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  81R11183 KFF-D
 
  By: Kleinschmidt H.B. No. 3324
 
 
 
A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
 
AN ACT
  relating to the assignment of special judges in county courts in
  certain counties.
         BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
         SECTION 1.  Subchapter B, Chapter 26, Government Code, is
  amended by adding Section 26.0131 to read as follows:
         Sec. 26.0131.  ASSIGNMENT OF SPECIAL JUDGE IN CERTAIN
  COUNTIES. (a) This section applies only to a county in which there
  are no statutory county courts or statutory probate courts.
         (b)  If the county court judge is absent or for any reason
  unable to preside over the county court, the county judge, by
  written order of appointment, may appoint a special judge to hear
  criminal, juvenile, and civil cases. The order of appointment shall
  state the period of appointment.
         (c)  The county judge shall appoint the special judge from a
  list of attorneys approved as qualified by the commissioners court.
  To be eligible to be selected for the list, a person must be a
  licensed attorney in this state who has practiced law for more than
  five years.
         (d)  Before performing any duties as a special judge, a
  person appointed to serve as a special judge shall take and sign the
  oath of office required by the constitution for county judges.
         (e)  The county clerk shall enter a record of the order of
  appointment and the oath of office into the general minutes of the
  court.
         (f)  A special judge has the same authority as a county court
  judge when presiding over criminal, juvenile, or civil cases, but
  has no authority to preside over commissioners court meetings or
  over the general administration of county business that is within
  the jurisdiction of the commissioners court.
         (g)  The county shall compensate the special judge at a rate
  determined by the commissioners court before the special judge is
  appointed.
         (h)  During the period of appointment the special judge:
               (1)  may not practice law; and
               (2)  is subject to the Code of Judicial Conduct.
         SECTION 2.  This Act takes effect September 1, 2009.