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 firefighter or police officer is entitled to
2-4 appropriate additional wages if:
2-5 (1) the firefighter or police officer provides a
2-6 service to the department that uses an additional language skill
2-7 possessed by the firefighter or police officer; and
2-8 (2) the additional language skill used is outside the
2-9 course and scope of the firefighter or police officer's position as
2-10 indicated by the firefighter or police officer's official job
2-12 Sec. 141.053. DEPARTMENTAL GUIDELINES. The fire or police
2-13 department shall establish guidelines to determine:
2-14 (1) the types of additional language skills and the
2-15 levels of fluency in additional language skills that require a
2-16 department to pay additional wages under this section; and
2-17 (2) the appropriate levels of additional wages.
2-18 Sec. 141.054. CIVIL PENALTY. A department that requires a
2-19 firefighter or police officer to use for the benefit of the
2-20 department additional language skills possessed by the firefighter
2-21 or police officer without the payment of additional wages is liable
2-22 to the firefighter or police officer for damages in the amount of
2-23 $500 for each day the requirement is imposed without the payment of
2-24 additional wages.
2-25 SECTION 2. Section 143.113(c), Local Government Code, is
2-26 amended to read as follows:
2-27 (c) The municipality's governing body shall [
3-1 assignment pay for bilingual personnel performing specialized
3-2 functions as interpreters or translators in their respective
3-3 departments. The assignment pay is in an amount and is payable
3-4 under conditions set by ordinance and is in addition to the regular
3-5 pay received by members of the fire or police department. If the
3-6 ordinance applies equally to each person who meets the criteria
3-7 established by the ordinance, the ordinance may provide for payment
3-8 to each fire fighter or police officer who meets testing or other
3-9 certification criteria for an assignment, or the ordinance may set
3-10 criteria that will determine the foreign languages in which a
3-11 person must be fluent or other criteria for eligibility. The
3-12 ordinance may provide for different rates of pay according to a
3-13 person's capability and may allow more pay to those persons who are
3-14 capable of translating orally and into written English. The heads
3-15 of the fire and police departments are not eligible for the
3-16 assignment pay authorized by this subsection.
3-17 SECTION 3. (a) Except as provided by Subsection (b) of this
3-18 section, this Act takes effect September 1, 1997.
3-19 (b) Section 141.054, Local Government Code, as added by this
3-20 Act, takes effect January 1, 1998.
3-21 (c) The change in the law made by Section 141.054, Local
3-22 Government Code, applies only to the use of additional language
3-23 skills on or after January 1, 1998.
3-24 SECTION 4. The importance of this legislation and the
3-25 crowded condition of the calendars in both houses create an
3-26 emergency and an imperative public necessity that the
3-27 constitutional rule requiring bills to be read on three several
4-1 days in each house be suspended, and this rule is hereby suspended.
4-2 COMMITTEE AMENDMENT NO. 1
4-3 Amend H.B. 2750 as follows:
4-4 At page 2, line 3, between "officer" and "is" the following:
4-5 "designated as a bilingual interpreter".
4-6 At page 2, after line 13, insert a new subparagraph (1) of
4-7 Sec. 141.053 and renumber the following subparagraphs as
4-9 (1) The number of designated bilingual interpreters
4-10 needed by the department;
4-11 On page 2, delete lines 18 though 24 and replace with the
4-13 Sec. 141.054. CIVIL PENALTY. A department that fails to
4-14 compensate a firefighter or police officer entitled and qualified
4-15 to receive additional wages under this subchapter and the
4-16 departmental guidelines established under Sec. 141.053 is liable to
4-17 the firefighter or police officer for damages in the amount of lost
4-18 wages plus interest at the rate of 5% per annum.