By:  Ellis                                             S.B. No. 318

                                A BILL TO BE ENTITLED

                                       AN ACT

 1-1     relating to the liability of and bonds required of guardians of the

 1-2     person of certain wards.


 1-4           SECTION 1.  Subsection (b), Section 702, Texas Probate Code,

 1-5     is amended to read as follows:

 1-6           (b)  A bond is not required to be given by a guardian that

 1-7     is:

 1-8                 (1)  a corporate fiduciary, as defined by Section

 1-9     601(5) of this code; or

1-10                 (2)  a guardianship program operated by a county [with

1-11     a population of more than 2.5 million, according to the most recent

1-12     federal decennial census].

1-13           SECTION 2.  Subpart B, Part 3, Chapter XIII, Texas Probate

1-14     Code, is amended by adding Section 702A to read as follows:


1-16     PERSON.  (a)  This section applies only to a bond required to be

1-17     posted by a guardian of the person of a ward when there is no

1-18     guardian of the ward's estate.

1-19           (b)  To ensure the performance of the guardian's duties, the

1-20     court may accept only:

1-21                 (1)  a corporate surety bond;

1-22                 (2)  a personal surety bond;

1-23                 (3)  a deposit of money instead of a surety bond; or

 2-1                 (4)  a personal bond.

 2-2           (c)  In determining the appropriate type and amount of bond

 2-3     to set for the guardian, the court shall consider:

 2-4                 (1)  the familial relationship of the guardian to the

 2-5     ward;

 2-6                 (2)  the guardian's ties to the community;

 2-7                 (3)  the guardian's financial condition;

 2-8                 (4)  the guardian's past history of compliance with the

 2-9     court; and

2-10                 (5)  the reason the guardian may have previously been

2-11     denied a corporate surety bond.

2-12           SECTION 3.  Section 102.002, Civil Practice and Remedies

2-13     Code, is amended by amending Subsection (c) and adding Subsection

2-14     (e) to read as follows:

2-15           (c)  Except as provided by Subsection (e), a [A] local

2-16     government may not pay damages awarded against an employee that:

2-17                 (1)  arise from a cause of action for official

2-18     misconduct; or

2-19                 (2)  arise from a cause of action involving a wilful or

2-20     wrongful act or omission or an act or omission constituting gross

2-21     negligence.

2-22           (e)  A local government that does not give a bond under

2-23     Section 702(b), Texas Probate Code, shall pay damages awarded

2-24     against an employee of the local government arising from a cause of

2-25     action described by Subsection (c) if the liability results from

 3-1     the employee's appointment as guardian of the person or estate of a

 3-2     ward under the Texas Probate Code and the action or omission for

 3-3     which the employee was found liable was in the course and scope of

 3-4     the person's employment with the local government.

 3-5           SECTION 4.  Section 102.003, Civil Practice and Remedies

 3-6     Code, is amended to read as follows:

 3-7           Sec. 102.003.  MAXIMUM PAYMENTS.  Payments under this chapter

 3-8     by a local government may not exceed:

 3-9                 (1)  $100,000 to any one person or $300,000 for any

3-10     single occurrence in the case of personal injury or death; or

3-11                 (2)  $10,000 for a single occurrence of property

3-12     damage, unless the local government is liable in the local

3-13     government's capacity as guardian under the Texas Probate Code and

3-14     does not give a bond under Section 702(b), Texas Probate Code, in

3-15     which event payments may not exceed the amount of the actual

3-16     property damages.

3-17           SECTION 5.  This Act takes effect September 1, 1997, and

3-18     applies only to a proceeding for the appointment of a guardian that

3-19     is instituted on or after that date.  A proceeding for the

3-20     appointment of a guardian that is instituted before the effective

3-21     date of this Act is governed by the law in effect on the date on

3-22     which the proceeding was instituted, and the former law is

3-23     continued in effect for that purpose.

3-24           SECTION 6.  The importance of this legislation and the

3-25     crowded condition of the calendars in both houses create an

 4-1     emergency and an imperative public necessity that the

 4-2     constitutional rule requiring bills to be read on three several

 4-3     days in each house be suspended, and this rule is hereby suspended.