BILL ANALYSIS H.B. 3227 By: Junell (Montford) Jurisprudence 5-25-95 Senate Committee Report (Unamended) BACKGROUND The increasing criminal caseload in the county court at law in Tom Green County may be better administered if Tom Green County had two county courts at law. There are currently 185 statutory county courts in Texas. These courts were designed to alleviate the county judge of judicial responsibilities and to ease the docket load of district courts. These courts exist in 74, mostly urban, counties and are funded almost entirely by the counties authorized to establish such courts. Countywide, multimember, at-large elections in urban areas exist now only in the context of judicial elections. These systems may result in diluting minority voting strength. Texas is currently defending a number of suits challenging countywide, multimember, at-large elections for judicial candidates and is required to preclear changes in its elections system to ensure that racial minority voting strength is not diluted. The U.S. Justice Department has refused to preclear any new multimember, urban district or county courts in Texas since 1989. PURPOSE As proposed, H.B. 3227 creates the County Court at Law No. 2 of Tom Green County. RULEMAKING AUTHORITY It is the committee's opinion that this bill does not grant any additional rulemaking authority to a state officer, institution, or agency. SECTION BY SECTION ANALYSIS SECTION 1. Amends Section 25.2281, Government Code, to add County Court at Law No. 2 to the list of county courts at law in Tom Green County. Makes conforming changes. SECTION 2. Amends Section 25.2282, Government Code, by adding Subsection (a), to prohibit a judge of County Court at Law No. 2 of Tom Green County from being assigned to serve as a visiting judge in Bexar, Dallas, Ector, Fort Bend, Harris, Jefferson, Lubbock, Midland, Tarrant, or Travis County. SECTION 3. Provides that the County Court at Law No. 2 of Tom Green County is created January 1, 1997, or on an earlier date determined by the commissioners court. SECTION 4. Emergency clause. Effective date: 90 days after adjournment.