1-1     By:  Turner of Harris, et al.                         H.B. No. 1453

 1-2          (Senate Sponsor - Barrientos)

 1-3           (In the Senate - Received from the House May 15, 1997;

 1-4     May 16, 1997, read first time and referred to Committee on

 1-5     Jurisprudence; May 18, 1997, reported favorably by the following

 1-6     vote:  Yeas 6, Nays 1; May 18, 1997, sent to printer.)

 1-7                            A BILL TO BE ENTITLED

 1-8                                   AN ACT

 1-9     relating to the enforcement of certain laws prohibiting employment

1-10     discrimination by the Commission on Human Rights.


1-12           SECTION 1.  Subchapter A, Chapter 21, Labor Code, is amended

1-13     by adding Section 21.010 to read as follows:


1-15     GENERAL.  (a)  In any proceeding under this chapter in which the

1-16     commission authorizes the attorney general to commence a legal

1-17     action, the attorney general shall commence the action not later

1-18     than the 30th day after the date of the commission's authorization,

1-19     except as provided in Subsections (b) and (c).

1-20           (b)  Upon notification by the commission authorizing the

1-21     filing of a legal action under this chapter, the attorney general

1-22     shall within 20 days review the commission's request and shall

1-23     determine whether the commission's reasonable cause findings are

1-24     well-grounded in fact and warranted by law.  If the attorney

1-25     general determines the commission's reasonable cause findings are

1-26     well-grounded in fact and warranted by law, the attorney general

1-27     shall file suit as provided in Subsection (a).

1-28           (c)  In the event the attorney general determines that the

1-29     commission's reasonable cause findings are not well-grounded in

1-30     fact or not warranted by law, the attorney general shall so inform

1-31     the executive director of the attorney general's reasons in writing

1-32     within 20 days of receiving the commission's notification

1-33     authorizing the filing of a legal action.  In such cases, if the

1-34     commission, by a majority vote of the members of the commission

1-35     voting at a regularly scheduled meeting, votes to proceed with the

1-36     legal action, the attorney general shall either file suit within 30

1-37     days of the commission's meeting prescribed by this subsection or

1-38     shall, within 10 days of the commission's meeting, authorize the

1-39     commission to retain outside legal counsel.  If the attorney

1-40     general declines to file the legal action on behalf of the

1-41     commission, the commission is authorized to file the legal action

1-42     through outside legal counsel within 30 days of the commission

1-43     meeting at which the commission voted to proceed with the legal

1-44     action.  To the extent permitted under Section 551.071, Government

1-45     Code, during the meeting at which the commission takes a vote under

1-46     this subsection, the commission may discuss the proposal in closed

1-47     session before the vote.

1-48           SECTION 2.  Section 21.210(a), Labor Code, is amended to read

1-49     as follows:

1-50           (a)  If the commission concludes from a preliminary

1-51     investigation of an unlawful employment practice alleged in a

1-52     perfected complaint that prompt judicial action is necessary to

1-53     carry out the purpose of this chapter, the commission shall

1-54     authorize the attorney general to file a petition seeking

1-55     appropriate temporary relief against the respondent pending final

1-56     determination of a proceeding under this chapter.

1-57           SECTION 3.  Section 21.251, Labor Code, is amended to read as

1-58     follows:

1-59           Sec. 21.251.  CIVIL ACTION BY COMMISSION.  (a)  The

1-60     commission may bring a civil action against a respondent if:

1-61                 (1)  the commission determines that there is reasonable

1-62     cause to believe that the respondent engaged in an unlawful

1-63     employment practice;

1-64                 (2)  the commission's efforts to resolve the

 2-1     discriminatory practice to the satisfaction of the complainant and

 2-2     respondent through conciliation have been unsuccessful;  and

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

 2-4     the civil action may achieve the purposes of this chapter.

 2-5           (b)  If the requirements of Subsection (a) are satisfied, the

 2-6     commission shall authorize the attorney general to file a civil

 2-7     action in district court seeking relief for the complainant.

 2-8           (c)  Venue for an action under this section is in the county

 2-9     in which the alleged unlawful employment practice occurred.

2-10           (d)  The complainant may intervene in a civil action brought

2-11     by the commission.

2-12           SECTION 4.  Section 21.306(b), Labor Code, is amended to read

2-13     as follows:

2-14           (b)  On a failure to comply with a subpoena of the

2-15     commission, the commission shall authorize the attorney general to

2-16     apply for an order directing compliance to the district court of

2-17     the county in which the person is found, resides, or transacts

2-18     business.

2-19           SECTION 5.  This Act takes effect September 1, 1997, and

2-20     applies only to a perfected complaint filed with the Commission on

2-21     Human Rights on or after that date.  A perfected complaint filed

2-22     before the effective date of this Act is governed by the law in

2-23     effect on the date the perfected complaint was filed, and the

2-24     former law is continued in effect for that purpose.

2-25           SECTION 6.  The importance of this legislation and the

2-26     crowded condition of the calendars in both houses create an

2-27     emergency and an imperative public necessity that the

2-28     constitutional rule requiring bills to be read on three several

2-29     days in each house be suspended, and this rule is hereby suspended.

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