HBA-BSM S.B. 960 77(R) BILL ANALYSIS Office of House Bill AnalysisS.B. 960 By: Brown, J. E. "Buster" Judicial Affairs 4/19/2001 Engrossed BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE Currently, Texas law sets caps on the amount of compensation county commissioners courts can pay appellate justices and district judges. Over the past few years, Texas has experienced enormous economic growth in the legal services market. However, while attorney compensation packages have increased, judicial salaries have remained relatively static. Consequently, the difference between judicial and private sector compensation has widened. This difference in compensation is a possible obstacle to recruiting and retaining judicial talent. Texas judicial salaries also fall behind the compensation scales of other states. Senate Bill 960 removes the state-imposed salary caps and gives county commissioners courts the option to supplement state pay for the 14 courts of appeal justices and for district court judges. 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 Senate Bill 960 amends the Government Code to authorize the commissioners courts in the counties of each of the 14 courts of appeals districts to pay an annual salary rather than an amount not to exceed $15,000 a year to each of the justices in those courts. The bill authorizes the commissioners court of a county rather than Anderson County to pay an annual salary to each of the judges of the district courts having jurisdiction in the county. The bill requires the authorized salary to be paid in monthly installments from the county general fund or another available fund of the county. The bill also deletes provisions regarding the stateimposed judicial salary caps. EFFECTIVE DATE September 1, 2001.