1-1 By: Hinojosa (Senate Sponsor - Lucio) H.B. No. 2750
1-2 (In the Senate - Received from the House May 16, 1997;
1-3 May 16, 1997, read first time and referred to Committee on
1-4 Intergovernmental Relations; May 17, 1997, reported favorably by
1-5 the following vote: Yeas 9, Nays 0; May 17, 1997, sent to
1-7 A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
1-8 AN ACT
1-9 relating to certain municipal firefighters and police officers
1-10 entitled to additional wages; providing a civil penalty.
1-11 BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
1-12 SECTION 1. Chapter 141, Local Government Code, is amended by
1-13 adding Subchapter C to read as follows:
1-14 SUBCHAPTER C. ADDITIONAL WAGES FOR CERTAIN MUNICIPAL
1-15 FIREFIGHTERS AND POLICE OFFICERS
1-16 Sec. 141.051. DEFINITIONS. In this subchapter:
1-17 (1) "Additional language skill" means fluency in a
1-18 language other than English.
1-19 (2) "Firefighter" means a full-time member of a
1-20 municipal fire department who performs:
1-21 (A) fire suppression;
1-22 (B) fire prevention;
1-23 (C) fire training;
1-24 (D) fire safety education;
1-25 (E) fire maintenance;
1-26 (F) fire communications;
1-27 (G) fire medical emergency technology;
1-28 (H) fire photography; or
1-29 (I) fire administration.
1-30 (3) "Police officer" means a member of a municipal
1-31 police department who is a licensed peace officer under Section
1-32 415.052, Government Code.
1-33 Sec. 141.052. ENTITLEMENT TO ADDITIONAL WAGES FOR CERTAIN
1-34 SERVICES. A fire or police department may designate a firefighter
1-35 or police officer as a bilingual interpreter. A firefighter or
1-36 police officer who is designated as a bilingual interpreter under
1-37 this section is entitled to appropriate additional wages if:
1-38 (1) the firefighter or police officer provides a
1-39 service to the department that uses an additional language skill
1-40 possessed by the firefighter or police officer; and
1-41 (2) the additional language skill used is outside the
1-42 course and scope of the firefighter or police officer's position as
1-43 indicated by the firefighter or police officer's official job
1-45 Sec. 141.053. DEPARTMENTAL GUIDELINES. A fire or police
1-46 department that designates a firefighter or police officer as a
1-47 bilingual interpreter under Section 141.052 shall establish
1-48 guidelines to determine:
1-49 (1) the number of designated bilingual interpreters
1-50 needed by the department;
1-51 (2) the types of additional language skills and the
1-52 levels of fluency in additional language skills that require a
1-53 department to pay additional wages under this section; and
1-54 (3) the appropriate levels of additional wages.
1-55 Sec. 141.054. CIVIL PENALTY. A department that fails to
1-56 compensate a firefighter or police officer entitled and qualified
1-57 to receive additional wages under this subchapter and the
1-58 departmental guidelines established under Section 141.053 is liable
1-59 to the firefighter or police officer for damages in the amount of
1-60 lost wages plus interest at the rate of 5 percent per annum.
1-61 SECTION 2. Section 143.113(c), Local Government Code, is
1-62 amended to read as follows:
1-63 (c) The municipality's governing body shall [
1-64 assignment pay for bilingual personnel performing specialized
2-1 functions as interpreters or translators in their respective
2-2 departments. The assignment pay is in an amount and is payable
2-3 under conditions set by ordinance and is in addition to the regular
2-4 pay received by members of the fire or police department. If the
2-5 ordinance applies equally to each person who meets the criteria
2-6 established by the ordinance, the ordinance may provide for payment
2-7 to each fire fighter or police officer who meets testing or other
2-8 certification criteria for an assignment, or the ordinance may set
2-9 criteria that will determine the foreign languages in which a
2-10 person must be fluent or other criteria for eligibility. The
2-11 ordinance may provide for different rates of pay according to a
2-12 person's capability and may allow more pay to those persons who are
2-13 capable of translating orally and into written English. The heads
2-14 of the fire and police departments are not eligible for the
2-15 assignment pay authorized by this subsection.
2-16 SECTION 3. (a) Except as provided by Subsection (b) of this
2-17 section, this Act takes effect September 1, 1997.
2-18 (b) Section 141.054, Local Government Code, as added by this
2-19 Act, takes effect January 1, 1998.
2-20 (c) The change in the law made by Section 141.054, Local
2-21 Government Code, applies only to the use of additional language
2-22 skills on or after January 1, 1998.
2-23 SECTION 4. The importance of this legislation and the
2-24 crowded condition of the calendars in both houses create an
2-25 emergency and an imperative public necessity that the
2-26 constitutional rule requiring bills to be read on three several
2-27 days in each house be suspended, and this rule is hereby suspended.
2-28 * * * * *