Austin, Texas
                                   FISCAL NOTE
                               75th Regular Session
                                  April 6, 1997
      TO: Honorable Rodney Ellis, Chair            IN RE:  Senate Bill No. 409
          Committee on Jurisprudence                              By: Ellis
          Austin, Texas
         FROM:  John Keel, Director    
In response to your request for a Fiscal Note on SB409 ( Relating 
to the appointment of appellate justices and judges, to the 
nonpartisan election of district judges, to the retention or 
rejection of district and appellate judges, and to the creation 
of) this office has detemined the following:
         Biennial Net Impact to General Revenue Funds by SB409-As Introduced

Implementing the provisions of the bill would result in a 
net negative impact of $(27,069,800) to General Revenue Related 
Funds through the biennium ending August 31, 1999.
The bill would make no appropriation but could provide the legal 
basis for an appropriation of funds to implement the provisions 
of the bill.

Fiscal Analysis
This bill would amend the Election Code and Government Code 
to provide for the retention election of Supreme Court, Court 
of Criminal Appeals and Court of Appeals Justices at the end 
of their terms.  The bill would also provide for the election 
of judges followed by two cycles of retention election.  The 
election of judges would be on a nonpartisan ballot and would 
be held in conjunction with the general election for state and 
county officers.  The Secretary of State would be required to 
publish and mail a candidates guide for candidates running in 
the nonpartisan judicial election.

The bill would also create 
a new district court in Bexar County, three courts in Dallas 
County, one court in Harris County, and three courts in Tarrant 
County.  The new district courts would be created effective 
January 1, 1998.
The Secretary of State estimated the number of judges who would 
no longer run for election, resulting in a loss of revenue in 
the primary finance fund, and the number of district judges 
who would run in the retention election, resulting in a probable 
gain to general revenue.  The Secretary of State assumed that 
two candidates in each of the races would have filed for election 
had the office not been up for retention election or would file 
if the office were up for election.

The Comptroller of Public 
Accounts estimates that the cost for salary and benefits for 
each new district judge would be $105,270 annually.  The cost 
of creating the eight new courts in fiscal year 1998 would be 
$581,440, and the cost of the courts in fiscal year 1999 and 
thereafter would be $842,160 annually.

The Secretary of State 
estimates that the largest cost in the bill would be the cost 
of publishing and mailing a candidates guide to the estimated 
6,365,000 household registered voters in Texas.  If each household 
had a district judge running for election, the Secretary of 
State would be required to mail to all households.  The cost 
of publishing and mailing the candidates guide is estimated 
at $4.00 each x 6,365,000 = $25,460,000 in each general election 
The probable fiscal implications of implementing the provisions 
of the bill during each of the first five years following passage 
is estimated as follows:
Five Year Impact:
Fiscal Year Probable           Probable Revenue   Probable Revenue   
            Savings/(Cost)     Gain/(Loss) from   Gain/(Loss) from                                        
            from General       General Revenue    General Revenue                                         
            Revenue Fund       Fund               Fund                                                    
            0001               0001               0001                                                     
       1998     ($26,021,440)          $290,400        ($496,600)                                    
       1998         (842,160)                 0                 0                                    
       2000      (26,302,160)           243,000         (456,000)                                    
       2001         (842,160)                 0                 0                                    
       2002      (26,302,160)                 0         (793,000)                                    

         Net Impact on General Revenue Related Funds:
The probable fiscal implication to General Revenue related funds 
during each of the first five years is estimated as follows:
              Fiscal Year      Probable Net Postive/(Negative)
                               General Revenue Related Funds
               1998        ($26,227,640)
               1999            (842,160)
               2000         (26,515,160)
               2001            (842,160)
               2002         (27,095,160)
Similar annual fiscal implications would continue as long as 
the provisions of the bill are in effect.
The four counties which would have new district courts established 
would have additional costs.  Dallas County officials anticipate 
annual cost of $3,300,000 for three district courts.  Harris 
County officials expect a cost of approximately $1,850,000 in 
the first year and $1,400,000 annually thereafter.  Tarrant 
County costs are expected to be about $1,950,000 annually for 
three new courts.  Costs for Bexar County are expected to be 
approximately $254,000 annually.
   Source:            Agencies:   212   Office of Court Administration
                                         307   Secretary of State
                                         304   Comptroller of Public Accounts
                      LBB Staff:   JK ,BB ,JC