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. 1-4 BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS: 1-5 SECTION 1. Subchapter A, Chapter 21, Labor Code, is amended 1-6 by adding Section 21.010 to read as follows: 1-7 Sec. 21.010. COMMISSION AUTHORIZATION OF ACTION BY ATTORNEY 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.