By Hinojosa H.B. No. 2750
A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
1-1 AN ACT
1-2 relating to certain municipal firefighters and police officers
1-3 entitled to additional wages; providing a civil penalty.
1-4 BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
1-5 SECTION 1. Chapter 141, Local Government Code, is amended by
1-6 adding Subchapter C to read as follows:
1-7 SUBCHAPTER C. ADDITIONAL WAGES FOR CERTAIN MUNICIPAL
1-8 FIREFIGHTERS AND POLICE OFFICERS
1-9 Sec. 141.051. DEFINITIONS. In this subchapter:
1-10 (1) "Additional language skill" means fluency in a
1-11 language other than English.
1-12 (2) "Firefighter" means a full-time member of a
1-13 municipal fire department who performs:
1-14 (A) fire suppression;
1-15 (B) fire prevention;
1-16 (C) fire training;
1-17 (D) fire safety education;
1-18 (E) fire maintenance;
1-19 (F) fire communications;
1-20 (G) fire medical emergency technology;
1-21 (H) fire photography; or
1-22 (I) fire administration.
1-23 (3) "Police officer" means a member of a municipal
1-24 police department who is a licensed peace officer under Section
2-1 415.052, Government Code.
2-2 Sec. 141.052. ENTITLEMENT TO ADDITIONAL WAGES FOR CERTAIN
2-3 SERVICES. A fire or police department may designate a firefighter
2-4 or police officer as a bilingual interpreter. A firefighter or
2-5 police officer who is designated as a bilingual interpreter under
2-6 this section is entitled to appropriate additional wages if:
2-7 (1) the firefighter or police officer provides a
2-8 service to the department that uses an additional language skill
2-9 possessed by the firefighter or police officer; and
2-10 (2) the additional language skill used is outside the
2-11 course and scope of the firefighter or police officer's position as
2-12 indicated by the firefighter or police officer's official job
2-14 Sec. 141.053. DEPARTMENTAL GUIDELINES. A fire or police
2-15 department that designates a firefighter or police officer as a
2-16 bilingual interpreter under Section 141.052 shall establish
2-17 guidelines to determine:
2-18 (1) the number of designated bilingual interpreters
2-19 needed by the department;
2-20 (2) the types of additional language skills and the
2-21 levels of fluency in additional language skills that require a
2-22 department to pay additional wages under this section; and
2-23 (3) the appropriate levels of additional wages.
2-24 Sec. 141.054. CIVIL PENALTY. A department that fails to
2-25 compensate a firefighter or police officer entitled and qualified
2-26 to receive additional wages under this subchapter and the
2-27 departmental guidelines established under Section 141.053 is liable
3-1 to the firefighter or police officer for damages in the amount of
3-2 lost wages plus interest at the rate of 5 percent per annum.
3-3 SECTION 2. Section 143.113(c), Local Government Code, is
3-4 amended to read as follows:
3-5 (c) The municipality's governing body shall [
3-6 assignment pay for bilingual personnel performing specialized
3-7 functions as interpreters or translators in their respective
3-8 departments. The assignment pay is in an amount and is payable
3-9 under conditions set by ordinance and is in addition to the regular
3-10 pay received by members of the fire or police department. If the
3-11 ordinance applies equally to each person who meets the criteria
3-12 established by the ordinance, the ordinance may provide for payment
3-13 to each fire fighter or police officer who meets testing or other
3-14 certification criteria for an assignment, or the ordinance may set
3-15 criteria that will determine the foreign languages in which a
3-16 person must be fluent or other criteria for eligibility. The
3-17 ordinance may provide for different rates of pay according to a
3-18 person's capability and may allow more pay to those persons who are
3-19 capable of translating orally and into written English. The heads
3-20 of the fire and police departments are not eligible for the
3-21 assignment pay authorized by this subsection.
3-22 SECTION 3. (a) Except as provided by Subsection (b) of this
3-23 section, this Act takes effect September 1, 1997.
3-24 (b) Section 141.054, Local Government Code, as added by this
3-25 Act, takes effect January 1, 1998.
3-26 (c) The change in the law made by Section 141.054, Local
3-27 Government Code, applies only to the use of additional language
4-1 skills on or after January 1, 1998.
4-2 SECTION 4. The importance of this legislation and the
4-3 crowded condition of the calendars in both houses create an
4-4 emergency and an imperative public necessity that the
4-5 constitutional rule requiring bills to be read on three several
4-6 days in each house be suspended, and this rule is hereby suspended.