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

         75R3275 JMM-F                           

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

1-13     as follows:

1-14           (a)  If the commission concludes from a preliminary

1-15     investigation of an unlawful employment practice alleged in a

1-16     perfected complaint that prompt judicial action is necessary to

1-17     carry out the purpose of this chapter, the commission shall

1-18     authorize the attorney general to file a petition seeking

1-19     appropriate temporary relief against the respondent pending final

1-20     determination of a proceeding under this chapter.

1-21           SECTION 3.  Section 21.251, Labor Code, is amended to read as

1-22     follows:

1-23           Sec. 21.251.  CIVIL ACTION BY COMMISSION.  (a)  The

1-24     commission may bring a civil action against a respondent if:

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

 2-2     cause to believe that the respondent engaged in an unlawful

 2-3     employment practice;

 2-4                 (2)  the commission's efforts to resolve the

 2-5     discriminatory practice to the satisfaction of the complainant and

 2-6     respondent through conciliation have been unsuccessful;  and

 2-7                 (3)  a majority of the commissioners determines that

 2-8     the civil action may achieve the purposes of this chapter.

 2-9           (b)  If the requirements of Subsection (a) are satisfied, the

2-10     commission shall authorize the attorney general to file a civil

2-11     action in district court seeking relief for the complainant.

2-12           (c)  Venue for an action under this section is in the county

2-13     in which the alleged unlawful employment practice occurred.

2-14           (d)  The complainant may intervene in a civil action brought

2-15     by the commission.

2-16           SECTION 4.  Section 21.306(b), Labor Code, is amended to read

2-17     as follows:

2-18           (b)  On a failure to comply with a subpoena of the

2-19     commission, the commission shall authorize the attorney general to

2-20     apply for an order directing compliance to the district court of

2-21     the county in which the person is found, resides, or transacts

2-22     business.

2-23           SECTION 5.  This Act takes effect September 1, 1997, and

2-24     applies only to a perfected complaint filed with the Commission on

2-25     Human Rights on or after that date.  A perfected complaint filed

2-26     before the effective date of this Act is governed by the law in

2-27     effect on the date the perfected complaint was filed, and the

 3-1     former law is continued in effect for that purpose.

 3-2           SECTION 6.  The importance of this legislation and the

 3-3     crowded condition of the calendars in both houses create an

 3-4     emergency and an imperative public necessity that the

 3-5     constitutional rule requiring bills to be read on three several

 3-6     days in each house be suspended, and this rule is hereby suspended.

 3-7                          COMMITTEE AMENDMENT NO. 1

 3-8           Amend H.B. 1453 as follows:

 3-9           (1)  On page 1, line 8, after "GENERAL" add "(a)"

3-10           (2)  On page 1, line 11, after "authorization" delete the

3-11     period and add ", except as provided in subsections (b) and (c) of

3-12     this section."

3-13           (3)  On page 1, between lines 11 and 12, insert the

3-14     following:

3-15           "(b)  Upon notification by the commission authorizing the

3-16     filing of a legal action under this chapter, the attorney general

3-17     shall within 10 days review the commission's request and shall

3-18     determine whether the commission's reasonable cause findings are

3-19     well grounded in fact and warranted by law.  If the attorney

3-20     general determines the commission's reasonable cause findings are

3-21     well grounded in fact and warranted by law, the attorney general

3-22     shall file suit as provided in subsection (a) of this section."

3-23           "(c)  In the event the attorney general determines that the

3-24     commission's reasonable cause findings are not well grounded in

3-25     fact or not warranted by law, the attorney general shall so inform

3-26     the executive director of the attorney general's reasons in writing

3-27     within 10 days of receiving the commission's notification

 4-1     authorizing the filing of a legal action.  In such cases, if the

 4-2     commission, by a majority vote of the members of the commission

 4-3     voting at a regularly scheduled meeting, votes to proceed with the

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

 4-5     days of the commission's meeting prescribed by this subsection, or

 4-6     shall, within 10 days of the commission's meeting, authorize the

 4-7     commission to retain outside legal counsel.  If the attorney

 4-8     general declines to file the legal action on behalf of the

 4-9     commission, the commission is authorized to file the legal action

4-10     through outside legal counsel within 30 days of the commission

4-11     meeting at which the commission voted to proceed with the legal

4-12     action.  To the extent permitted under Section 551.071, Government

4-13     Code, during the meeting at which the commission takes a vote under

4-14     this subsection, the commission may discuss the proposal in closed

4-15     session before the vote."

4-16                                                        Turner of Harris