1-1     By:  Thompson (Senate Sponsor - Wentworth)             H.B. No. 538
 1-2           (In the Senate - Received from the House April 2, 2001;
 1-3     April 3, 2001, read first time and referred to Committee on
 1-4     Jurisprudence; April 18, 2001, reported favorably by the following
 1-5     vote:  Yeas 5, Nays 0; April 18, 2001, sent to printer.)
 1-6                            A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
 1-7                                   AN ACT
 1-8     relating to jurisdiction of statutory probate courts.
1-10           SECTION 1. Section 25.0022, Government Code, is amended by
1-11     amending Subsections (o)-(x) and adding Subsection (y) to read as
1-12     follows:
1-13           (o)  A judge who has jurisdiction over a suit pending in one
1-14     county may, unless a party objects, conduct any of the judicial
1-15     proceedings except the trial on the merits in a different county.
1-16           (p)  Except as otherwise provided by this section, the
1-17     salary, compensation, and expenses of a judge assigned under this
1-18     section are paid in accordance with state law.
1-19           (q) [(p)]  The daily compensation of a former or retired
1-20     judge for purposes of this section is set at an amount equal to the
1-21     daily compensation of a judge of a statutory probate court in the
1-22     county in which the former or retired judge is assigned.  A former
1-23     or retired judge assigned to a county that does not have a
1-24     statutory probate court shall be paid an amount equal to the daily
1-25     compensation of a judge of a statutory probate court in the county
1-26     where the assigned judge was last elected.
1-27           (r) [(q)]  An assigned judge is entitled to receive
1-28     reasonable and necessary expenses for travel, lodging, and food.
1-29     The assigned judge shall furnish the presiding judge, for
1-30     certification, an accounting of those expenses with a statement of
1-31     the number of days the judge served.
1-32           (s) [(r)]  The presiding judge shall certify to the county
1-33     judge in the county in which the assigned judge served:
1-34                 (1)  the expenses approved under Subsection (r) [(q)];
1-35     and
1-36                 (2)  a determination of the assigned judge's salary.
1-37           (t) [(s)]  The county in which the assigned judge served
1-38     shall pay out of the general fund of the county:
1-39                 (1)  expenses certified under Subsection (s) [(q)] to
1-40     the assigned judge; and
1-41                 (2)  the salary certified under Subsection (s) [(q)] to
1-42     the county in which the assigned judge serves, or, if the assigned
1-43     judge is a former or retired judge, to the assigned judge.
1-44           (u) [(t)]  In addition to all compensation and expenses
1-45     authorized by this section and other law, a judge who is assigned
1-46     to a court outside the county of the judge's residence is entitled
1-47     to receive $25 for each day or fraction of a day served.  The
1-48     county in which the judge served shall pay the additional
1-49     compensation from the county's general fund on certification by the
1-50     presiding judge.
1-51           (v) [(u)]  When required to attend an annual or special
1-52     meeting prescribed by this section, a judge is entitled to receive,
1-53     in addition to all other compensation allowed by law, actual and
1-54     necessary travel expenses incurred going to and returning from the
1-55     place of the meeting and actual and necessary expenses while
1-56     attending the meeting.  On certification by the presiding judge,
1-57     the judge's county of residence shall pay the expenses from the
1-58     county's general fund.
1-59           (w) [(v)]  The presiding judge may perform the acts necessary
1-60     to carry out the provisions of this section and to improve the
1-61     management of the statutory probate courts and the administration
1-62     of justice.
1-63           (x) [(w)]  Chapter 74 and Subchapter I, Chapter 75, do not
1-64     apply to the assignment under this section of statutory probate
 2-1     court judges.
 2-2           (y) [(x)]  To be eligible for assignment under this section a
 2-3     former or retired judge of a statutory probate court must:
 2-4                 (1)  not have been removed from office; and
 2-5                 (2)  certify under oath to the presiding judge, on a
 2-6     form prescribed by the state board of regional judges, that the
 2-7     judge did not resign from office after having received notice that
 2-8     formal proceedings by the State Commission on Judicial Conduct had
 2-9     been instituted as provided in Section 33.022 and before the final
2-10     disposition of the proceedings.
2-11           SECTION 2. This Act takes effect September 1, 2001.
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