By Thompson                                            H.B. No. 538
         77R752 JMG-D                           
                                A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
 1-1                                   AN ACT
 1-2     relating to jurisdiction of statutory probate courts.
 1-4           SECTION 1. Section 25.0022, Government Code, is amended by
 1-5     amending Subsections (o)-(x) and adding Subsection (y) to read as
 1-6     follows:
 1-7           (o)  A judge who has jurisdiction over a suit pending in one
 1-8     county may, unless a party objects, conduct any of the judicial
 1-9     proceedings except the trial on the merits in a different county.
1-10           (p)  Except as otherwise provided by this section, the
1-11     salary, compensation, and expenses of a judge assigned under this
1-12     section are paid in accordance with state law.
1-13           (q) [(p)]  The daily compensation of a former or retired
1-14     judge for purposes of this section is set at an amount equal to the
1-15     daily compensation of a judge of a statutory probate court in the
1-16     county in which the former or retired judge is assigned.  A former
1-17     or retired judge assigned to a county that does not have a
1-18     statutory probate court shall be paid an amount equal to the daily
1-19     compensation of a judge of a statutory probate court in the county
1-20     where the assigned judge was last elected.
1-21           (r) [(q)]  An assigned judge is entitled to receive
1-22     reasonable and necessary expenses for travel, lodging, and food.
1-23     The assigned judge shall furnish the presiding judge, for
1-24     certification, an accounting of those expenses with a statement of
 2-1     the number of days the judge served.
 2-2           (s) [(r)]  The presiding judge shall certify to the county
 2-3     judge in the county in which the assigned judge served:
 2-4                 (1)  the expenses approved under Subsection (r) [(q)];
 2-5     and
 2-6                 (2)  a determination of the assigned judge's salary.
 2-7           (t) [(s)]  The county in which the assigned judge served
 2-8     shall pay out of the general fund of the county:
 2-9                 (1)  expenses certified under Subsection (s) [(q)] to
2-10     the assigned judge; and
2-11                 (2)  the salary certified under Subsection (s) [(q)] to
2-12     the county in which the assigned judge serves, or, if the assigned
2-13     judge is a former or retired judge, to the assigned judge.
2-14           (u) [(t)]  In addition to all compensation and expenses
2-15     authorized by this section and other law, a judge who is assigned
2-16     to a court outside the county of the judge's residence is entitled
2-17     to receive $25 for each day or fraction of a day served.  The
2-18     county in which the judge served shall pay the additional
2-19     compensation from the county's general fund on certification by the
2-20     presiding judge.
2-21           (v) [(u)]  When required to attend an annual or special
2-22     meeting prescribed by this section, a judge is entitled to receive,
2-23     in addition to all other compensation allowed by law, actual and
2-24     necessary travel expenses incurred going to and returning from the
2-25     place of the meeting and actual and necessary expenses while
2-26     attending the meeting.  On certification by the presiding judge,
2-27     the judge's county of residence shall pay the expenses from the
 3-1     county's general fund.
 3-2           (w) [(v)]  The presiding judge may perform the acts necessary
 3-3     to carry out the provisions of this section and to improve the
 3-4     management of the statutory probate courts and the administration
 3-5     of justice.
 3-6           (x) [(w)]  Chapter 74 and Subchapter I, Chapter 75, do not
 3-7     apply to the assignment under this section of statutory probate
 3-8     court judges.
 3-9           (y) [(x)]  To be eligible for assignment under this section a
3-10     former or retired judge of a statutory probate court must:
3-11                 (1)  not have been removed from office; and
3-12                 (2)  certify under oath to the presiding judge, on a
3-13     form prescribed by the state board of regional judges, that the
3-14     judge did not resign from office after having received notice that
3-15     formal proceedings by the State Commission on Judicial Conduct had
3-16     been instituted as provided in Section 33.022 and before the final
3-17     disposition of the proceedings.
3-18           SECTION 2. This Act takes effect September 1, 2001.