police department rules apply to a mediation conducted
under these provisions and that the confidentiality of certain records and
communications applies to the communications, records, conduct, and
demeanor of the mediator and the parties.  The notice requirement for
certain meetings or hearings does not apply to a meeting or hearing
conducted under these provisions. 


September 1, 2001.