HBA-JLV, EDN H.B. 178 77(R)BILL ANALYSIS Office of House Bill AnalysisH.B. 178 By: Luna, Vilma Judicial Affairs 7/10/2001 Enrolled BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE In the State of Texas there are approximately 1,600 assistant district attorneys, assistant criminal district attorneys, and assistant county and district attorneys. Many of these prosecutors have more than four years experience in this field. Although these assistant prosecutors are largely responsible for the enforcement of the state's felony criminal laws in Texas courts, their salaries are paid largely by individual counties. The salaries for experienced prosecutors have failed to keep pace with the salaries available in the private sector for experienced attorneys. House Bill 178 provides state longevity pay for certain assistant felony prosecutors who have accrued at least four years of lifetime service credit. RULEMAKING AUTHORITY It is the opinion of the Office of House Bill Analysis that this bill does not expressly delegate any additional rulemaking authority to a state officer, department, agency, or institution. ANALYSIS House Bill 178 amends the Government Code to entitle an assistant prosecutor to longevity pay to be included in the assistant prosecutor's monthly compensation if the assistant prosecutor is a full-time employee on the first workday of the month, is not on leave without pay on the first workday of the month, and has accrued at least four years of lifetime service credit not later than the last day of the preceding month. The bill requires the district attorney, criminal district attorney, or county attorney in the county in which the assistant prosecutor is employed to certify the eligibility of the assistant prosecutor to receive a longevity pay supplement. The bill provides monthly longevity pay of $20 for each year of lifetime service credit, and the increase begins with the month following the month in which the fourth year of lifetime service credit is accrued. The bill prohibits an assistant prosecutor from receiving as longevity pay from the county more than $20 for each year of lifetime service credit, regardless of the number of positions the assistant prosecutor holds or the number of hours the assistant prosecutor works each week, or more than $5,000 annually. The bill prohibits an assistant prosecutor who receives longevity pay from engaging in the private practice of law if, from all funds received, the assistant prosecutor receives a salary equal to or more than 80 percent of the salary paid by the state to a district judge. However, the bill does authorize an assistant prosecutor to complete all civil cases that are not in conflict with the interest of any of the counties of the district in which the assistant prosecutor serves and that are pending in court before the assistant prosecutor exceeds the salary cap. The bill requires the county to pay a longevity pay supplement out of the county general fund and prohibits the county from reducing the salary of the assistant prosecutor to offset the longevity pay supplement. The bill sets forth provisions regarding an assistant prosecutor who performs services for more than one county. The bill also requires the state to reimburse a county for amounts expended for longevity pay supplements, and requires a county seeking reimbursement to certify to the comptroller of public accounts on a quarterly basis the amount of reimbursement that the county is entitled to receive. The comptroller is required to issue a warrant to the county in the amount certified. In addition, the bill sets forth provisions regarding the accrual of lifetime service credit and changes in employment status. EFFECTIVE DATE January 1, 2002.