HBA-AMW S.J.R. 3 77(R) BILL ANALYSIS Office of House Bill AnalysisS.J.R. 3 By: Duncan Judicial Affairs 5/2/2001 Engrossed BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE Under current law, Texas appellate justices and judges are elected in partisan elections. These candidates often have to raise money for campaigns from political parties and the lawyers who practice before them. The appellate justices and judges are not required to recuse themselves from cases involving attorneys or litigants who make large contributions to such campaigns, which may lead to the appearance of impropriety. As proposed, Senate Joint Resolution 3 requires the submission to the voters of a constitutional amendment permitting the appointment of appellate justices and judges by the governor and the retention or rejection of the appellate justices and judges by a nonpartisan election. RULEMAKING AUTHORITY It is the opinion of the Office of House Bill Analysis that this resolution does not expressly delegate any additional rulemaking authority to a state officer, department, agency, or institution. ANALYSIS Senate Joint Resolution 3 amends the Texas Constitution to provide that on appointment by the governor to a vacancy, a chief justice, justice, presiding judge, or judge of the supreme court, court of criminal appeals, or court of appeals (appellate justices and judges) serves an initial term that ends on January 1 of the third odd-numbered year that occurs after appellate justices and judges take the oath of office. The resolution requires that appellate justices and judges, following the appointed term, be subject in the manner provided by law to retention or rejection on a nonpartisan ballot and to hold their offices for six years on each successive retention by the voters. The resolution requires that vacancies in the office of judge of a district court be filled until the next succeeding general election. The resolution specifies that a temporary provision expiring on January 1, 2010 applies to this constitutional amendment for gubernatorial appointment to fill vacancies in the offices of appellate justices and judges and for nonpartisan retention elections for those justices and judges. FOR ELECTION This proposed constitutional amendment shall be submitted to the voters at an election to be held November 6, 2001. If the voters approve the amendment, S.J.R. 3 takes effect January 1, 2002.