Office of House Bill AnalysisS.B. 1778
By: Lucio
Criminal Jurisprudence


Current law authorizes county courts to contract with outside vendors for
the collection of fines, fees, restitution, and other costs ordered by a
court.  However, if a vendor collects the money owed to the county, the
vendor is paid 30 percent of the money collected.  Senate Bill 1778
authorizes county courts, as well as municipal courts, to add a 30 percent
increase to any fine, fee, restitution, debt, or cost that is 60 days
overdue to ensure that these courts receive all money owed while still
allowing the vendor to receive fees.    


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 1778 amends the Code of Criminal Procedure to provide that a
commissioners court, that enters into a contract with a public or private
vendor for the collection of services for debts and accounts receivable,
may authorize the addition of collection fees in the amount of 30 percent
on each debt or account receivable that is more than 60 days past due and
has been referred to the vendor for collection. The bill provides that a
defendant is not liable for such collection fees if the court of original
jurisdiction has determined the defendant is indigent, has insufficient
resources or income, or is otherwise unable to pay all or part of the
underlying fine or costs.   

S.B. 1778 amends law to provide that the governing body of a municipality
or a commissioners court that enters into a collection contract with a
public or private vendor may authorize the addition of collection fees as
described above. 


On passage, or if the Act does not receive the necessary vote, the Act
takes effect September 1, 2001.