By Turner of Harris, Dukes, McClendon,                H.B. No. 1453

                                A BILL TO BE ENTITLED

 1-1                                   AN ACT

 1-2     relating to the enforcement of certain laws prohibiting employment

 1-3     discrimination by the Commission on Human Rights.


 1-5           SECTION 1.  Subchapter A, Chapter 21, Labor Code, is amended

 1-6     by adding Section 21.010 to read as follows:


 1-8     GENERAL.  (a)  In any proceeding under this chapter in which the

 1-9     commission authorizes the attorney general to commence a legal

1-10     action, the attorney general shall commence the action not later

1-11     than the 30th day after the date of the commission's authorization,

1-12     except as provided in Subsections (b) and (c).

1-13           (b)  Upon notification by the commission authorizing the

1-14     filing of a legal action under this chapter, the attorney general

1-15     shall within 20 days review the commission's request and shall

1-16     determine whether the commission's reasonable cause findings are

1-17     well-grounded in fact and warranted by law.  If the attorney

1-18     general determines the commission's reasonable cause findings are

1-19     well-grounded in fact and warranted by law, the attorney general

1-20     shall file suit as provided in Subsection (a).

1-21           (c)  In the event the attorney general determines that the

1-22     commission's reasonable cause findings are not well-grounded in

1-23     fact or not warranted by law, the attorney general shall so inform

1-24     the executive director of the attorney general's reasons in writing

1-25     within 20 days of receiving the commission's notification

 2-1     authorizing the filing of a legal action.  In such cases, if the

 2-2     commission, by a majority vote of the members of the commission

 2-3     voting at a regularly scheduled meeting, votes to proceed with the

 2-4     legal action, the attorney general shall either file suit within 30

 2-5     days of the commission's meeting prescribed by this subsection or

 2-6     shall, within 10 days of the commission's meeting, authorize the

 2-7     commission to retain outside legal counsel.  If the attorney

 2-8     general declines to file the legal action on behalf of the

 2-9     commission, the commission is authorized to file the legal action

2-10     through outside legal counsel within 30 days of the commission

2-11     meeting at which the commission voted to proceed with the legal

2-12     action.  To the extent permitted under Section 551.071, Government

2-13     Code, during the meeting at which the commission takes a vote under

2-14     this subsection, the commission may discuss the proposal in closed

2-15     session before the vote.

2-16           SECTION 2.  Section 21.210(a), Labor Code, is amended to read

2-17     as follows:

2-18           (a)  If the commission concludes from a preliminary

2-19     investigation of an unlawful employment practice alleged in a

2-20     perfected complaint that prompt judicial action is necessary to

2-21     carry out the purpose of this chapter, the commission shall

2-22     authorize the attorney general to file a petition seeking

2-23     appropriate temporary relief against the respondent pending final

2-24     determination of a proceeding under this chapter.

2-25           SECTION 3.  Section 21.251, Labor Code, is amended to read as

2-26     follows:

2-27           Sec. 21.251.  CIVIL ACTION BY COMMISSION.  (a)  The

 3-1     commission may bring a civil action against a respondent if:

 3-2                 (1)  the commission determines that there is reasonable

 3-3     cause to believe that the respondent engaged in an unlawful

 3-4     employment practice;

 3-5                 (2)  the commission's efforts to resolve the

 3-6     discriminatory practice to the satisfaction of the complainant and

 3-7     respondent through conciliation have been unsuccessful;  and

 3-8                 (3)  a majority of the commissioners determines that

 3-9     the civil action may achieve the purposes of this chapter.

3-10           (b)  If the requirements of Subsection (a) are satisfied, the

3-11     commission shall authorize the attorney general to file a civil

3-12     action in district court seeking relief for the complainant.

3-13           (c)  Venue for an action under this section is in the county

3-14     in which the alleged unlawful employment practice occurred.

3-15           (d)  The complainant may intervene in a civil action brought

3-16     by the commission.

3-17           SECTION 4.  Section 21.306(b), Labor Code, is amended to read

3-18     as follows:

3-19           (b)  On a failure to comply with a subpoena of the

3-20     commission, the commission shall authorize the attorney general to

3-21     apply for an order directing compliance to the district court of

3-22     the county in which the person is found, resides, or transacts

3-23     business.

3-24           SECTION 5.  This Act takes effect September 1, 1997, and

3-25     applies only to a perfected complaint filed with the Commission on

3-26     Human Rights on or after that date.  A perfected complaint filed

3-27     before the effective date of this Act is governed by the law in

 4-1     effect on the date the perfected complaint was filed, and the

 4-2     former law is continued in effect for that purpose.

 4-3           SECTION 6.  The importance of this legislation and the

 4-4     crowded condition of the calendars in both houses create an

 4-5     emergency and an imperative public necessity that the

 4-6     constitutional rule requiring bills to be read on three several

 4-7     days in each house be suspended, and this rule is hereby suspended.