C.S.S.B. 1551 78(R)    BILL ANALYSIS

C.S.S.B. 1551
By: Duncan
Judicial Affairs
Committee Report (Substituted)


Currently, several counties are experiencing backlogs in the courts within
their counties.  C.S.S.B. 1551 creates new district courts in certain
counties and makes certain jurisdictional changes in another county.  


It is the committee's opinion that this bill does not expressly grant any
additional rulemaking authority to a state officer, department, agency, or


C.S.S.B. 1551 amends the Government Code to create the 413th Judicial
District, composed of Johnson County, the 419th Judicial District,
composed of Travis County, and the 422nd Judicial District, composed of
Kaufman County.   

The bill amends the Government Code to create the 415th Judicial District
in Parker County and provides that the commissioners court of Parker
County may budget for and pay the judges of the 43rd and 415th Judicial
Districts an annual salary not to exceed $7,800 for performing judicial
and administrative duties.  The bill also provides that the voters of the
43rd Judicial District elect a district attorney who represents the state
in all cases before the 43rd and 415th district courts.   

The bill also amends the Government Code to create two new judicial
districts in Collin County. The 416th and 417th judicial districts are
created January 1, 2004, with the 417th District Court to give preference
to juvenile matters.  The bill creates an additional filing fee of $35 for
each case filed in a Collin County district court, with the proceeds to be
used to pay the judges of the 416th and 417th judicial districts an annual
salary in an amount equal to the total salary that would otherwise be paid
to those judges under Section 659.012 of the Government Code.  The
commissioners court may use any remaining money raised by these filing
fees to pay additional compensation to those judges as well as the
operating expenses of the 416th and 417th judicial districts.  The bill
also sets forth provisions for certain resolutions by the commissioners
court pertaining to these filing fees, and provides that unless abolished
under other provisions of the bill, the fees are abolished on January 1,

The bill also provides that a county court at law in Cameron County has
concurrent jurisdiction with the district court in civil cases in which
the amount in controversy exceeds $500 but does not exceed $10 million,
excluding interest.  


The provisions relating to Johnson County and Cameron County are effective
September 1, 2003. The provisions relating to Collin County are effective
January 1, 2004.  The provisions relating to Kaufman, Parker, and Travis
counties are effective September 1, 2005.  


The substitute creates two, not three judicial districts, in Collin
County.  The substitute also provides  that these courts are to be funded
by filing fees collected in the district courts of Collin County for a
certain period of time.  

The substitute also adds a provision relating to jurisdiction of a county
court at law in Cameron County and deletes provisions in the original
relating to the creation of judicial districts in Caldwell, McLennan and
Nacogdoches counties.