82S10427 CAE-D
 
  By: Lewis H.B. No. 79
 
 
 
A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
 
AN ACT
  relating to fiscal and other matters necessary for implementation
  of the judiciary budget as enacted by H.B. No. 1, Acts of the 82nd
  Legislature, Regular Session, 2011, and to the operation and
  administration of, and practice and procedures in courts in, the
  judicial branch of state government.
         BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
  ARTICLE 1. FISCAL NECESSITY
         SECTION 1.01.  The legislature finds that this Act is
  necessary to the state to offset the effect of the approximately $30
  million budget reduction for the judiciary. The provisions of this
  Act are designed to allow the judiciary to operate with the least
  chance of harm to fulfilling the purpose of the judiciary and to
  allow the operation of the judiciary in the next state fiscal
  biennium in an efficient manner.
  ARTICLE 2.  APPELLATE COURT PROVISIONS
         SECTION 2.01.  Subsection (b), Section 22.002, Government
  Code, is amended to read as follows:
         (b)  The supreme court or, in vacation, a justice of the
  supreme court may issue a writ of mandamus to compel a statutory
  county court judge, a statutory probate court judge, or a district
  judge to proceed to trial and judgment in a case [agreeable to the
  principles and usages of law, returnable to the supreme court on or
  before the first day of the term, or during the session of the term,
  or before any justice of the supreme court as the nature of the case
  requires].
         SECTION 2.02.  (a)  Section 24.007, Property Code, is
  amended to read as follows:
         Sec. 24.007.  APPEAL.  (a)  [A final judgment of a county
  court in an eviction suit may not be appealed on the issue of
  possession unless the premises in question are being used for
  residential purposes only.] A judgment of a county court in an
  eviction suit may not under any circumstances be stayed pending
  appeal unless, within 10 days of the signing of the judgment, the
  appellant files a supersedeas bond in an amount set by the county
  court. In setting the supersedeas bond the county court shall
  provide protection for the appellee to the same extent as in any
  other appeal, taking into consideration the value of rents likely
  to accrue during appeal, damages which may occur as a result of the
  stay during appeal, and other damages or amounts as the court may
  deem appropriate.
         (b)  Notwithstanding any other law, an appeal may be taken
  from a final judgment of a county court, statutory county court,
  statutory probate court, or district court in an eviction suit.
         (b)  The change in law made by this section applies to an
  appeal of a final judgment rendered on or after the effective date
  of this section.  An appeal of a final judgment rendered before the
  effective date of this section is governed by the law in effect on
  the date the judgment was rendered, and the former law is continued
  in effect for that purpose.
  ARTICLE 3.  GENERAL PROVISIONS FOR DISTRICT COURTS
         SECTION 3.01.  Section 24.002, Government Code, is amended
  to read as follows:
         Sec. 24.002.  ASSIGNMENT OF JUDGE OR TRANSFER OF CASE ON
  RECUSAL [SUBSTITUTE JUDGES].  If a district judge determines on the
  judge's own motion that the judge should not sit in a case pending
  in the judge's court because the judge is disqualified or otherwise
  should recuse himself or herself, the judge shall enter a recusal
  order, request the presiding judge of that administrative judicial
  region to assign another judge to sit, and take no further action in
  the case except for good cause stated in the order in which the
  action is taken.  A change of venue is not necessary because of the
  disqualification of a district judge in a case or proceeding
  pending in the judge's [his] court[, but the judge shall
  immediately certify his disqualification to the governor. The
  governor shall designate a district judge of another district to
  exchange benches with the disqualified judge to try the case. The
  governor shall notify both judges of his designation, and the
  judges shall exchange benches. If the judges are prevented from
  exchanging benches, the parties or their counsels may agree on an
  attorney of the court for the trial of the case. The district judge
  or special judge shall certify to the governor the fact of a failure
  of the parties or their counsels to agree on an attorney, and the
  governor shall appoint a person legally qualified to act as judge in
  the trial of the case].
         SECTION 3.02.  Sections 24.003 and 24.007, Government Code,
  are amended to read as follows:
         Sec. 24.003.  TRANSFER OF CASES; EXCHANGE OF BENCHES
  [SUBSTITUTE JUDGES IN CERTAIN COUNTIES].  (a)  This section applies
  only to [civil cases in] counties with two [five] or more district
  courts.
         (b)  Unless provided otherwise by the local rules of
  administration, a district judge in the county may:
               (1)  transfer any civil or criminal case or proceeding
  on the court's docket to the docket of another district court in the
  county;
               (2)  hear and determine any case or proceeding pending
  in another district court in the county without having the case
  transferred;
               (3)  sit for another district court in the county and
  hear and determine any case or proceeding pending in that court;
               (4)  temporarily exchange benches with the judge of
  another district court in the county;
               (5)  try different cases in the same court at the same
  time; and
               (6)  occupy the judge's own courtroom or the courtroom
  of another district court in the county.
         (c)  If a district judge in the county is sick or otherwise
  absent, another district judge in the county may hold court for the
  judge.
         (d)  A district judge in the county may hear and determine
  any part or question of any case or proceeding pending in any of the
  district courts, and any other district judge may complete the
  hearing and render judgment in the case or proceeding. A district
  judge may hear and determine motions, including motions for new
  trial, petitions for injunction, applications for the appointment
  of a receiver, interventions, pleas in abatement, dilatory pleas,
  and all preliminary matters, questions, and proceedings, and may
  enter judgment or order on them in the court in which the case or
  proceeding is pending without transferring the case or proceeding.
  The district judge in whose court the matter is pending may proceed
  to hear, complete, and determine the matter, or all or any part of
  another matter, and render a final judgment. A district judge may
  issue a restraining order or injunction that is returnable to any
  other district court.
         (e)  A judgment or order shall be entered in the minutes of
  the court in which the case is pending.
         (f)  This section does not limit the powers of a district
  judge when acting for another judge by exchange of benches or
  otherwise  [If a district judge is disqualified in a case pending in
  his court and his disqualification is certified to the governor,
  the governor may require any other district judge in the county to
  exchange benches with the disqualified judge.
         [(c)     If a district judge is absent, sick, or disqualified,
  any of the district judges in the county may hold court for him or
  may transfer a pending case to the court of any other district judge
  in the county].
         Sec. 24.007.  JURISDICTION.  (a)  The district court has the
  jurisdiction provided by Article V, Section 8, of the Texas
  Constitution.
         (b)  A district court has original jurisdiction of a civil
  matter in which the amount in controversy is more than $500,
  exclusive of interest.
         SECTION 3.03.  Subsection (a), Section 24.012, Government
  Code, is amended to read as follows:
         (a)  Notwithstanding any other law, each [Each] district
  [and criminal district] court holds in each county in the judicial
  district [at least two] terms that commence on the first Mondays in
  January and July of [court] each year [in each county in the
  district].  To the extent of a conflict between this subsection and
  a specific provision relating to a particular judicial district,
  this section controls.
         SECTION 3.04.  Subchapter A, Chapter 24, Government Code, is
  amended by adding Sections 24.023, 24.024, 24.025, 24.026, 24.027,
  24.028, 24.029, 24.030, and 24.031 to read as follows:
         Sec. 24.023.  OBLIGATIONS; BONDS. (a)  When a case is
  transferred from one court to another, all processes, writs, bonds,
  recognizances, and other obligations issued by the transferring
  court are returnable to the court to which the case is transferred
  as if originally issued by that court.
         (b)  The obligees in all bonds and recognizances taken in and
  for a court from which a case is transferred, and all witnesses
  summoned to appear in a district court from which a case is
  transferred, are required to appear before the court to which the
  case is transferred as if the bond, recognizance, or summons was
  taken in or for that court.
         Sec. 24.024.  FILING AND DOCKETING CASES. In a county with
  two or more district courts, the district judges may adopt rules
  governing the filing and numbering of cases, the assignment of
  cases for trial, and the distribution of the work of the courts as
  in their discretion they consider necessary or desirable for the
  orderly dispatch of the business of the courts.
         Sec. 24.025.  SUPPLEMENTAL COMPENSATION. (a)  Unless
  otherwise provided by this subchapter, all district judges in a
  county are entitled to equal amounts of supplemental compensation
  from the county.
         (b)  A district judge is entitled to an amount of
  supplemental compensation for serving on the juvenile board of a
  county that is equal to the amount other judges serving on the
  juvenile board receive.
         Sec. 24.026.  APPOINTMENT OF INITIAL JUDGE. On the creation
  of a new judicial district, the initial vacancy in the office of
  district judge is filled in accordance with Section 28, Article V,
  Texas Constitution.
         Sec. 24.027.  GRAND AND PETIT JURORS. All grand and petit
  jurors selected in a county before a new district court is created
  or the composition of an existing district court is modified by an
  amendment to this chapter are considered to be selected for the new
  or modified district court, as applicable.
         Sec. 24.028.  CASES TRANSFERRED. If by an amendment to this
  chapter a county is removed from the composition of an existing
  judicial district and added to another existing or new judicial
  district, all cases and proceedings from that county that are
  pending in the district court of the judicial district from which
  the county was removed are transferred to the district court of the
  judicial district to which the county is added. The judge of each
  affected district court shall sign the proper orders in connection
  with the transfer.
         Sec. 24.029.  PROCESSES, WRITS, AND OTHER OBLIGATIONS REMAIN
  VALID. (a)  If by an amendment to this chapter a county is removed
  from the composition of an existing judicial district and added to
  another existing or new judicial district, or if an amendment to
  this chapter changes the time or place at which the terms of court
  are held, all processes, writs, bonds, recognizances, and other
  obligations issued from and made returnable to that court before
  the effective date of the transfer or other change are returnable as
  provided by this subsection. An obligation issued from the
  affected court is returnable to another district court in the
  county on the date that court directs, but may not be made
  returnable on a date that is earlier than the date on which the
  obligation was originally returnable. The obligations are legal
  and valid as if the obligations had been made returnable to the
  issuing court.
         (b)  The obligees in all appearance bonds and recognizances
  taken in and for a district court of a county before the effective
  date of an amendment to this chapter, and all witnesses summoned to
  appear before that district court under laws existing before the
  effective date of an amendment to this chapter, are required to
  appear at another district court in the county on the date that
  court directs, but may not be required to appear on a date that is
  earlier than the date on which the obligees or witnesses were
  originally required to appear.
         Sec. 24.030.  LOCATION OF COURT.  (a)  A district court
  shall sit in the county seat for a jury trial in a civil case. The
  commissioners court of the county may authorize a district court to
  sit in any municipality within the county to hear and determine
  nonjury trials in civil cases and to hear and determine motions,
  arguments, and other matters not heard before a jury in a civil case
  that is within the court's jurisdiction.
         (b)  The district clerk or the clerk's deputy serves as clerk
  of the court when a court sits in a municipality other than the
  municipality that is the county seat and may transfer:
               (1)  all necessary books, minutes, records, and papers
  to that municipality while the court is in session there; and
               (2)  the books, minutes, records, and papers back to
  the clerk's office in the county seat at the end of each session.
         (c)  If the commissioners court authorizes a district court
  to sit in a municipality other than the municipality that is the
  county seat, the commissioners court shall provide suitable
  facilities for the court in that municipality.
         Sec. 24.031.  COURT OFFICERS. The prosecuting attorney, the
  sheriff, the district clerk, the bailiffs, and the other officers
  serving the other district courts of the county shall serve in their
  respective capacities for the courts listed in this chapter.
         SECTION 3.05.  Subsection (g), Section 25.0362, Government
  Code, is amended to read as follows:
         (g)  In matters of concurrent jurisdiction, a judge of a
  county court at law and a judge of a district court in Cass County
  may transfer cases between the courts in the same manner that judges
  of district courts may transfer cases under Section 24.003
  [24.303].
         SECTION 3.06.  Subsection (w), Section 25.0732, Government
  Code, is amended to read as follows:
         (w)  In matters of concurrent jurisdiction, a judge of a
  statutory county court in El Paso County and a judge of a district
  court or another statutory county court in El Paso County may
  transfer cases between the courts in the same manner judges of
  district courts transfer cases under Section 24.003 [24.303].
         SECTION 3.07.  Subsection (c), Section 25.1672, Government
  Code, is amended to read as follows:
         (c)  In matters of concurrent jurisdiction, judges of the
  county courts at law and district courts in the county may exchange
  benches and courtrooms and may transfer cases between their dockets
  in the same manner that district court judges exchange benches and
  transfer cases under Section 24.003 [24.303].
         SECTION 3.08.  Subsection (v), Section 25.1862, Government
  Code, is amended to read as follows:
         (v)  In matters of concurrent jurisdiction, a judge of a
  county court at law and a judge of a district court or another
  county court at law may transfer cases between the courts in the
  same manner judges of district courts transfer cases under Section
  24.003 [24.303].
         SECTION 3.09.  (a)  If H.B. No. 2330, Acts of the 82nd
  Legislature, Regular Session, 2011, becomes law, Subsection (k),
  Section 25.2512, Government Code, as effective September 1, 2011,
  is amended to read as follows:
         (k)  A judge of a county court at law and a judge of a
  district court or another county court at law with concurrent
  jurisdiction may transfer cases between the courts in the same
  manner judges of district courts transfer cases under Section
  24.003 [24.303].
         (b)  If H.B. No. 2330, Acts of the 82nd Legislature, Regular
  Session, 2011, does not become law, this section has no effect.
         SECTION 3.10.  Subsection (k), Section 25.1932, Government
  Code, is amended to read as follows:
         (k)  Notwithstanding Section 74.121(b)(1), in matters of
  concurrent jurisdiction, the judge of a county court at law and the
  judges of the district courts in the county may exchange benches and
  courtrooms and may transfer cases between their dockets in the same
  manner that judges of district courts exchange benches and transfer
  cases under Section 24.003 [24.303].
         SECTION 3.11.  Subdivision (2), Subsection (b), Section
  74.121, Government Code, is amended to read as follows:
               (2)  Notwithstanding Subdivision (1), in matters of
  concurrent jurisdiction, a judge of a statutory county court in
  Midland County and a judge of a district court in Midland County may
  exchange benches and courtrooms with each other and may transfer
  cases between their dockets in the same manner that judges of
  district courts exchange benches and transfer cases under Section
  24.003 [24.303].
         SECTION 3.12.  Subsection (d), Section 659.012, Government
  Code, is amended to read as follows:
         (d)  Notwithstanding any other provision in this section or
  other law, in [In] a county with more than five district courts, a
  district judge who serves as a local administrative district judge
  under Section 74.091 is entitled to an annual salary from the state
  that is $5,000 more than the salary from the state to which the
  judge is otherwise entitled [under Subsection (a)(1)].
         SECTION 3.13.  The following provisions of the Government
  Code are repealed:
               (1)  Section 24.013;
               (2)  Section 24.302;
               (3)  Section 24.303;
               (4)  Section 24.304;
               (5)  Section 24.305;
               (6)  Section 24.307;
               (7)  Section 24.308;
               (8)  Section 24.309;
               (9)  Section 24.311;
               (10)  Section 24.312;
               (11)  Section 24.313;
               (12)  Section 24.314;
               (13)  Section 24.525(b);
               (14)  Section 24.526(b);
               (15)  Section 24.527(b);
               (16)  Sections 24.528(b) and (c); and
               (17)  Sections 24.529(b) and (c).
  ARTICLE 4.  STATUTORY COUNTY COURTS
         SECTION 4.01.  Section 25.0002, Government Code, is amended
  to read as follows:
         Sec. 25.0002.  DEFINITIONS [DEFINITION].  In this chapter:
               (1)  "Criminal law cases and proceedings" includes
  cases and proceedings for allegations of conduct punishable in part
  by confinement in the county jail not to exceed one year.
               (2)  "Family[, "family] law cases and proceedings"
  includes cases and proceedings under Titles 1, 2, 4, and 5, Family
  Code [involving adoptions, birth records, or removal of disability
  of minority or coverture; change of names of persons; child
  welfare, custody, support and reciprocal support, dependency,
  neglect, or delinquency; paternity; termination of parental
  rights; divorce and marriage annulment, including the adjustment of
  property rights, custody and support of minor children involved
  therein, temporary support pending final hearing, and every other
  matter incident to divorce or annulment proceedings; independent
  actions involving child support, custody of minors, and wife or
  child desertion; and independent actions involving controversies
  between parent and child, between parents, and between spouses].
               (3)  "Juvenile law cases and proceedings" includes all
  cases and proceedings brought under Title 3, Family Code.
               (4)  "Mental health cases and proceedings" includes all
  cases and proceedings brought under Chapter 462, Health and Safety
  Code, or Subtitle C or D, Title 7, Health and Safety Code.
         SECTION 4.02.  Subsection (c), Section 25.0003, Government
  Code, is amended to read as follows:
         (c)  In addition to other jurisdiction provided by law, a
  statutory county court exercising civil jurisdiction concurrent
  with the constitutional jurisdiction of the county court has
  concurrent jurisdiction with the district court in:
               (1)  civil cases in which the matter in controversy
  exceeds $500 but does not exceed $200,000 [$100,000], excluding
  interest, statutory or punitive damages and penalties, and
  attorney's fees and costs, as alleged on the face of the petition;
  and
               (2)  appeals of final rulings and decisions of the
  division of workers' compensation of the Texas Department of
  Insurance regarding workers' compensation claims, regardless of
  the amount in controversy.
         SECTION 4.03.  Section 25.0004, Government Code, is amended
  by adding Subsections (f) and (g) to read as follows:
         (f)  The judge of a statutory county court does not have
  general supervisory control or appellate review of the
  commissioners court.
         (g)  A judge of a statutory county court has the judicial
  immunity of a district judge.
         SECTION 4.04.  Section 25.0007, Government Code, is amended
  to read as follows:
         Sec. 25.0007.  JURIES; PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE.  (a)  The
  drawing of jury panels, selection of jurors, and practice in the
  statutory county courts must conform to that prescribed by law for
  county courts.
         (b)  Practice in a statutory county court is that prescribed
  by law for county courts, except that practice, procedure, rules of
  evidence, issuance of process and writs, and all other matters
  pertaining to the conduct of trials and hearings in the statutory
  county courts, other than the number of jurors, that involve those
  matters of concurrent jurisdiction with district courts are
  governed by the laws and rules pertaining to district courts.  This
  section does not affect local rules of administration adopted under
  Section 74.093.
         SECTION 4.05.  Section 25.0010, Government Code, is amended
  by amending Subsection (b) and adding Subsections (c), (d), (e),
  and (f) to read as follows:
         (b)  The county attorney or criminal district attorney [and
  sheriff] shall serve each statutory county court as required by
  law.
         (c)  A county sheriff shall in person or by deputy attend a
  statutory county court as required by the court.
         (d)  The county clerk shall serve as clerk of each statutory
  county court. The court officials shall perform the duties and
  responsibilities of their offices and are entitled to the
  compensation, fees, and allowances prescribed by law for those
  offices.
         (e)  The judge of a statutory county court may appoint the
  personnel necessary for the operation of the court, including a
  court coordinator or administrative assistant, if the
  commissioners court has approved the creation of the position.
         (f)  The commissioners court may authorize the employment of
  as many additional assistant district attorneys, assistant county
  attorneys, deputy sheriffs, and clerks as are necessary for a
  statutory county court.
         SECTION 4.06.  (a)  Section 25.0014, Government Code, is
  amended to read as follows:
         Sec. 25.0014.  QUALIFICATIONS OF JUDGE. The judge of a
  statutory county court must:
               (1)  be at least 25 years of age;
               (2)  be a United States citizen and have resided in the
  county for at least two years before election or appointment; and
               (3)  be a licensed attorney in this state who has
  practiced law or served as a judge of a court in this state, or both
  combined, for the four years preceding election or appointment,
  unless otherwise provided for by law.
         (b)  The change in law made by this Act to Section 25.0014,
  Government Code, does not apply to a person serving as a statutory
  county court judge immediately before the effective date of this
  Act who met the qualifications of Section 25.0014, Government Code,
  as it existed on that date, and the former law is continued in
  effect for determining that person's qualifications to serve as a
  statutory county court judge.
         SECTION 4.07.  (a)  Subchapter A, Chapter 25, Government
  Code, is amended by adding Sections 25.0016 and 25.00161 to read as
  follows:
         Sec. 25.0016.  TERMS OF COURT. The commissioners court, by
  order, shall set at least two terms a year for the statutory county
  court.
         Sec. 25.00161.  PRIVATE PRACTICE OF LAW.  The regular judge
  of a statutory county court shall diligently discharge the duties
  of the office on a full-time basis and may not engage in the private
  practice of law.
         (b)  Section 25.00161, Government Code, as added by this Act,
  applies only to a regular judge serving a term to which the judge is
  elected on or after the effective date of this Act.  A judge serving
  a term to which the judge was elected before the effective date of
  this Act is governed by the law in effect on the date the judge was
  elected, and that law is continued in effect for that purpose.
         SECTION 4.08.  Subsection (t), Section 25.0022, Government
  Code, is amended to read as follows:
         (t)  To be eligible for assignment under this section, a
  former or retired judge of a statutory probate court must:
               (1)  not have been removed from office;
               (2)  certify under oath to the presiding judge, on a
  form prescribed by the state board of regional judges, that:
                     (A)  the judge has not been publicly reprimanded
  or censured by the State Commission on Judicial Conduct; and
                     (B)  the judge:
                           (i)  did not resign or retire from office
  after the State Commission on Judicial Conduct notified the judge
  of the commencement of a full investigation into an allegation or
  appearance of misconduct or disability of the judge as provided in
  Section 33.022 and before the final disposition of that
  investigation; or
                           (ii)  if the judge did resign from office
  under circumstances described by Subparagraph (i), was not publicly
  reprimanded or censured as a result of the investigation;
               (3)  annually demonstrate that the judge has completed
  in the past state fiscal year the educational requirements for an
  active statutory probate court judge;
               (4)  have served as an active judge for at least 72 [96]
  months in a district, statutory probate, statutory county, or
  appellate court; and
               (5)  have developed substantial experience in the
  judge's area of specialty.
         SECTION 4.09.  Section 25.00231, Government Code, is amended
  by amending Subsection (c) and adding Subsection (e) to read as
  follows:
         (c)  In lieu of the bond required by Subsection (b), a county
  may elect to obtain insurance or to self-insure in the amount
  required by Subsection (b) against losses caused by the statutory
  probate court judge's gross negligence in performing the duties of
  office.
         (e)  This section does not apply to an assigned or visiting
  judge sitting by assignment in a statutory probate court.
         SECTION 4.10.  (a)  Subchapter B, Chapter 25, Government
  Code, is amended by adding Sections 25.0033, 25.0034, and 25.0035
  to read as follows:
         Sec. 25.0033.  QUALIFICATIONS OF JUDGE. The judge of a
  statutory probate court must:
               (1)  be at least 25 years of age;
               (2)  be a United States citizen and have resided in the
  county for at least two years before election or appointment; and
               (3)  be a licensed attorney in this state who has
  practiced law or served as a judge of a court in this state, or both
  combined, for the five years preceding election or appointment,
  unless otherwise provided for by law.
         Sec. 25.0034.  PRIVATE PRACTICE OF LAW.  The regular judge of
  a statutory probate court shall diligently discharge the duties of
  the office on a full-time basis and may not engage in the private
  practice of law.
         Sec. 25.0035.  TERMS OF COURT.  The commissioners court, by
  order, shall set at least two terms a year for the statutory probate
  court.
         (b)  Section 25.0033, Government Code, as added by this Act,
  does not apply to a person serving as a statutory probate court
  judge immediately before the effective date of this Act.  The
  qualifications of a person serving as a statutory probate court
  judge on the effective date of this Act are governed by the law in
  effect immediately before the effective date of this Act, and the
  former law is continued in effect for that purpose.
         SECTION 4.11.  Subsections (g) and (i), Section 25.0042,
  Government Code, are amended to read as follows:
         (g)  The district clerk serves as clerk of a county court at
  law in all cases arising under the Family Code and Section 23.001
  and shall establish a separate docket for a county court at law; the
  county clerk serves as clerk of the court in all other cases. [The
  commissioners court may employ as many deputy sheriffs and bailiffs
  as are necessary to serve the court.]
         (i)  [Practice in a county court at law is that prescribed by
  law for county courts, except that practice and procedure, rules of
  evidence, issuance of process and writs, and all other matters
  pertaining to the conduct of trials and hearings in a county court
  at law involving cases under the Family Code and Section 23.001 are
  governed by this section and the laws and rules pertaining to
  district courts and county courts.] If a case under the Family Code
  or Section 23.001 is tried before a jury, the jury shall be composed
  of 12 members.
         SECTION 4.12.  Subsection (h), Section 25.0102, Government
  Code, is amended to read as follows:
         (h)  [Practice in a county court at law is that prescribed by
  law for county courts, except that practice and procedure, rules of
  evidence, issuance of process and writs, and all other matters
  pertaining to the conduct of trials and hearings in the county court
  at law involving family law cases and proceedings shall be governed
  by this section and the laws and rules pertaining to district
  courts.] If a family law case or proceeding is tried before a jury,
  the jury shall be composed of 12 members; in all other cases the
  jury shall be composed of six members.
         SECTION 4.13.  Subsections (e) and (f), Section 25.0132,
  Government Code, are amended to read as follows:
         (e)  The district clerk serves as clerk of a county court at
  law in family law cases and proceedings, and the county clerk serves
  as clerk of the court in all other cases. The district clerk shall
  establish a separate docket for a county court at law. [The
  commissioners court may employ as many deputy sheriffs and bailiffs
  as are necessary to serve a county court at law.]
         (f)  [Practice in a county court at law is that prescribed by
  law for county courts, except that practice and procedure, rules of
  evidence, issuance of process and writs, and all other matters
  pertaining to the conduct of trials and hearings in a county court
  at law involving family law cases and proceedings is that
  prescribed by law for district courts and county courts.] If a
  family law case or proceeding is tried before a jury, the jury shall
  be composed of 12 members.
         SECTION 4.14.  Subsection (a), Section 25.0202, Government
  Code, is amended to read as follows:
         (a)  In addition to the jurisdiction provided by Section
  25.0003 and other law, a county court at law in Bosque County has
  concurrent jurisdiction with the district court in:
               (1)  family law cases and proceedings;
               (2)  civil cases in which the matter in controversy
  exceeds $500 but does not exceed $200,000 [$100,000], excluding
  interest, court costs, and attorney's fees; and
               (3)  contested probate matters under Section 4D [5(b)],
  Texas Probate Code.
         SECTION 4.15.  Subsection (b), Section 25.0212, Government
  Code, is amended to read as follows:
         (b)  A county court at law does not have [general supervisory
  control or appellate review of the commissioners court or]
  jurisdiction of:
               (1)  felony criminal matters;
               (2)  suits on behalf of the state to recover penalties
  or escheated property;
               (3)  misdemeanors involving official misconduct;
               (4)  contested elections; or
               (5)  civil cases in which the matter in controversy
  exceeds $200,000 [$100,000], excluding interest, statutory or
  punitive damages and penalties, and attorney's fees and costs, as
  alleged on the face of the petition.
         SECTION 4.16.  Subsections (a) and (k), Section 25.0222,
  Government Code, are amended to read as follows:
         (a)  In addition to the jurisdiction provided by Section
  25.0003 and other law, a statutory county court in Brazoria County
  has concurrent jurisdiction with the district court in:
               (1)  civil cases in which the matter in controversy
  exceeds $500 but does not exceed $200,000 [$100,000], excluding
  interest, statutory damages and penalties, and attorney's fees and
  costs, as alleged on the face of the petition;
               (2)  appeals of final rulings and decisions of the
  division of workers' compensation of the Texas Department of
  Insurance regarding workers' compensation claims, regardless of
  the amount in controversy; and
               (3)  family law cases and proceedings and juvenile
  jurisdiction under Section 23.001.
         (k)  The district clerk serves as clerk of the statutory
  county courts in cases instituted in the district courts in which
  the district courts and statutory county courts have concurrent
  jurisdiction, and the county clerk serves as clerk for all other
  cases. [The commissioners court may employ as many additional
  assistant criminal district attorneys, deputy sheriffs, and deputy
  clerks as are necessary to serve the statutory county courts.]
         SECTION 4.17.  Subsections (e) and (f), Section 25.0302,
  Government Code, are amended to read as follows:
         (e)  The district clerk serves as clerk of a county court at
  law in family law cases and proceedings, and the county clerk serves
  as clerk of the court in all other cases and proceedings. The
  district clerk shall establish a separate docket for a county court
  at law. [The commissioners court may employ the assistant district
  attorneys, deputy sheriffs, and bailiffs necessary to serve each
  county court at law.]
         (f)  [Practice in a county court at law is that prescribed by
  law for county courts, except that practice and procedure, rules of
  evidence, issuance of process and writs, and all other matters
  pertaining to the conduct of trials and hearings in a county court
  at law involving family law cases and proceedings shall be governed
  by this section and the laws and rules pertaining to district
  courts.] If a family law case or proceeding is tried before a jury,
  the jury shall be composed of 12 members.
         SECTION 4.18.  Subsection (b), Section 25.0312, Government
  Code, is amended to read as follows:
         (b)  A county court at law does not have [general supervisory
  control or appellate review of the commissioners court or]
  jurisdiction of:
               (1)  felony cases other than writs of habeas corpus;
               (2)  misdemeanors involving official misconduct;
               (3)  contested elections; or
               (4)  appeals from county court.
         SECTION 4.19.  Subsection (b), Section 25.0362, Government
  Code, is amended to read as follows:
         (b)  A county court at law does not have [general supervisory
  control or appellate review of the commissioners court or]
  jurisdiction of:
               (1)  misdemeanors involving official misconduct;
               (2)  suits on behalf of the state to recover penalties
  or escheated property;
               (3)  contested elections;
               (4)  suits in which the county is a party; or
               (5)  felony cases involving capital murder.
         SECTION 4.20.  Subsection (f), Section 25.0482, Government
  Code, is amended to read as follows:
         (f)  The district clerk serves as clerk of a county court at
  law for family law cases and proceedings, and the county clerk
  serves as clerk for all other cases and proceedings. [The district
  clerk shall establish a separate docket for a county court at law.
  The commissioners court may employ as many assistant county
  attorneys, deputy sheriffs, and bailiffs as are necessary to serve
  the county courts at law.]
         SECTION 4.21.  Subsection (g), Section 25.0632, Government
  Code, is amended to read as follows:
         (g)  [Jurors regularly impaneled for the week by the district
  courts of Denton County must include sufficient numbers to serve in
  the statutory county courts and statutory probate courts as well as
  the district courts. The jurors shall be made available by the
  district judge as necessary.] The jury in a statutory county court
  or statutory probate court in all civil or criminal matters is
  composed of 12 members, except that in misdemeanor criminal cases
  and any other case in which the court has jurisdiction that under
  general law would be concurrent with the county court, the jury is
  composed of six members.
         SECTION 4.22.  Subsection (r), Section 25.0732, Government
  Code, is amended to read as follows:
         (r)  Section [Sections] 25.0006(b) does [and 25.0007 do] not
  apply to County Court at Law No. 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, or 7 of El Paso
  County, Texas.
         SECTION 4.23.  Subsection (a), Section 25.0733, Government
  Code, is amended to read as follows:
         (a)  Sections 25.0732(q) and [25.0732(d), (h), (i), (j),
  (m), (n), (o), (p), (q),] (r)[, and (v)], relating to county courts
  at law in El Paso County, apply to a statutory probate court in El
  Paso County.
         SECTION 4.24.  Subsections (i) and (l), Section 25.0862,
  Government Code, are amended to read as follows:
         (i)  [The clerk of the statutory county courts and statutory
  probate court shall keep a separate docket for each court.]  The
  clerk shall tax the official court reporter's fees as costs in civil
  actions in the same manner as the fee is taxed in civil cases in the
  district courts.  [The district clerk serves as clerk of the county
  courts in a cause of action arising under the Family Code and an
  appeal of a final ruling or decision of the division of workers'
  compensation of the Texas Department of Insurance regarding
  workers' compensation claims, and the county clerk serves as clerk
  of the court in all other cases.]
         (l)  Each reporter may be made available when not engaged in
  proceedings in their court to report proceedings in all other
  courts. [Practice, appeals, and writs of error in a statutory
  county court are as prescribed by law for county courts and county
  courts at law.] Appeals and writs of error may be taken from
  judgments and orders of the County Courts Nos. 1, 2, and 3 of
  Galveston County and the judges, in civil and criminal cases, in the
  manner prescribed by law for appeals and writs of error. Appeals
  from interlocutory orders of the County Courts Nos. 1, 2, and 3
  appointing a receiver or overruling a motion to vacate or appoint a
  receiver may be taken and are governed by the laws relating to
  appeals from similar orders of district courts.
         SECTION 4.25.  Subsection (f), Section 25.0962, Government
  Code, is amended to read as follows:
         (f)  [Practice in a county court at law is that prescribed by
  law for county courts, except that practice and procedure, rules of
  evidence, issuance of process and writs, and all other matters
  pertaining to the conduct of trials and hearings in a county court
  at law involving cases in the court's concurrent jurisdiction with
  the district court shall be governed by this section and the laws
  and rules pertaining to district courts as well as county courts.]
  If a case in the court's concurrent jurisdiction with the district
  court is tried before a jury, the jury shall be composed of 12
  members.
         SECTION 4.26.  Subsection (a), Section 25.1033, Government
  Code, is amended to read as follows:
         (a)  A county criminal court at law in Harris County has the
  criminal jurisdiction provided by law for county courts, concurrent
  jurisdiction with civil statutory county courts for Harris County
  to hear appeals of the suspension of a driver's license and original
  proceedings regarding occupational driver's licenses, and
  appellate jurisdiction in appeals of criminal cases from justice
  courts and municipal courts in the county.
         SECTION 4.27.  Subsection (g), Section 25.1042, Government
  Code, is amended to read as follows:
         (g)  The criminal district attorney is entitled to the same
  fees prescribed by law for prosecutions in the county court. [The
  commissioners court may employ as many additional deputy sheriffs
  and clerks as are necessary to serve a county court at law.]
         SECTION 4.28.  Subsections (e) and (f), Section 25.1072,
  Government Code, are amended to read as follows:
         (e)  The county clerk serves as clerk of a county court at
  law, except that the district clerk serves as clerk of the court in
  family law cases and proceedings. The district clerk shall
  establish a separate docket for a county court at law. [The
  commissioners court may employ as many assistant district
  attorneys, deputy sheriffs, and bailiffs as are necessary to serve
  the court.]
         (f)  [Practice in a county court at law is that prescribed by
  law for county courts, except that practice and procedure, rules of
  evidence, issuance of process and writs, and other matters
  pertaining to the conduct of trials and hearings in a county court
  at law involving family law cases and proceedings are governed by
  this section and the laws and rules pertaining to district courts,
  as well as county courts.] If a family law case or proceeding is
  tried before a jury, the jury shall be composed of 12 members.
         SECTION 4.29.  Subsection (b), Section 25.1142, Government
  Code, is amended to read as follows:
         (b)  A county court at law does not have [general supervisory
  control or appellate review of the commissioners court or]
  jurisdiction of:
               (1)  civil cases in which the amount in controversy
  exceeds $200,000 [$100,000], excluding interest;
               (2)  felony jury trials;
               (3)  suits on behalf of the state to recover penalties
  or escheated property;
               (4)  misdemeanors involving official misconduct; or
               (5)  contested elections.
         SECTION 4.30.  Subsection (b), Section 25.1182, Government
  Code, is amended to read as follows:
         (b)  A county court at law's civil jurisdiction concurrent
  with the district court in civil cases is limited to cases in which
  the matter in controversy does not exceed $200,000.  A county court
  at law does not have [general supervisory control or appellate
  review of the commissioners court or] jurisdiction of:
               (1)  suits on behalf of this state to recover penalties
  or escheated property;
               (2)  felony cases involving capital murder;
               (3)  misdemeanors involving official misconduct; or
               (4)  contested elections.
         SECTION 4.31.  Subsection (b), Section 25.1312, Government
  Code, is amended to read as follows:
         (b)  A statutory county court in Kaufman County does not have
  [general supervisory control or appellate review of the
  commissioners court or] jurisdiction of:
               (1)  felony cases involving capital murder;
               (2)  suits on behalf of the state to recover penalties
  or escheated property;
               (3)  misdemeanors involving official misconduct; or
               (4)  contested elections.
         SECTION 4.32.  Subsection (m), Section 25.1542, Government
  Code, is amended to read as follows:
         (m)  [Practice and procedure and rules of evidence governing
  trials in and appeals from a county court apply to a county court at
  law, except that practice and procedure, rules of evidence,
  issuance of process and writs, and all other matters pertaining to
  the conduct of trials and hearings involving family law cases and
  proceedings shall be governed by this section and the laws and rules
  pertaining to district courts as well as county courts.]  In family
  law cases, juries shall be composed of 12 members.
         SECTION 4.33.  Subsection (g), Section 25.1652, Government
  Code, is amended to read as follows:
         (g)  [Practice in a county court at law is that prescribed by
  law for county courts, except that practice and procedure, rules of
  evidence, issuance of process and writs, and all other matters
  pertaining to the conduct of trials and hearings involving family
  law matters and proceedings shall be governed by this section and
  the laws and rules pertaining to district courts.] If a family law
  case is tried before a jury, the jury shall be composed of 12
  members.
         SECTION 4.34.  Subsection (i), Section 25.1762, Government
  Code, is amended to read as follows:
         (i)  [The laws governing the drawing, selection, service,
  and pay of jurors for county courts apply to a county court at law.
  Jurors regularly impaneled for a week by a district court may, at
  the request of the judge of a county court at law, be made available
  by the district judge in the numbers requested and shall serve for
  the week in the county court at law.] In matters of concurrent
  jurisdiction with the district court, if a party to a suit files a
  written request for a 12-member jury with the clerk of the county
  court at law at a reasonable time that is not later than 30 days
  before the date the suit is set for trial, the jury shall be
  composed of 12 members.
         SECTION 4.35.  Subsection (b), Section 25.1772, Government
  Code, is amended to read as follows:
         (b)  A county court at law does not have [general supervisory
  control or appellate review of the commissioners court or]
  jurisdiction of:
               (1)  suits on behalf of this state to recover penalties
  or escheated property;
               (2)  felony cases involving capital murder;
               (3)  misdemeanors involving official misconduct; or
               (4)  contested elections.
         SECTION 4.36.  Subsection (e), Section 25.1892, Government
  Code, is amended to read as follows:
         (e)  [The county attorney or district attorney serves a
  county court at law as required by the judge.] The district clerk
  serves as clerk of a county court at law in cases enumerated in
  Subsection (a)(2), and the county clerk serves as clerk in all other
  cases. The district clerk shall establish a separate docket for a
  county court at law. [The commissioners court may employ as many
  additional assistant county attorneys, deputy sheriffs, and clerks
  as are necessary to serve a county court at law.]
         SECTION 4.37.  Subsection (i), Section 25.1932, Government
  Code, is amended to read as follows:
         (i)  [Practice in a county court at law is that prescribed by
  law for county courts, except that practice and procedure, rules of
  evidence, issuance of process and writs, and all other matters
  pertaining to the conduct of trials and hearings in a county court
  at law involving cases in the court's concurrent jurisdiction with
  the district court shall be governed by this section and the laws
  and rules pertaining to district courts as well as county courts.]
  If a case in the court's concurrent jurisdiction with the district
  court is tried before a jury, the jury shall be composed of 12
  members.
         SECTION 4.38.  Subsection (b), Section 25.2012, Government
  Code, is amended to read as follows:
         (b)  A county court at law does not have [general supervisory
  control or appellate review of the commissioners court or]
  jurisdiction of:
               (1)  felony cases involving capital murder;
               (2)  suits on behalf of the state to recover penalties
  or escheated property;
               (3)  misdemeanors involving official misconduct; or
               (4)  contested elections.
         SECTION 4.39.  Subsection (n), Section 25.2142, Government
  Code, is amended to read as follows:
         (n)  [A special judge of a county court at law is entitled to
  receive for services actually performed the same amount of
  compensation as the regular judge.] A former judge sitting as a
  visiting judge of a county court at law is entitled to receive for
  services performed the same amount of compensation that the regular
  judge receives, less an amount equal to the pro rata annuity
  received from any state, district, or county retirement fund. An
  active judge sitting as a visiting judge of a county court at law is
  entitled to receive for services performed the same amount of
  compensation that the regular judge receives, less an amount equal
  to the pro rata compensation received from state or county funds as
  salary, including supplements.
         SECTION 4.40.  (a)  Subsection (b), Section 25.2222,
  Government Code, as amended by Chapter 22 (S.B. 124), Acts of the
  72nd Legislature, Regular Session, 1991, and Chapter 265 (H.B. 7),
  Acts of the 79th Legislature, Regular Session, 2005, is reenacted
  and amended to read as follows:
         (b)  A county court at law has concurrent jurisdiction with
  the district court in:
               (1)  civil cases in which the matter in controversy
  exceeds $500 and does not exceed $200,000 [$100,000], excluding
  mandatory damages and penalties, attorney's fees, interest, and
  costs;
               (2)  nonjury family law cases and proceedings;
               (3)  final rulings and decisions of the division of
  workers' compensation of the Texas Department of Insurance
  regarding workers' compensation claims, regardless of the amount in
  controversy;
               (4)  eminent domain proceedings, both statutory and
  inverse, regardless of the amount in controversy;
               (5)  suits to decide the issue of title to real or
  personal property;
               (6)  suits to recover damages for slander or defamation
  of character;
               (7)  suits for the enforcement of a lien on real
  property;
               (8)  suits for the forfeiture of a corporate charter;
               (9)  suits for the trial of the right to property valued
  at $200 or more that has been levied on under a writ of execution,
  sequestration, or attachment; and
               (10)  suits for the recovery of real property.
         (b)  Subsection (b), Section 25.2222, Government Code, as
  amended by Chapter 746 (H.B. 66), Acts of the 72nd Legislature,
  Regular Session, 1991, is repealed as duplicative of Subsection
  (b), Section 25.2222, Government Code, as amended by Subsection (a)
  of this section.
         SECTION 4.41.  Subsection (a), Section 25.2232, Government
  Code, is amended to read as follows:
         (a)  In addition to the jurisdiction provided by Section
  25.0003 and other law, a county court at law in Taylor County has:
               (1)  concurrent jurisdiction with the county court in
  the trial of cases involving insanity and approval of applications
  for admission to state hospitals and special schools if admission
  is by application; and
               (2)  concurrent jurisdiction with the district court in
  civil cases in which the matter in controversy exceeds $500 but does
  not exceed $200,000 [$100,000], excluding interest.
         SECTION 4.42.  Subsection (i), Section 25.2352, Government
  Code, is amended to read as follows:
         (i)  [Practice in a county court at law is that prescribed by
  law for county courts, except that practice and procedure, rules of
  evidence, issuance of process and writs, and all other matters
  pertaining to the conduct of trials and hearings involving family
  law cases and proceedings shall be governed by this section and the
  laws and rules pertaining to district courts.] If a family law case
  is tried before a jury, the jury shall be composed of 12 members.
         SECTION 4.43.  Subsection (i), Section 25.2382, Government
  Code, is amended to read as follows:
         (i)  [Practice in a county court at law is that prescribed by
  law for county courts, except that practice and procedure, rules of
  evidence, issuance of process and writs, and all other matters
  pertaining to the conduct of trials and hearings in a county court
  at law involving matters enumerated in Subsection (a)(2)(B) or (C)
  shall be governed by this section and the laws and rules pertaining
  to district courts.] If a family law case [in Subsection (a)(2)(B)
  or (C)] is tried before a jury, the jury shall be composed of 12
  members.
         SECTION 4.44.  (a)  Subsection (a), Section 25.2421,
  Government Code, is amended to read as follows:
         (a)  Webb County has the following statutory county courts:
               (1)  the County Court at Law No. 1 of Webb County; [and]
               (2)  the County Court at Law No. 2 of Webb County; and
               (3)  the County Court at Law No. 3 of Webb County.
         (b)  Notwithstanding Subsection (a), Section 25.2421,
  Government Code, as amended by this Act, the County Court at Law No.
  3 of Webb County is created January 1, 2031, or on an earlier date
  determined by the Commissioners Court of Webb County by an order
  entered in its minutes.
         SECTION 4.45.  Subsections (g) and (h), Section 25.2422,
  Government Code, are amended to read as follows:
         (g)  The district attorney of the 49th Judicial District
  serves as district attorney of a county court at law, except that
  the county attorney of Webb County prosecutes all juvenile, child
  welfare, mental health, and other civil cases in which the state is
  a party. The district clerk serves as clerk of a county court at law
  in the cases enumerated in Subsection (a)(2), and the county clerk
  serves as clerk of a county court at law in all other cases.  [The
  commissioners court may employ as many deputy sheriffs and bailiffs
  as are necessary to serve the court.]
         (h)  [Practice and procedure, rules of evidence, issuance of
  process and writs, and all other matters pertaining to the conduct
  of trials and hearings in a county court at law involving those
  matters of concurrent jurisdiction enumerated in Subsection
  (a)(2)(B) or (C) are governed by this section and the laws and rules
  pertaining to district courts, as well as county courts.] If a
  family law case [enumerated in Subsection (a)(2)(B) or (C)] is
  tried before a jury, the jury shall be composed of 12 members.
         SECTION 4.46.  Subsections (d) and (k), Section 25.2452,
  Government Code, are amended to read as follows:
         (d)  A county court at law does not have jurisdiction of:
               (1)  a case under:
                     (A)  the Alcoholic Beverage Code;
                     (B)  the Election Code; or
                     (C)  the Tax Code;
               (2)  a matter over which the district court has
  exclusive jurisdiction; or
               (3)  a civil case, other than a case under the Family
  Code or the Texas Probate Code, in which the amount in controversy
  is:
                     (A)  less than the maximum amount in controversy
  allowed the justice court in Wichita County; or
                     (B)  more than $200,000 [$100,000], exclusive of
  punitive or exemplary damages, penalties, interest, costs, and
  attorney's fees.
         (k)  Except as otherwise required by law, if a case is tried
  before a jury, the jury shall be composed of six members and may
  render verdicts by a five to one margin in civil cases and a
  unanimous verdict in criminal cases. [The laws governing the
  drawing, selection, service, and pay of jurors for county courts
  apply to the county courts at law. Jurors regularly impaneled for a
  week by a district court may, on request of the county judge
  exercising the jurisdiction provided by this section or a county
  court at law judge, be made available and shall serve for the week
  in the county court or county court at law.]
         SECTION 4.47.  Subsection (h), Section 25.2462, Government
  Code, is amended to read as follows:
         (h)  [The county attorney and the county sheriff shall attend
  a county court at law as required by the judge.] The district clerk
  serves as clerk of a county court at law in family law cases and
  proceedings, and the county clerk serves as clerk of the court in
  all other cases and proceedings.
         SECTION 4.48.  Subsection (i), Section 25.2482, Government
  Code, is amended to read as follows:
         (i)  [The county attorney and the county sheriff shall attend
  a county court at law as required by the judge.] The district clerk
  serves as clerk of a county court at law in family law cases and
  proceedings, and the county clerk serves as clerk of the court in
  all other cases and proceedings.
         SECTION 4.49.  If H.B. No. 2330, Acts of the 82nd
  Legislature, Regular Session, 2011, does not become law, Subsection
  (a), Section 25.2512, Government Code, as amended by Chapters 518
  (S.B. 1491) and 746 (H.B. 66), Acts of the 72nd Legislature, Regular
  Session, 1991, is reenacted and amended to read as follows:
         (a)  In addition to the jurisdiction provided by Section
  25.0003 and other law, a county court at law in Wise County has:
               (1)  concurrent with the county court, the probate
  jurisdiction provided by general law for county courts; and
               (2)  concurrent jurisdiction with the district court
  in:
                     (A)  eminent domain cases;
                     (B)  civil cases in which the amount in
  controversy exceeds $500, but does not exceed $200,000 [$100,000],
  excluding interest and attorney's fees; and
                     (C)  family law cases and proceedings.
         SECTION 4.50.  If H.B. No. 2330, Acts of the 82nd
  Legislature, Regular Session, 2011, becomes law, Subsection (e),
  Section 25.2512, Government Code, as effective September 1, 2011,
  is amended to read as follows:
         (e)  In addition to the qualifications required by Section
  25.0014, a regular judge of a county court at law must have the
  qualifications of a district judge as required by Section 7,
  Article V, Texas Constitution. [A special judge of a county court
  at law with the same qualifications as the regular judge may be
  appointed in the manner provided by law for the appointment of a
  special county judge. A special judge is entitled to the same rate
  of compensation as the regular judge.]
         SECTION 4.51.  (a)  The following provisions of the
  Government Code are repealed:
               (1)  Subsections (b), (d), (f), and (j), Section
  25.0042;
               (2)  Subsections (b), (f), (g), and (h), Section
  25.0052;
               (3)  Subsections (b), (d), (f), and (i), Section
  25.0102;
               (4)  Subsections (d), (g), and (h), Section 25.0132;
               (5)  Subsections (c) and (e), Section 25.0152;
               (6)  Subsections (b), (f), (g), (h), and (i), Section
  25.0162;
               (7)  Subsections (d), (k), (l), (m), (n), (o), (q),
  (s), and (t), Section 25.0172;
               (8)  Subsections (c), (d), (h), (i), and (k), Section
  25.0173;
               (9)  Subsections (c), (d), and (g), Section 25.0202;
               (10)  Subsections (c), (e), and (g), Section 25.0212;
               (11)  Subsections (d), (e), (i), (j), and (n), Section
  25.0222;
               (12)  Subsections (b), (d), (f), (h), and (i), Section
  25.0232;
               (13)  Subsections (b), (c), and (e), Section 25.0272;
               (14)  Subsections (b), (c), (g), (h), and (i), Section
  25.0292;
               (15)  Subsections (b), (d), and (g), Section 25.0302;
               (16)  Subsections (c), (e), and (j), Section 25.0312;
               (17)  Subsections (e), (g), (i), (k), (l), and (m),
  Section 25.0332;
               (18)  Subsection (c), Section 25.0362;
               (19)  Subsections (b), (d), (f), (i), (j), and (k),
  Section 25.0392;
               (20)  Subsections (b), (c), and (d), Section 25.0452;
               (21)  Subsections (a), (c), (d), and (e), Section
  25.0453;
               (22)  Subsections (b), (d), (e), (g), and (h), Section
  25.0482;
               (23)  Subsections (a), (b), (d), (g), and (h), Section
  25.0512;
               (24)  Subsections (b), (d), (f), and (g), Section
  25.0522;
               (25)  Subsections (b), (h), (i), (j), and (k), Section
  25.0592;
               (26)  Subsections (d), (f), (g), (h), (i), and (j),
  Section 25.0593;
               (27)  Subsections (d), (e), (g), (h), (i), (j), and
  (k), Section 25.0594;
               (28)  Subsections (c), (d), (f), and (g), Section
  25.0595;
               (29)  Section 25.0596;
               (30)  Subsections (a), (b), and (d), Section 25.0632;
               (31)  Subsections (b), (g), (h), (j), (k), and (l),
  Section 25.0702;
               (32)  Subsections (b), (d), (f), (j), and (k), Section
  25.0722;
               (33)  Subsections (d), (g), (h), (i), (j), (m), (n),
  (o), (p), (s), and (v), Section 25.0732;
               (34)  Subsections (c), (d), and (f), Section 25.0733;
               (35)  Subsection (b), Section 25.0742;
               (36)  Subsections (d), (f), (h), (j), and (l), Section
  25.0812;
               (37)  Subsections (f) and (j), Section 25.0862;
               (38)  Subsections (e), (f), and (i), Section 25.0932;
               (39)  Subsections (c), (f), (g), (j), and (k), Section
  25.0942;
               (40)  Subsections (d), (e), and (g), Section 25.0962;
               (41)  Subsections (d), (e), (g), (h), and (k), Section
  25.1032;
               (42)  Subsections (d), (e), (f), (m), and (o), Section
  25.1033;
               (43)  Subsections (c), (h), (k), and (l), Section
  25.1034;
               (44)  Subsections (b), (d), (f), (h), and (i), Section
  25.1042;
               (45)  Subsections (b), (d), (g), and (h), Section
  25.1072;
               (46)  Subsections (e), (f), (l), and (o), Section
  25.1092;
               (47)  Subsections (d), (e), (h), (i), (j), and (l),
  Section 25.1102;
               (48)  Section 25.1103;
               (49)  Subsections (b), (c), (f), and (k), Section
  25.1112;
               (50)  Subsections (f), (g), (h), (j), (l), (m), and
  (p), Section 25.1132;
               (51)  Subsections (c), (e), and (g), Section 25.1142;
               (52)  Subsections (b), (e), (f), (h), and (i), Section
  25.1152;
               (53)  Subsections (c), (e), and (h), Section 25.1182;
               (54)  Subsections (c), (g), and (i), Section 25.1252;
               (55)  Subsections (b), (d), (f), (h), and (i), Section
  25.1282;
               (56)  Subsections (d), (e), (i), (k), (l), and (n),
  Section 25.1312;
               (57)  Subsections (d), (e), (f), (i), and (j), Section
  25.1322;
               (58)  Subsections (d) and (h), Section 25.1352;
               (59)  Subsections (e), (g), and (i), Section 25.1392;
               (60)  Subsections (b), (c), (e), (h), (i), and (k),
  Section 25.1412;
               (61)  Subsections (d), (g), (h), (l), and (m), Section
  25.1482;
               (62)  Subsections (f), (i), (k), and (n), Section
  25.1542;
               (63)  Subsections (e), (f), and (g), Section 25.1572;
               (64)  Subsections (d), (f), and (h), Section 25.1652;
               (65)  Subsections (b) and (f), Section 25.1672;
               (66)  Subsections (b), (c), and (g), Section 25.1722;
               (67)  Subsections (d), (e), (f), (h), and (i), Section
  25.1732;
               (68)  Subsections (b), (e), (f), and (h), Section
  25.1762;
               (69)  Subsections (c), (e), and (h), Section 25.1772;
               (70)  Subsections (e), (f), (h), (i), and (j), Section
  25.1792;
               (71)  Subsections (c), (h), (i), (j), (k), (l), and
  (q), Section 25.1802;
               (72)  Subsections (b), (d), and (j), Section 25.1832;
               (73)  Subsections (e), (f), and (i), Section 25.1852;
               (74)  Subsections (c), (f), (h), (i), (j), (m), (n),
  (p), (q), and (u), Section 25.1862;
               (75)  Subsection (d), Section 25.1892;
               (76)  Subsections (e), (g), (i), (j), and (k), Section
  25.1902;
               (77)  Subsections (b), (c), (f), (h), and (j), Section
  25.1932;
               (78)  Subsections (b), (d), (f), (h), and (j), Section
  25.1972;
               (79)  Subsections (d), (e), (i), (k), (l), and (n),
  Section 25.2012;
               (80)  Subsections (c), (e), and (h), Section 25.2032;
               (81)  Subsections (c), (e), (f), (h), and (i), Section
  25.2072;
               (82)  Subsections (c), (e), (i), (r), (t), and (u),
  Section 25.2142;
               (83)  Subsections (d), (f), (h), (j), and (k), Section
  25.2162;
               (84)  Subsections (c), (g), (h), (i), (k), and (n),
  Section 25.2222;
               (85)  Subsections (c), (e), (g), and (h), Section
  25.2223;
               (86)  Subsections (b), (c), (f), (g), (i), and (j),
  Section 25.2224;
               (87)  Subsections (b), (e), (f), and (g), Section
  25.2232;
               (88)  Subsections (b), (d), (f), (g), (i), and (j),
  Section 25.2282;
               (89)  Subsections (b), (e), (i), (k), and (l), Section
  25.2292;
               (90)  Subsections (e), (f), (g), (k), and (l), Section
  25.2293;
               (91)  Subsections (b), (d), (f), (g), and (j), Section
  25.2352;
               (92)  Subsections (c), (e), and (h), Section 25.2362;
               (93)  Subsections (c), (f), (g), (h), and (i), Section
  25.2372;
               (94)  Subsections (b), (d), (f), and (j), Section
  25.2382;
               (95)  Subsections (b), (d), (f), and (j), Section
  25.2392;
               (96)  Subsections (b), (d), (f), (i), and (k), Section
  25.2412;
               (97)  Subsections (b), (d), (f), (i), and (j), Section
  25.2422;
               (98)  Subsections (f), (h), and (j), Section 25.2452;
               (99)  Subsections (c), (d), (e), (g), (i), and (j),
  Section 25.2462;
               (100)  Subsections (d), (e), (f), (h), (j), and (k),
  Section 25.2482; and
               (101)  Subsections (b) and (i), Section 25.2512.
         (b)  If H.B. No. 2330, Acts of the 82nd Legislature, Regular
  Session, 2011, does not become law, Subsections (e) and (h),
  Section 25.2512, Government Code, are repealed.  If H.B. No. 2330
  becomes law, this subsection has no effect.
         (c)  The repeal of Subsection (d), Section 25.1042, and
  Subsection (d), Section 25.2162, Government Code, apply only to a
  regular judge serving a term for which the judge is elected on or
  after the effective date of this Act. A judge serving a term for
  which the judge was elected before the effective date of this Act is
  governed by the law in effect on the date the judge was elected, and
  that law is continued in effect for that purpose.
  ARTICLE 5.  PROVISIONS RELATING TO JUSTICE AND SMALL CLAIMS COURTS
         SECTION 5.01.  (a)  Subsection (a), Section 27.005,
  Government Code, is amended to read as follows:
         (a)  For purposes of removal under Chapter 87, Local
  Government Code, "incompetency" in the case of a justice of the
  peace includes the failure of the justice to successfully complete:
               (1)  within one year after the date the justice is first
  elected, an 80-hour course in the performance of the justice's
  duties; and
               (2)  each following year, a 20-hour course in the
  performance of the justice's duties, including not less than 10
  hours of instruction regarding substantive, procedural, and
  evidentiary law in civil matters.
         (b)  Subsection (a), Section 27.005, Government Code, as
  amended by this section, applies to a justice of the peace serving
  on or after the effective date of this article, regardless of the
  date the justice was elected or appointed.
         SECTION 5.02.  Subchapter C, Chapter 27, Government Code, is
  amended by adding Section 27.060 to read as follows:
         Sec. 27.060.  SMALL CLAIMS. (a)  A justice court shall
  conduct proceedings in a small claims case, as that term is defined
  by the supreme court, in accordance with rules of civil procedure
  promulgated by the supreme court to ensure the fair, expeditious,
  and inexpensive resolution of small claims cases.
         (b)  Except as provided by Subsection (c), rules of the
  supreme court must provide that:
               (1)  if both parties appear, the judge shall proceed to
  hear the case;
               (2)  formal pleadings other than the statement are not
  required;
               (3)  the judge shall hear the testimony of the parties
  and the witnesses that the parties produce and shall consider the
  other evidence offered;
               (4)  the hearing is informal, with the sole objective
  being to dispense speedy justice between the parties;
               (5)  discovery is limited to that considered
  appropriate and permitted by the judge; and
               (6)  the judge shall develop the facts of the case, and
  for that purpose may question a witness or party and may summon any
  party to appear as a witness as the judge considers necessary to a
  correct judgment and speedy disposition of the case.
         (c)  The rules of the supreme court must provide specific
  procedures for an action by:
               (1)  an assignee of a claim or other person seeking to
  bring an action on an assigned claim;
               (2)  a person primarily engaged in the business of
  lending money at interest; or
               (3)  a collection agency or collection agent.
         SECTION 5.03.  Subchapter C, Chapter 27, Government Code, is
  amended by adding Section 27.061 to read as follows:
         Sec. 27.061.  RULES OF ADMINISTRATION.  The justices of the
  peace in each county shall, by majority vote, adopt local rules of
  administration.
         SECTION 5.04.  Subchapter E, Chapter 15, Civil Practice and
  Remedies Code, is amended by adding Section 15.0821 to read as
  follows:
         Sec. 15.0821.  ADMINISTRATIVE RULES FOR TRANSFER.  The
  justices of the peace in each county shall, by majority vote, adopt
  local rules of administration regarding the transfer of a pending
  case from one precinct to a different precinct.
         SECTION 5.05.  (a)  If S.B. No. 1200, Acts of the 82nd
  Legislature, Regular Session, 2011, does not become law, Subsection
  (a), Article 4.12, Code of Criminal Procedure, is amended to read as
  follows:
         (a)  Except as otherwise provided by this article, a
  misdemeanor case to be tried in justice court shall be tried:
               (1)  in the precinct in which the offense was
  committed;
               (2)  in the precinct in which the defendant or any of
  the defendants reside; [or]
               (3)  with the written consent of the state and each
  defendant or the defendant's attorney, in any other precinct within
  the county; or
               (4)  in any precinct in the county that is adjacent to
  the precinct in which the offense was committed if the offense was
  committed in a county with a population of 3.3 million or more.
         (b)  Article 4.12, Code of Criminal Procedure, is amended by
  adding Subsection (e) to read as follows:
         (e)  The justices of the peace in each county shall, by
  majority vote, adopt local rules of administration regarding the
  transfer of a pending misdemeanor case from one precinct to a
  different precinct.
         (c)  If S.B. No. 1200, Acts of the 82nd Legislature, Regular
  Session, 2011, does not become law, Subsection (a), Article 4.12,
  Code of Criminal Procedure, as amended by this article, applies
  only to an offense committed on or after the effective date of this
  Act. An offense committed before the effective date of this Act is
  covered by the law in effect when the offense was committed, and the
  former law is continued in effect for that purpose. For purposes of
  this subsection, an offense was committed before the effective date
  of this Act if any element of the offense occurred before that date.
         (d)  If S.B. No. 1200, Acts of the 82nd Legislature, Regular
  Session, 2011, becomes law, Subsections (a) and (c) of this section
  have no effect.
         SECTION 5.06.  (a)  Chapter 28, Government Code, is
  repealed.
         (b)  On the effective date of this section, each small claims
  court under Chapter 28, Government Code, is abolished.
         SECTION 5.07.  Not later than May 1, 2013, the Texas Supreme
  Court shall promulgate:
               (1)  rules to define cases that constitute small claims
  cases;
               (2)  rules of civil procedure applicable to small
  claims cases as required by Section 27.060, Government Code, as
  added by this article; and
               (3)  rules for eviction proceedings.
         SECTION 5.08.  (a)  Immediately before the date the small
  claims court in a county is abolished in accordance with this
  article, the justice of the peace sitting as judge of that court
  shall transfer all cases pending in the court to a justice court in
  the county.
         (b)  When a case is transferred as provided by Subsection (a)
  of this section, all processes, writs, bonds, recognizances, or
  other obligations issued from the transferring court are returnable
  to the court to which the case is transferred as if originally
  issued by that court. The obligees on all bonds and recognizances
  taken in and for the transferring court and all witnesses summoned
  to appear in the transferring court are required to appear before
  the court to which the case is transferred as if originally required
  to appear before that court.
         SECTION 5.09.  Sections 5.02 and 5.06 of this article take
  effect May 1, 2013.
  ARTICLE 6.  ASSOCIATE JUDGES
         SECTION 6.01.  Subtitle D, Title 2, Government Code, is
  amended by adding Chapter 54A to read as follows:
  CHAPTER 54A.  ASSOCIATE JUDGES
  SUBCHAPTER A. CRIMINAL ASSOCIATE JUDGES
         Sec. 54A.001.  APPLICABILITY. This subchapter applies to a
  district court or a statutory county court that hears criminal
  cases.
         Sec. 54A.002.  APPOINTMENT. (a)  A judge of a court subject
  to this subchapter may appoint a full-time or part-time associate
  judge to perform the duties authorized by this subchapter if the
  commissioners court of the county in which the court has
  jurisdiction has authorized the creation of an associate judge
  position.
         (b)  If a court has jurisdiction in more than one county, an
  associate judge appointed by that court may serve only in a county
  in which the commissioners court has authorized the appointment.
         (c)  If more than one court in a county is subject to this
  subchapter, the commissioners court may authorize the appointment
  of an associate judge for each court or may authorize one or more
  associate judges to share service with two or more courts.
         (d)  If an associate judge serves more than one court, the
  associate judge's appointment must be made as established by local
  rule, but in no event by less than a vote of two-thirds of the judges
  under whom the associate judge serves.
         Sec. 54A.003.  QUALIFICATIONS. To qualify for appointment
  as an associate judge under this subchapter, a person must:
               (1)  be a resident of this state and one of the counties
  the person will serve;
               (2)  have been licensed to practice law in this state
  for at least four years;
               (3)  not have been removed from office by impeachment,
  by the supreme court, by the governor on address to the legislature,
  by a tribunal reviewing a recommendation of the State Commission on
  Judicial Conduct, or by the legislature's abolition of the judge's
  court; and
               (4)  not have resigned from office after having
  received notice that formal proceedings by the State Commission on
  Judicial Conduct had been instituted as provided by Section 33.022
  and before final disposition of the proceedings.
         Sec. 54A.004.  COMPENSATION. (a)  An associate judge shall
  be paid a salary determined by the commissioners court of the county
  in which the associate judge serves.
         (b)  If an associate judge serves in more than one county,
  the associate judge shall be paid a salary as determined by
  agreement of the commissioners courts of the counties in which the
  associate judge serves.
         (c)  The associate judge's salary is paid from the county
  fund available for payment of officers' salaries.
         Sec. 54A.005.  TERMINATION. (a)  An associate judge who
  serves a single court serves at the will of the judge of that court.
         (b)  The employment of an associate judge who serves more
  than two courts may only be terminated by a majority vote of all the
  judges of the courts the associate judge serves.
         (c)  The employment of an associate judge who serves two
  courts may be terminated by either of the judges of the courts the
  associate judge serves.
         (d)  To terminate an associate judge's employment, the
  appropriate judges must sign a written order of termination. The
  order must state:
               (1)  the associate judge's name and state bar
  identification number;
               (2)  each court ordering termination; and
               (3)  the date the associate judge's employment ends.
         Sec. 54A.006.  PROCEEDINGS THAT MAY BE REFERRED. (a)  A
  judge may refer to an associate judge any matter arising out of a
  criminal case involving:
               (1)  a negotiated plea of guilty or no contest before
  the court;
               (2)  a bond forfeiture;
               (3)  a pretrial motion;
               (4)  a writ of habeas corpus;
               (5)  an examining trial;
               (6)  an occupational driver's license;
               (7)  an appeal of an administrative driver's license
  revocation hearing;
               (8)  a civil commitment matter under Subtitle C, Title
  7, Health and Safety Code;
               (9)  setting, adjusting, or revoking bond; and
               (10)  any other matter the judge considers necessary
  and proper.
         (b)  An associate judge may accept an agreed plea of guilty
  or no contest from a defendant charged with misdemeanor, felony, or
  both misdemeanor and felony offenses and may assess punishment if a
  plea agreement is announced on the record between the defendant and
  the state.
         (c)  An associate judge has all of the powers of a magistrate
  under the laws of this state and may administer an oath for any
  purpose.
         (d)  An associate judge may select a jury. Except as
  provided in Subsection (b), an associate judge may not preside over
  a trial on the merits, whether or not the trial is before a jury.
         Sec. 54A.007.  ORDER OF REFERRAL. (a)  To refer one or more
  cases to an associate judge, a judge must issue a written order of
  referral that specifies the associate judge's duties.
         (b)  An order of referral may:
               (1)  limit the powers of the associate judge and direct
  the associate judge to report only on specific issues, do
  particular acts, or receive and report on evidence only;
               (2)  set the time and place for the hearing;
               (3)  prescribe a closing date for the hearing;
               (4)  provide a date for filing the associate judge's
  findings;
               (5)  designate proceedings for more than one case over
  which the associate judge shall preside;
               (6)  direct the associate judge to call the court's
  docket; and
               (7)  set forth general powers and limitations or
  authority of the associate judge applicable to any case referred.
         Sec. 54A.008.  POWERS. (a)  Except as limited by an order of
  referral, an associate judge to whom a case is referred may:
               (1)  conduct hearings;
               (2)  hear evidence;
               (3)  compel production of relevant evidence;
               (4)  rule on the admissibility of evidence;
               (5)  issue summons for the appearance of witnesses;
               (6)  examine a witness;
               (7)  swear a witness for a hearing;
               (8)  make findings of fact on evidence;
               (9)  formulate conclusions of law;
               (10)  rule on pretrial motions;
               (11)  recommend the rulings, orders, or judgment to be
  made in a case;
               (12)  regulate proceedings in a hearing;
               (13)  order the attachment of a witness or party who
  fails to obey a subpoena;
               (14)  accept a plea of guilty from a defendant charged
  with misdemeanor, felony, or both misdemeanor and felony offenses;
               (15)  select a jury; and
               (16)  take action as necessary and proper for the
  efficient performance of the duties required by the order of
  referral.
         (b)  An associate judge may not enter a ruling on any issue of
  law or fact if that ruling could result in dismissal or require
  dismissal of a pending criminal prosecution, but the associate
  judge may make findings, conclusions, and recommendations on those
  issues.
         (c)  Except as limited by an order of referral, an associate
  judge who is appointed by a district or statutory county court judge
  and to whom a case is referred may accept a plea of guilty or nolo
  contendere in a misdemeanor case for a county criminal court. The
  associate judge shall forward any fee or fine collected for the
  misdemeanor offense to the county clerk.
         (d)  An associate judge may, in the interest of justice,
  refer a case back to the referring court regardless of whether a
  timely objection to the associate judge hearing the trial on the
  merits or presiding at a jury trial has been made by any party.
         Sec. 54A.009.  ATTENDANCE OF BAILIFF. A bailiff shall
  attend a hearing by an associate judge if directed by the referring
  court.
         Sec. 54A.010.  COURT REPORTER. At the request of a party,
  the court shall provide a court reporter to record the proceedings
  before the associate judge.
         Sec. 54A.011.  WITNESS. (a)  A witness appearing before an
  associate judge is subject to the penalties for perjury provided by
  law.
         (b)  A referring court may issue attachment against and may
  fine or imprison a witness whose failure to appear after being
  summoned or whose refusal to answer questions has been certified to
  the court.
         Sec. 54A.012.  PAPERS TRANSMITTED TO JUDGE. At the
  conclusion of the proceedings, an associate judge shall transmit to
  the referring court any papers relating to the case, including the
  associate judge's findings, conclusions, orders, recommendations,
  or other action taken.
         Sec. 54A.013.  JUDICIAL ACTION. (a)  Not later than the
  30th day after the date an action is taken by an associate judge, a
  referring court may modify, correct, reject, reverse, or recommit
  for further information the action taken by the associate judge.
         (b)  If the court does not modify, correct, reject, reverse,
  or recommit an action to the associate judge, the action becomes the
  decree of the court.
         Sec. 54A.014.  JUDICIAL IMMUNITY. An associate judge has
  the same judicial immunity as a district judge.
  [Sections 54A.015-54A.100 reserved for expansion]
  SUBCHAPTER B. CIVIL ASSOCIATE JUDGES
         Sec. 54A.101.  APPLICABILITY. This subchapter applies to a
  district court or a statutory county court that is assigned civil
  cases.
         Sec. 54A.102.  APPOINTMENT. (a)  A judge of a court subject
  to this subchapter may appoint a full-time or part-time associate
  judge to perform the duties authorized by this subchapter if the
  commissioners court of the county in which the court has
  jurisdiction has authorized the creation of an associate judge
  position.
         (b)  If a district court has jurisdiction in more than one
  county, an associate judge appointed by that court may serve only in
  a county in which the commissioners court has authorized the
  appointment.
         (c)  If more than one court in a county is subject to this
  subchapter, the commissioners court may authorize the appointment
  of an associate judge for each court or may authorize one or more
  associate judges to share service with two or more courts.
         (d)  If an associate judge serves more than one court, the
  associate judge's appointment must be made as established by local
  rule, but in no event by less than a vote of two-thirds of the judges
  under whom the associate judge serves.
         Sec. 54A.103.  QUALIFICATIONS. To qualify for appointment
  as an associate judge under this subchapter, a person must:
               (1)  be a resident of this state and one of the counties
  the person will serve;
               (2)  have been licensed to practice law in this state
  for at least four years;
               (3)  not have been removed from office by impeachment,
  by the supreme court, by the governor on address to the legislature,
  by a tribunal reviewing a recommendation of the State Commission on
  Judicial Conduct, or by the legislature's abolition of the judge's
  court; and
               (4)  not have resigned from office after having
  received notice that formal proceedings by the State Commission on
  Judicial Conduct had been instituted as provided in Section 33.022
  and before final disposition of the proceedings.
         Sec. 54A.104.  COMPENSATION. (a)  An associate judge shall
  be paid a salary determined by the commissioners court of the county
  in which the associate judge serves.
         (b)  If an associate judge serves in more than one county,
  the associate judge shall be paid a salary as determined by
  agreement of the commissioners courts of the counties in which the
  associate judge serves.
         (c)  The associate judge's salary is paid from the county
  fund available for payment of officers' salaries.
         Sec. 54A.105.  TERMINATION. (a)  An associate judge who
  serves a single court serves at the will of the judge of that court.
         (b)  The employment of an associate judge who serves more
  than two courts may only be terminated by a majority vote of all the
  judges of the courts the associate judge serves.
         (c)  The employment of an associate judge who serves two
  courts may be terminated by either of the judges of the courts the
  associate judge serves.
         (d)  To terminate an associate judge's employment, the
  appropriate judges must sign a written order of termination. The
  order must state:
               (1)  the associate judge's name and state bar
  identification number;
               (2)  each court ordering termination; and
               (3)  the date the associate judge's employment ends.
         Sec. 54A.106.  CASES THAT MAY BE REFERRED. (a)  Except as
  provided by this section, a judge of a court may refer any civil
  case or portion of a civil case to an associate judge for
  resolution.
         (b)  Unless a party files a written objection to the
  associate judge hearing a trial on the merits, the judge may refer
  the trial to the associate judge. A trial on the merits is any final
  adjudication from which an appeal may be taken to a court of
  appeals.
         (c)  A party must file an objection to an associate judge
  hearing a trial on the merits or presiding at a jury trial not later
  than the 10th day after the date the party receives notice that the
  associate judge will hear the trial. If an objection is filed, the
  referring court shall hear the trial on the merits or preside at a
  jury trial.
         Sec. 54A.107.  METHODS OF REFERRAL. (a)  A case may be
  referred to an associate judge by an order of referral in a specific
  case or by an omnibus order.
         (b)  The order of referral may limit the powers or duties of
  an associate judge.
         Sec. 54A.108.  POWERS. (a)  Except as limited by an order of
  referral, an associate judge may:
               (1)  conduct hearings;
               (2)  hear evidence;
               (3)  compel production of relevant evidence;
               (4)  rule on the admissibility of evidence;
               (5)  issue summons for the appearance of witnesses;
               (6)  examine a witness;
               (7)  swear a witness for a hearing;
               (8)  make findings of fact on evidence;
               (9)  formulate conclusions of law;
               (10)  rule on pretrial motions;
               (11)  recommend the rulings, orders, or judgment to be
  made in a case;
               (12)  regulate proceedings in a hearing;
               (13)  order the attachment of a witness or party who
  fails to obey a subpoena; and
               (14)  take action as necessary and proper for the
  efficient performance of the duties required by the order of
  referral.
         (b)  An associate judge may, in the interest of justice,
  refer a case back to the referring court regardless of whether a
  timely objection to the associate judge hearing the trial on the
  merits or presiding at a jury trial has been made by any party.
         Sec. 54A.109.  WITNESS. (a)  A witness appearing before an
  associate judge is subject to the penalties for perjury provided by
  law.
         (b)  A referring court may fine or imprison a witness who:
               (1)  failed to appear before an associate judge after
  being summoned; or
               (2)  improperly refused to answer questions if the
  refusal has been certified to the court by the associate judge.
         Sec. 54A.110.  COURT REPORTER; RECORD. (a)  A court
  reporter may be provided during a hearing held by an associate judge
  appointed under this subchapter. A court reporter is required to be
  provided when the associate judge presides over a jury trial.
         (b)  A party, the associate judge, or the referring court may
  provide for a reporter during the hearing if one is not otherwise
  provided.
         (c)  Except as provided by Subsection (a), in the absence of
  a court reporter or on agreement of the parties, the record may be
  preserved by any means approved by the associate judge.
         (d)  The referring court or associate judge may assess the
  expense of preserving the record under Subsection (c) as costs.
         (e)  On appeal of the associate judge's report or proposed
  order, the referring court may consider testimony or other evidence
  in the record if the record is taken by a court reporter.
         Sec. 54A.111.  NOTICE OF DECISION; APPEAL. (a)  After
  hearing a matter, an associate judge shall notify each attorney
  participating in the hearing of the associate judge's decision. An
  associate judge's decision has the same force and effect as an order
  of the referring court unless a party appeals the decision as
  provided by Subsection (b).
         (b)  To appeal an associate judge's decision, other than the
  issuance of a temporary restraining order or temporary injunction,
  a party must file an appeal in the referring court not later than
  the seventh day after the date the party receives notice of the
  decision under Subsection (a).
         (c)  A temporary restraining order issued by an associate
  judge is effective immediately and expires on the 15th day after the
  date of issuance unless, after a hearing, the order is modified or
  extended by the associate judge or referring judge.
         (d)  A temporary injunction issued by an associate judge is
  effective immediately and continues during the pendency of a trial
  unless, after a hearing, the order is modified by a referring judge.
         (e)  A matter appealed to the referring court shall be tried
  de novo and is limited to only those matters specified in the
  appeal. Except on leave of court, a party may not submit on appeal
  any additional evidence or pleadings.
         Sec. 54A.112.  NOTICE OF RIGHT TO DE NOVO HEARING; WAIVER.
  (a)  Notice of the right to a de novo hearing before the referring
  court shall be given to all parties.
         (b)  The notice may be given:
               (1)  by oral statement in open court;
               (2)  by posting inside or outside the courtroom of the
  referring court; or
               (3)  as otherwise directed by the referring court.
         (c)  Before the start of a hearing by an associate judge, a
  party may waive the right of a de novo hearing before the referring
  court in writing or on the record.
         Sec. 54A.113.  ORDER OF COURT. (a)  Pending a de novo
  hearing before the referring court, a proposed order or judgment of
  the associate judge is in full force and effect and is enforceable
  as an order or judgment of the referring court, except for an order
  providing for the appointment of a receiver.
         (b)  If a request for a de novo hearing before the referring
  court is not timely filed or the right to a de novo hearing before
  the referring court is waived, the proposed order or judgment of the
  associate judge becomes the order or judgment of the referring
  court only on the referring court's signing the proposed order or
  judgment.
         (c)  An order by an associate judge for the temporary
  detention or incarceration of a witness or party shall be presented
  to the referring court on the day the witness or party is detained
  or incarcerated. The referring court, without prejudice to the
  right to a de novo hearing provided by Section 54A.115, may approve
  the temporary detention or incarceration or may order the release
  of the party or witness, with or without bond, pending a de novo
  hearing. If the referring court is not immediately available, the
  associate judge may order the release of the party or witness, with
  or without bond, pending a de novo hearing or may continue the
  person's detention or incarceration for not more than 72 hours.
         Sec. 54A.114.  JUDICIAL ACTION ON ASSOCIATE JUDGE'S PROPOSED
  ORDER OR JUDGMENT. Unless a party files a written request for a de
  novo hearing before the referring court, the referring court may:
               (1)  adopt, modify, or reject the associate judge's
  proposed order or judgment;
               (2)  hear additional evidence; or
               (3)  recommit the matter to the associate judge for
  further proceedings.
         Sec. 54A.115.  DE NOVO HEARING. (a)  A party may request a
  de novo hearing before the referring court by filing with the clerk
  of the referring court a written request not later than the seventh
  working day after the date the party receives notice of the
  substance of the associate judge's decision as provided by Section
  54A.111.
         (b)  A request for a de novo hearing under this section must
  specify the issues that will be presented to the referring court.
  The de novo hearing is limited to the specified issues.
         (c)  Notice of a request for a de novo hearing before the
  referring court shall be given to the opposing attorney in the
  manner provided by Rule 21a, Texas Rules of Civil Procedure.
         (d)  If a request for a de novo hearing before the referring
  court is filed by a party, any other party may file a request for a
  de novo hearing before the referring court not later than the
  seventh working day after the date the initial request was filed.
         (e)  The referring court, after notice to the parties, shall
  hold a de novo hearing not later than the 30th day after the date the
  initial request for a de novo hearing was filed with the clerk of
  the referring court.
         (f)  In the de novo hearing before the referring court, the
  parties may present witnesses on the issues specified in the
  request for hearing. The referring court may also consider the
  record from the hearing before the associate judge, including the
  charge to and verdict returned by a jury, if the record was taken by
  a court reporter.
         (g)  The denial of relief to a party after a de novo hearing
  under this section or a party's waiver of the right to a de novo
  hearing before the referring court does not affect the right of a
  party to file a motion for new trial, a motion for judgment
  notwithstanding the verdict, or other posttrial motions.
         (h)  A party may not demand a second jury in a de novo hearing
  before the referring court if the associate judge's proposed order
  or judgment resulted from a jury trial.
         Sec. 54A.116.  APPELLATE REVIEW. (a)  A party's failure to
  request a de novo hearing before the referring court or a party's
  waiver of the right to request a de novo hearing before the
  referring court does not deprive the party of the right to appeal to
  or request other relief from a court of appeals or the supreme
  court.
         (b)  Except as provided by Subsection (c), the date an order
  or judgment by the referring court is signed is the controlling date
  for the purposes of appeal to or request for other relief from a
  court of appeals or the supreme court.
         (c)  The date an agreed order or a default order is signed by
  an associate judge is the controlling date for the purpose of an
  appeal to, or a request for other relief relating to the order from,
  a court of appeals or the supreme court.
         Sec. 54A.117.  JUDICIAL ACTION. (a)  Not later than the
  30th day after the date an action is taken by an associate judge, a
  referring court may modify, correct, reject, reverse, or recommit
  for further information the action taken by the associate judge.
         (b)  If the court does not modify, correct, reject, reverse,
  or recommit an action to the associate judge, the action becomes the
  decree of the court.
         Sec. 54A.118.  JUDICIAL IMMUNITY.  An associate judge
  appointed under this subchapter has the judicial immunity of a
  district judge.
         SECTION 6.02.  (a)  If H.B. No. 1830, Acts of the 82nd
  Legislature, Regular Session, 2011, does not become law, Subchapter
  G, Chapter 54, Government Code, is transferred to Chapter 54A,
  Government Code, as added by this Act, redesignated as Subchapter
  C, Chapter 54A, Government Code, and amended to read as follows:
  SUBCHAPTER C [G]. STATUTORY PROBATE COURT ASSOCIATE JUDGES
         Sec. 54A.201 [54.601].  DEFINITION. In this subchapter,
  "statutory probate court" has the meaning assigned by Section 3,
  Texas Probate Code.
         Sec. 54A.202.  APPLICABILITY. This subchapter applies to a
  statutory probate court.
         Sec. 54A.203 [54.603].  APPOINTMENT. (a)  After obtaining
  the approval of the commissioners court to create an associate
  judge position, the judge of a statutory probate court by order may
  appoint one or more full-time or part-time [a person to act as]
  associate judges to perform the duties authorized by this
  subchapter [judge for the statutory probate court].
         (b)  If a statutory probate court has jurisdiction in more
  than one county, an associate judge appointed by that court may
  serve only in a county in which the commissioners court has
  authorized the appointment.
         (c)  The commissioners court may authorize the appointment
  of an associate judge for each court or may authorize one or more
  associate judges to share service with two or more courts, if more
  than one statutory probate court exists in a county.
         (d) [(c)]  If an associate judge serves more than one court,
  the associate judge's appointment must be made with the unanimous
  approval of all the judges under whom the associate judge serves.
         [(d)     An associate judge must meet the qualifications to
  serve as a judge of the court to which the associate judge is
  appointed.]
         (e)  An associate judge appointed under this subchapter may
  serve as an associate judge appointed under Section 574.0085,
  Health and Safety Code.
         Sec. 54A.204.  QUALIFICATIONS. To qualify for appointment
  as an associate judge under this subchapter, a person must:
               (1)  be a resident of this state and one of the counties
  the person will serve;
               (2)  have been licensed to practice law in this state
  for at least five years;
               (3)  not have been removed from office by impeachment,
  by the supreme court, by the governor on address to the legislature,
  by a tribunal reviewing a recommendation of the State Commission on
  Judicial Conduct, or by the legislature's abolition of the judge's
  court; and
               (4)  not have resigned from office after having
  received notice that formal proceedings by the State Commission on
  Judicial Conduct had been instituted as provided in Section 33.022
  and before final disposition of the proceedings.
         Sec. 54A.205 [54.605].  COMPENSATION. (a)  An associate
  judge is entitled to the compensation set by the appointing judge
  and approved by the commissioners court or commissioners courts of
  the counties in which the associate judge serves. [The salary of
  the associate judge may not exceed the salary of the appointing
  judge.]
         (b)  If an associate judge serves in more than one county,
  the associate judge shall be paid a salary as determined by
  agreement of the commissioners courts of the counties in which the
  associate judge serves.
         (c)  Except as provided by Subsection (d) [(c)], the
  compensation of the associate judge shall be paid by the county from
  the county general fund.  The compensation must be paid in the same
  manner that the appointing judge's salary is paid.
         (d) [(c)]  On the recommendation of the statutory probate
  court judges in the county and subject to the approval of the county
  commissioners court, the county may pay all or part of the
  compensation of the associate judge from the excess contributions
  remitted to the county under Section 25.00212 and deposited in the
  contributions fund created under Section 25.00213.
         Sec. 54A.206 [54.604].  TERMINATION OF ASSOCIATE JUDGE.
  (a)  An associate judge who serves a single court serves at the will
  of the judge of that court.
         (b)  The employment of an associate judge who serves more
  than two courts may only be terminated by a majority vote of all the
  judges of the courts that the associate judge serves.
         (c)  The employment of an associate judge who serves two
  courts may be terminated by either of the judges of the courts that
  the associate judge serves.
         (d)  The appointment of the associate judge terminates if:
               (1)  the associate judge becomes a candidate for
  election to public office; or
               (2)  the commissioners court does not appropriate funds
  in the county's budget to pay the salary of the associate judge.
         (e)  If an associate judge serves a single court and the
  appointing judge vacates the judge's office, the associate judge's
  employment continues, subject to Subsections (d) and (h), unless
  the successor appointed or elected judge terminates that
  employment.
         (f)  If an associate judge serves two courts and one of the
  appointing judges vacates the judge's office, the associate judge's
  employment continues, subject to Subsections (d) and (h), unless
  the successor appointed or elected judge terminates that employment
  or the judge of the other court served by the associate judge
  terminates that employment as provided by Subsection (c).
         (g)  If an associate judge serves more than two courts and an
  appointing judge vacates the judge's office, the associate judge's
  employment continues, subject to Subsections (d) and (h), unless:
               (1)  if no successor judge has been elected or
  appointed, the majority of the judges of the other courts the
  associate judge serves vote to terminate that employment; or
               (2)  if a successor judge has been elected or
  appointed, the majority of the judges of the courts the associate
  judge serves, including the successor judge, vote to terminate that
  employment as provided by Subsection (b).
         (h)  Notwithstanding the powers of an associate judge
  provided by Section 54A.209 [54.610], an associate judge whose
  employment continues as provided by Subsection (e), (f), or (g)
  after the judge of a court served by the associate judge vacates the
  judge's office may perform administrative functions with respect to
  that court, but may not perform any judicial function, including
  any power prescribed by Section 54A.209 [54.610], with respect to
  that court until a successor judge is appointed or elected.
         Sec. 54A.207 [54.608].  CASES THAT MAY BE REFERRED.
  (a)  Except as provided by this section, a judge of a court may
  refer to an associate judge any aspect of a suit over which the
  probate court has jurisdiction, including any matter ancillary to
  the suit.
         (b)  Unless a party files a written objection to the
  associate judge hearing a trial on the merits, the judge may refer
  the trial to the associate judge. A trial on the merits is any final
  adjudication from which an appeal may be taken to a court of
  appeals.
         (c)  A party must file an objection to an associate judge
  hearing a trial on the merits or presiding at a jury trial not later
  than the 10th day after the date the party receives notice that the
  associate judge will hear the trial. If an objection is filed, the
  referring court shall hear the trial on the merits or preside at a
  jury trial.
         Sec. 54A.2071 [54.606].  OATH. An associate judge must take
  the constitutional oath of office required of appointed officers of
  this state.
         [Sec.   54.607.     MAGISTRATE. An associate judge appointed
  under this subchapter is a magistrate.]
         Sec. 54A.208 [54.609].  METHODS [ORDER] OF REFERRAL.  (a)  A
  case may be referred to an associate judge by an order of referral
  in a specific case or by an omnibus order [In referring a case to an
  associate judge, the judge of the referring court shall render:
               [(1)  an individual order of referral; or
               [(2)  a general order of referral] specifying the class
  and type of cases to be referred [heard by the associate judge].
         (b)  The order of referral may limit the power or duties of an
  associate judge.
         Sec. 54A.209 [54.610].  POWERS OF ASSOCIATE JUDGE. (a)
  Except as limited by an order of referral, an associate judge may:
               (1)  conduct a hearing;
               (2)  hear evidence;
               (3)  compel production of relevant evidence;
               (4)  rule on the admissibility of evidence;
               (5)  issue a summons for the appearance of witnesses;
               (6)  examine a witness;
               (7)  swear a witness for a hearing;
               (8)  make findings of fact on evidence;
               (9)  formulate conclusions of law;
               (10)  rule on pretrial motions;
               (11)  recommend the rulings, orders, or judgment [an
  order] to be made [rendered] in a case;
               (12) [(11)]  regulate all proceedings in a hearing
  before the associate judge;
               (13) [(12)]  take action as necessary and proper for
  the efficient performance of the [associate judge's] duties
  required by the order of referral;
               (14) [(13)]  order the attachment of a witness or party
  who fails to obey a subpoena;
               (15) [(14)]  order the detention of a witness or party
  found guilty of contempt, pending approval by the referring court
  as provided by Section 54A.214 [54.616];
               (16) [(15)]  without prejudice to the right to a de novo
  hearing under Section 54A.216 [54.618], render and sign:
                     (A)  a final order agreed to in writing as to both
  form and substance by all parties;
                     (B)  a final default order;
                     (C)  a temporary order;
                     (D)  a final order in a case in which a party files
  an unrevoked waiver made in accordance with Rule 119, Texas Rules of
  Civil Procedure, that waives notice to the party of the final
  hearing or waives the party's appearance at the final hearing;
                     (E)  an order specifying that the court clerk
  shall issue:
                           (i)  letters testamentary or of
  administration; or
                           (ii)  letters of guardianship; or
                     (F)  an order for inpatient or outpatient mental
  health, mental retardation, or chemical dependency services or an
  order authorizing psychoactive medications; and
               (17) [(16)]  sign a final order that includes a waiver
  of the right to a de novo hearing in accordance with Section 54A.216 
  [54.618].
         (b)  An associate judge may, in the interest of justice,
  refer a case back to the referring court regardless of whether a
  timely objection to the associate judge hearing the trial on the
  merits or presiding at a jury trial has been made by any party.
         (c)  An order described by Subsection (a)(16) [(a)(15)] that
  is rendered and signed by an associate judge constitutes an order of
  the referring court.  The judge of the referring court shall sign
  the order not later than the 30th day after the date the associate
  judge signs the order.
         (d)  An answer filed by or on behalf of a party who previously
  filed a waiver described in Subsection (a)(16)(D) [(a)(15)(D)]
  revokes that waiver.
         Sec. 54A.2091 [54.611].  ATTENDANCE OF BAILIFF. A bailiff
  shall attend a hearing conducted by an associate judge if directed
  to attend by the referring court.
         [Sec.   54.612.     COURT REPORTER. (a) A court reporter may be
  provided during a hearing held by an associate judge appointed
  under this subchapter unless required by other law.     A court
  reporter is required to be provided when the associate judge
  presides over a jury trial.
         [(b)     A party, the associate judge, or the referring court
  may provide for a reporter during the hearing, if one is not
  otherwise provided.
         [(c)     Except as provided by Subsection (a), in the absence of
  a court reporter or on agreement of the parties, the record may be
  preserved by any means approved by the referring court.
         [(d)     The referring court or associate judge may impose on a
  party the expense of preserving the record as a court cost.
         [(e)     On a request for a de novo hearing, the referring court
  may consider testimony or other evidence in the record, if the
  record is taken by a court reporter, in addition to witnesses or
  other matters presented under Section 54.618.]
         Sec. 54A.210  [54.613].  WITNESS. (a)  A witness appearing
  before an associate judge is subject to the penalties for perjury
  provided by law.
         (b)  A referring court may issue attachment against and may
  fine or imprison a witness whose failure [who:
               [(1)  fails] to appear [before an associate judge]
  after being summoned or whose refusal to answer questions has been
  certified to the court[; or
               [(2)     improperly refuses to answer a question if the
  refusal has been certified to the court by the associate judge].
         Sec. 54A.211.  COURT REPORTER; RECORD. (a)  A court
  reporter may be provided during a hearing held by an associate judge
  appointed under this subchapter. A court reporter is required to be
  provided when the associate judge presides over a jury trial.
         (b)  A party, the associate judge, or the referring court may
  provide for a reporter during the hearing if one is not otherwise
  provided.
         (c)  Except as provided by Subsection (a), in the absence of
  a court reporter or on agreement of the parties, the record may be
  preserved by any means approved by the associate judge.
         (d)  The referring court or associate judge may assess the
  expense of preserving the record as court costs.
         (e)  On appeal of the associate judge's report or proposed
  order, the referring court may consider testimony or other evidence
  in the record if the record is taken by a court reporter.
         Sec. 54A.212 [54.614].  REPORT. (a) The associate judge's
  report may contain the associate judge's findings, conclusions, or
  recommendations and may be in the form of a proposed order.
         (b)  The associate judge shall prepare a [written] report in
  the form directed by the referring court, including in the form of:
               (1)  a notation on the referring court's docket sheet or
  in the court's jacket; or
               (2)  a proposed order.
         (c) [(b)]  After a hearing, the associate judge shall provide
  the parties participating in the hearing notice of the substance of
  the associate judge's report, including any proposed order.
         (d) [(c)]  Notice may be given to the parties:
               (1)  in open court, by an oral statement, or by
  providing a copy of the associate judge's written report, including
  any proposed order;
               (2)  by certified mail, return receipt requested; or
               (3)  by facsimile transmission.
         (e) [(d)]  There is a rebuttable presumption that notice is
  received on the date stated on:
               (1)  the signed return receipt, if notice was provided
  by certified mail; or
               (2)  the confirmation page produced by the facsimile
  machine, if notice was provided by facsimile transmission.
         (f) [(e)]  After a hearing conducted by an associate judge,
  the associate judge shall send the associate judge's signed and
  dated report, including any proposed order, and all other papers
  relating to the case to the referring court.
         Sec. 54A.213  [54.615].  NOTICE OF RIGHT TO DE NOVO HEARING
  BEFORE REFERRING COURT. (a)  An associate judge shall give all
  parties notice of the right to a de novo hearing before the
  referring court.
         (b)  The notice may be given:
               (1)  by oral statement in open court;
               (2)  by posting inside or outside the courtroom of the
  referring court; or
               (3)  as otherwise directed by the referring court.
         (c)  Before the start of a hearing by an associate judge, a
  party may waive the right to a de novo hearing before the referring
  court in writing or on the record.
         Sec. 54A.214 [54.616].  ORDER OF COURT. (a) Pending a de
  novo hearing before the referring court, the decisions and
  recommendations of the associate judge or a proposed order or
  judgment of the associate judge has the full force and effect, and
  is enforceable as, an order or judgment of the referring court,
  except for an order providing for the appointment of a receiver.
         (b)  Except as provided by Section 54A.209(c) [54.610(c)],
  if a request for a de novo hearing before the referring court is not
  timely filed or the right to a de novo hearing before the referring
  court is waived, the decisions and recommendations of the associate
  judge or the proposed order or judgment of the associate judge
  becomes the order or judgment of the referring court at the time the
  judge of the referring court signs the proposed order or judgment.
         (c)  An order by an associate judge for the temporary
  detention or incarceration of a witness or party shall be presented
  to the referring court on the day the witness or party is detained
  or incarcerated. The referring court, without prejudice to the
  right to a de novo hearing provided by Section 54A.216, may approve
  the temporary detention or incarceration or may order the release
  of the party or witness, with or without bond, pending a de novo
  hearing. If the referring court is not immediately available, the
  associate judge may order the release of the party or witness, with
  or without bond, pending a de novo hearing or may continue the
  person's detention or incarceration for not more than 72 hours.
         Sec. 54A.215 [54.617].  JUDICIAL ACTION ON ASSOCIATE JUDGE'S
  PROPOSED ORDER OR JUDGMENT. (a) Unless a party files a written
  request for a de novo hearing before the referring court, the
  referring court may:
               (1)  adopt, modify, or reject the associate judge's
  proposed order or judgment;
               (2)  hear further evidence; or
               (3)  recommit the matter to the associate judge for
  further proceedings.
         (b)  The judge of the referring court shall sign a proposed
  order or judgment the court adopts as provided by Subsection (a)(1)
  not later than the 30th day after the date the associate judge
  signed the order or judgment.
         Sec. 54A.216 [54.618].  DE NOVO HEARING BEFORE REFERRING
  COURT. (a) A party may request a de novo hearing before the
  referring court by filing with the clerk of the referring court a
  written request not later than the seventh working day after the
  date the party receives notice of the substance of the associate
  judge's report as provided by Section 54A.212 [54.614].
         (b)  A request for a de novo hearing under this section must
  specify the issues that will be presented to the referring court.  
  The de novo hearing is limited to the specified issues.
         (c)  In the de novo hearing before the referring court,
  the  parties may present witnesses on the issues specified in the
  request for hearing.  The referring court may also consider the
  record from the hearing before the associate judge, including the
  charge to and verdict returned by a jury, if the record was taken by
  a court reporter.
         (d)  Notice of a request for a de novo hearing before the
  referring court must be given to the opposing attorney in the manner
  provided by Rule 21a, Texas Rules of Civil Procedure.
         (e)  If a request for a de novo hearing before the referring
  court is filed by a party, any other party may file a request for a
  de novo hearing before the referring court not later than the
  seventh working day after the date of filing of the initial request.
         (f)  The referring court, after notice to the parties, shall
  hold a de novo hearing not later than the 30th day after the date on
  which the initial request for a de novo hearing was filed with the
  clerk of the referring court[, unless all of the parties agree to a
  later date].
         (g)  Before the start of a hearing conducted by an associate
  judge, the parties may waive the right of a de novo hearing before
  the referring court.  The waiver may be in writing or on the record.
         (h)  The denial of relief to a party after a de novo hearing
  under this section or a party's waiver of the right to a de novo
  hearing before the referring court does not affect the right of a
  party to file a motion for new trial, motion for judgment
  notwithstanding the verdict, or other post-trial motion.
         (i)  A party may not demand a second jury in a de novo hearing
  before the referring court if the associate judge's proposed order
  or judgment resulted from a jury trial.
         Sec. 54A.217 [54.619].  APPELLATE REVIEW. (a)  A party's
  failure to request a de novo hearing before the referring court or a
  party's waiver of the right to request a de novo hearing before the
  referring court does not deprive the party of the right to appeal to
  or request other relief from a court of appeals or the supreme
  court.
         (b)  Except as provided by Subsection (c), the date the judge
  of a referring court signs an order or judgment is the controlling
  date for the purposes of appeal to or request for other relief from
  a court of appeals or the supreme court.
         (c)  The date an order described by Section 54A.209(a)(16) 
  [54.610(a)(15)] is signed by an associate judge is the controlling
  date for the purpose of an appeal to, or a request for other relief
  relating to the order from, a court of appeals or the supreme court.
         Sec. 54A.218 [54.620].  IMMUNITY. An associate judge
  appointed under this subchapter has the judicial immunity of a
  probate judge. All existing immunity granted an associate judge by
  law, express or implied, continues in full force and effect.
         (b)  If H.B. No. 1830, Acts of the 82nd Legislature, Regular
  Session, 2011, becomes law, Subchapter G, Chapter 54, Government
  Code, is transferred to Chapter 54A, Government Code, as added by
  this Act, redesignated as Subchapter C, Chapter 54A, Government
  Code, and amended to read as follows:
  SUBCHAPTER C [G]. STATUTORY PROBATE COURT ASSOCIATE JUDGES
         Sec. 54A.201 [54.601].  DEFINITION. In this subchapter,
  "statutory probate court" has the meaning assigned by Section 3,
  Texas Probate Code.
         Sec. 54A.202.  APPLICABILITY. This subchapter applies to a
  statutory probate court.
         Sec. 54A.203 [54.603].  APPOINTMENT. (a)  After obtaining
  the approval of the commissioners court to create an associate
  judge position, the judge of a statutory probate court by order may
  appoint one or more full-time or part-time [a person to act as]
  associate judges to perform the duties authorized by this
  subchapter [judge for the statutory probate court].
         (b)  If a statutory probate court has jurisdiction in more
  than one county, an associate judge appointed by that court may
  serve only in a county in which the commissioners court has
  authorized the appointment.
         (c)  The commissioners court may authorize the appointment
  of an associate judge for each court or may authorize one or more
  associate judges to share service with two or more courts, if more
  than one statutory probate court exists in a county.
         (d) [(c)]  If an associate judge serves more than one court,
  the associate judge's appointment must be made with the unanimous
  approval of all the judges under whom the associate judge serves.
         [(d)     An associate judge must meet the qualifications to
  serve as a judge of the court to which the associate judge is
  appointed.]
         (e)  An associate judge appointed under this subchapter may
  serve as an associate judge appointed under Section 574.0085,
  Health and Safety Code.
         Sec. 54A.204.  QUALIFICATIONS. To qualify for appointment
  as an associate judge under this subchapter, a person must:
               (1)  be a resident of this state and one of the counties
  the person will serve;
               (2)  have been licensed to practice law in this state
  for at least five years;
               (3)  not have been removed from office by impeachment,
  by the supreme court, by the governor on address to the legislature,
  by a tribunal reviewing a recommendation of the State Commission on
  Judicial Conduct, or by the legislature's abolition of the judge's
  court; and
               (4)  not have resigned from office after having
  received notice that formal proceedings by the State Commission on
  Judicial Conduct had been instituted as provided in Section 33.022
  and before final disposition of the proceedings.
         Sec. 54A.205 [54.605].  COMPENSATION. (a)  An associate
  judge is entitled to the compensation set by the appointing judge
  and approved by the commissioners court or commissioners courts of
  the counties in which the associate judge serves. [The salary of
  the associate judge may not exceed the salary of the appointing
  judge.]
         (b)  If an associate judge serves in more than one county,
  the associate judge shall be paid a salary as determined by
  agreement of the commissioners courts of the counties in which the
  associate judge serves.
         (c)  Except as provided by Subsection (d) [(c)], the
  compensation of the associate judge shall be paid by the county from
  the county general fund.  The compensation must be paid in the same
  manner that the appointing judge's salary is paid.
         (d) [(c)]  On the recommendation of the statutory probate
  court judges in the county and subject to the approval of the county
  commissioners court, the county may pay all or part of the
  compensation of the associate judge from the excess contributions
  remitted to the county under Section 25.00212 and deposited in the
  contributions fund created under Section 25.00213.
         Sec. 54A.206 [54.604].  TERMINATION OF ASSOCIATE JUDGE.
  (a)  An associate judge who serves a single court serves at the will
  of the judge of that court.
         (b)  The employment of an associate judge who serves more
  than two courts may only be terminated by a majority vote of all the
  judges of the courts that the associate judge serves.
         (c)  The employment of an associate judge who serves two
  courts may be terminated by either of the judges of the courts that
  the associate judge serves.
         (d)  The appointment of the associate judge terminates if:
               (1)  the associate judge becomes a candidate for
  election to public office; or
               (2)  the commissioners court does not appropriate funds
  in the county's budget to pay the salary of the associate judge.
         (e)  If an associate judge serves a single court and the
  appointing judge vacates the judge's office, the associate judge's
  employment continues, subject to Subsections (d) and (h), unless
  the successor appointed or elected judge terminates that
  employment.
         (f)  If an associate judge serves two courts and one of the
  appointing judges vacates the judge's office, the associate judge's
  employment continues, subject to Subsections (d) and (h), unless
  the successor appointed or elected judge terminates that employment
  or the judge of the other court served by the associate judge
  terminates that employment as provided by Subsection (c).
         (g)  If an associate judge serves more than two courts and an
  appointing judge vacates the judge's office, the associate judge's
  employment continues, subject to Subsections (d) and (h), unless:
               (1)  if no successor judge has been elected or
  appointed, the majority of the judges of the other courts the
  associate judge serves vote to terminate that employment; or
               (2)  if a successor judge has been elected or
  appointed, the majority of the judges of the courts the associate
  judge serves, including the successor judge, vote to terminate that
  employment as provided by Subsection (b).
         (h)  Notwithstanding the powers of an associate judge
  provided by Section 54A.209 [54.610], an associate judge whose
  employment continues as provided by Subsection (e), (f), or (g)
  after the judge of a court served by the associate judge vacates the
  judge's office may perform administrative functions with respect to
  that court, but may not perform any judicial function, including
  any power prescribed by Section 54A.209 [54.610], with respect to
  that court until a successor judge is appointed or elected.
         Sec. 54A.207 [54.608].  CASES THAT MAY BE REFERRED.
  (a)  Except as provided by this section, a judge of a court may
  refer to an associate judge any aspect of a suit over which the
  probate court has jurisdiction, including any matter ancillary to
  the suit.
         (b)  Unless a party files a written objection to the
  associate judge hearing a trial on the merits, the judge may refer
  the trial to the associate judge. A trial on the merits is any final
  adjudication from which an appeal may be taken to a court of
  appeals.
         (c)  A party must file an objection to an associate judge
  hearing a trial on the merits or presiding at a jury trial not later
  than the 10th day after the date the party receives notice that the
  associate judge will hear the trial. If an objection is filed, the
  referring court shall hear the trial on the merits or preside at a
  jury trial.
         Sec. 54A.2071 [54.606].  OATH. An associate judge must take
  the constitutional oath of office required of appointed officers of
  this state.
         [Sec.   54.607.     MAGISTRATE. An associate judge appointed
  under this subchapter is a magistrate.]
         Sec. 54A.208 [54.609].  METHODS [ORDER] OF REFERRAL.  (a)  A
  case may be referred to an associate judge by an order of referral
  in a specific case or by an omnibus order [In referring a case to an
  associate judge, the judge of the referring court shall render:
               [(1)  an individual order of referral; or
               [(2)  a general order of referral] specifying the class
  and type of cases to be referred [heard by the associate judge].
         (b)  The order of referral may limit the power or duties of an
  associate judge.
         Sec. 54A.209 [54.610].  POWERS OF ASSOCIATE JUDGE. (a)
  Except as limited by an order of referral, an associate judge may:
               (1)  conduct a hearing;
               (2)  hear evidence;
               (3)  compel production of relevant evidence;
               (4)  rule on the admissibility of evidence;
               (5)  issue a summons for the appearance of witnesses;
               (6)  examine a witness;
               (7)  swear a witness for a hearing;
               (8)  make findings of fact on evidence;
               (9)  formulate conclusions of law;
               (10)  rule on pretrial motions;
               (11)  recommend the rulings, orders, or judgment [an
  order] to be made [rendered] in a case;
               (12) [(11)]  regulate all proceedings in a hearing
  before the associate judge;
               (13) [(12)]  take action as necessary and proper for
  the efficient performance of the [associate judge's] duties
  required by the order of referral;
               (14) [(13)]  order the attachment of a witness or party
  who fails to obey a subpoena;
               (15) [(14)]  order the detention of a witness or party
  found guilty of contempt, pending approval by the referring court
  as provided by Section 54A.214 [54.616];
               (16) [(15)]  without prejudice to the right to a de novo
  hearing under Section 54A.216 [54.618], render and sign:
                     (A)  a final order agreed to in writing as to both
  form and substance by all parties;
                     (B)  a final default order;
                     (C)  a temporary order;
                     (D)  a final order in a case in which a party files
  an unrevoked waiver made in accordance with Rule 119, Texas Rules of
  Civil Procedure, that waives notice to the party of the final
  hearing or waives the party's appearance at the final hearing;
                     (E)  an order specifying that the court clerk
  shall issue:
                           (i)  letters testamentary or of
  administration; or
                           (ii)  letters of guardianship; or
                     (F)  an order for inpatient or outpatient mental
  health, mental retardation, or chemical dependency services or an
  order authorizing psychoactive medications; and
               (17) [(16)]  sign a final order that includes a waiver
  of the right to a de novo hearing in accordance with Section 54A.216 
  [54.618].
         (b)  An associate judge may, in the interest of justice,
  refer a case back to the referring court regardless of whether a
  timely objection to the associate judge hearing the trial on the
  merits or presiding at a jury trial has been made by any party.
         (c)  An order described by Subsection (a)(16) [(a)(15)] that
  is rendered and signed by an associate judge constitutes an order of
  the referring court.  The judge of the referring court shall sign
  the order not later than the 30th day after the date the associate
  judge signs the order.
         (d)  An answer filed by or on behalf of a party who previously
  filed a waiver described in Subsection (a)(16)(D) [(a)(15)(D)]
  revokes that waiver.
         Sec. 54A.2091 [54.611].  ATTENDANCE OF BAILIFF. A bailiff
  shall attend a hearing conducted by an associate judge if directed
  to attend by the referring court.
         [Sec.   54.612.     COURT REPORTER. (a) A court reporter may be
  provided during a hearing held by an associate judge appointed
  under this subchapter unless required by other law.     A court
  reporter is required to be provided when the associate judge
  presides over a jury trial.
         [(b)     A party, the associate judge, or the referring court
  may provide for a reporter during the hearing, if one is not
  otherwise provided.
         [(c)     Except as provided by Subsection (a), in the absence of
  a court reporter or on agreement of the parties, the record may be
  preserved by any means approved by the referring court.
         [(d)     The referring court or associate judge may impose on a
  party the expense of preserving the record as a court cost.
         [(e)     On a request for a de novo hearing, the referring court
  may consider testimony or other evidence in the record, if the
  record is taken by a court reporter, in addition to witnesses or
  other matters presented under Section 54.618.]
         Sec. 54A.210  [54.613].  WITNESS. (a)  A witness appearing
  before an associate judge is subject to the penalties for perjury
  provided by law.
         (b)  A referring court may issue attachment against and may
  fine or imprison a witness whose failure [who:
               [(1)  fails] to appear [before an associate judge]
  after being summoned or whose refusal to answer questions has been
  certified to the court[; or
               [(2)     improperly refuses to answer a question if the
  refusal has been certified to the court by the associate judge].
         Sec. 54A.211.  COURT REPORTER; RECORD. (a)  A court
  reporter may be provided during a hearing held by an associate judge
  appointed under this subchapter. A court reporter is required to be
  provided when the associate judge presides over a jury trial.
         (b)  A party, the associate judge, or the referring court may
  provide for a reporter during the hearing if one is not otherwise
  provided.
         (c)  Except as provided by Subsection (a), in the absence of
  a court reporter or on agreement of the parties, the record may be
  preserved by any means approved by the associate judge.
         (d)  The referring court or associate judge may assess the
  expense of preserving the record as court costs.
         (e)  On appeal of the associate judge's report or proposed
  order, the referring court may consider testimony or other evidence
  in the record if the record is taken by a court reporter.
         Sec. 54A.212 [54.614].  REPORT. (a) The associate judge's
  report may contain the associate judge's findings, conclusions, or
  recommendations and may be in the form of a proposed order.
         (b)  The associate judge shall prepare a [written] report in
  the form directed by the referring court, including in the form of:
               (1)  a notation on the referring court's docket sheet or
  in the court's jacket; or
               (2)  a proposed order.
         (c) [(b)]  After a hearing, the associate judge shall provide
  the parties participating in the hearing notice of the substance of
  the associate judge's report, including any proposed order.
         (d) [(c)]  Notice may be given to the parties:
               (1)  in open court, by an oral statement, or by
  providing a copy of the associate judge's written report, including
  any proposed order;
               (2)  by certified mail, return receipt requested;
               (3)  by facsimile transmission; or
               (4)  by electronic mail.
         (e) [(d)]  There is a rebuttable presumption that notice is
  received on the date stated on:
               (1)  the signed return receipt, if notice was provided
  by certified mail;
               (2)  the confirmation page produced by the facsimile
  machine, if notice was provided by facsimile transmission; or
               (3)  a printout evidencing submission of the electronic
  mail message, if notice was provided by electronic mail.
         (f) [(e)]  After a hearing conducted by an associate judge,
  the associate judge shall send the associate judge's signed and
  dated report, including any proposed order, and all other papers
  relating to the case to the referring court.
         Sec. 54A.213  [54.615].  NOTICE OF RIGHT TO DE NOVO HEARING
  BEFORE REFERRING COURT. (a)  An associate judge shall give all
  parties notice of the right to a de novo hearing before the
  referring court.
         (b)  The notice may be given:
               (1)  by oral statement in open court;
               (2)  by posting inside or outside the courtroom of the
  referring court; or
               (3)  as otherwise directed by the referring court.
         (c)  Before the start of a hearing by an associate judge, a
  party may waive the right to a de novo hearing before the referring
  court in writing or on the record.
         Sec. 54A.214 [54.616].  ORDER OF COURT. (a) Pending a de
  novo hearing before the referring court, the decisions and
  recommendations of the associate judge or a proposed order or
  judgment of the associate judge has the full force and effect, and
  is enforceable as, an order or judgment of the referring court,
  except for an order providing for the appointment of a receiver.
         (b)  Except as provided by Section 54A.209(c) [54.610(c)],
  if a request for a de novo hearing before the referring court is not
  timely filed or the right to a de novo hearing before the referring
  court is waived, the decisions and recommendations of the associate
  judge or the proposed order or judgment of the associate judge
  becomes the order or judgment of the referring court at the time the
  judge of the referring court signs the proposed order or judgment.
         (c)  An order by an associate judge for the temporary
  detention or incarceration of a witness or party shall be presented
  to the referring court on the day the witness or party is detained
  or incarcerated. The referring court, without prejudice to the
  right to a de novo hearing provided by Section 54A.216, may approve
  the temporary detention or incarceration or may order the release
  of the party or witness, with or without bond, pending a de novo
  hearing. If the referring court is not immediately available, the
  associate judge may order the release of the party or witness, with
  or without bond, pending a de novo hearing or may continue the
  person's detention or incarceration for not more than 72 hours.
         Sec. 54A.215 [54.617].  JUDICIAL ACTION ON ASSOCIATE JUDGE'S
  PROPOSED ORDER OR JUDGMENT. (a) Unless a party files a written
  request for a de novo hearing before the referring court, the
  referring court may:
               (1)  adopt, modify, or reject the associate judge's
  proposed order or judgment;
               (2)  hear further evidence; or
               (3)  recommit the matter to the associate judge for
  further proceedings.
         (b)  The judge of the referring court shall sign a proposed
  order or judgment the court adopts as provided by Subsection (a)(1)
  not later than the 30th day after the date the associate judge
  signed the order or judgment.
         Sec. 54A.216 [54.618].  DE NOVO HEARING BEFORE REFERRING
  COURT. (a) A party may request a de novo hearing before the
  referring court by filing with the clerk of the referring court a
  written request not later than the seventh working day after the
  date the party receives notice of the substance of the associate
  judge's report as provided by Section 54A.212 [54.614].
         (b)  A request for a de novo hearing under this section must
  specify the issues that will be presented to the referring court.  
  The de novo hearing is limited to the specified issues.
         (c)  In the de novo hearing before the referring court,
  the  parties may present witnesses on the issues specified in the
  request for hearing.  The referring court may also consider the
  record from the hearing before the associate judge, including the
  charge to and verdict returned by a jury, if the record was taken by
  a court reporter.
         (d)  Notice of a request for a de novo hearing before the
  referring court must be given to the opposing attorney in the manner
  provided by Rule 21a, Texas Rules of Civil Procedure.
         (e)  If a request for a de novo hearing before the referring
  court is filed by a party, any other party may file a request for a
  de novo hearing before the referring court not later than the
  seventh working day after the date of filing of the initial request.
         (f)  The referring court, after notice to the parties, shall
  hold a de novo hearing not later than the 30th day after the date on
  which the initial request for a de novo hearing was filed with the
  clerk of the referring court[, unless all of the parties agree to a
  later date].
         (g)  Before the start of a hearing conducted by an associate
  judge, the parties may waive the right of a de novo hearing before
  the referring court.  The waiver may be in writing or on the record.
         (h)  The denial of relief to a party after a de novo hearing
  under this section or a party's waiver of the right to a de novo
  hearing before the referring court does not affect the right of a
  party to file a motion for new trial, motion for judgment
  notwithstanding the verdict, or other post-trial motion.
         (i)  A party may not demand a second jury in a de novo hearing
  before the referring court if the associate judge's proposed order
  or judgment resulted from a jury trial.
         Sec. 54A.217 [54.619].  APPELLATE REVIEW. (a)  A party's
  failure to request a de novo hearing before the referring court or a
  party's waiver of the right to request a de novo hearing before the
  referring court does not deprive the party of the right to appeal to
  or request other relief from a court of appeals or the supreme
  court.
         (b)  Except as provided by Subsection (c), the date the judge
  of a referring court signs an order or judgment is the controlling
  date for the purposes of appeal to or request for other relief from
  a court of appeals or the supreme court.
         (c)  The date an order described by Section 54A.209(a)(16) 
  [54.610(a)(15)] is signed by an associate judge is the controlling
  date for the purpose of an appeal to, or a request for other relief
  relating to the order from, a court of appeals or the supreme court.
         Sec. 54A.218 [54.620].  IMMUNITY. An associate judge
  appointed under this subchapter has the judicial immunity of a
  probate judge. All existing immunity granted an associate judge by
  law, express or implied, continues in full force and effect.
         SECTION 6.03.  Chapter 201, Family Code, is amended by
  adding Subchapter D to read as follows:
  SUBCHAPTER D.  ASSOCIATE JUDGE FOR JUVENILE MATTERS
         Sec. 201.301.  APPLICABILITY. This subchapter applies only
  to an associate judge appointed under this subchapter and does not
  apply to a juvenile court master appointed under Subchapter K,
  Chapter 54, Government Code.
         Sec. 201.302.  APPOINTMENT. (a)  A judge of a court that is
  designated as a juvenile court may appoint a full-time or part-time
  associate judge to perform the duties authorized by this chapter if
  the commissioners court of a county in which the court has
  jurisdiction has authorized creation of an associate judge
  position.
         (b)  If a court has jurisdiction in more than one county, an
  associate judge appointed by that court may serve only in a county
  in which the commissioners court has authorized the appointment.
         (c)  If more than one court in a county has been designated as
  a juvenile court, the commissioners court may authorize the
  appointment of an associate judge for each court or may authorize
  one or more associate judges to share service with two or more
  courts.
         (d)  If an associate judge serves more than one court, the
  associate judge's appointment must be made as established by local
  rule, but in no event by less than a vote of two-thirds of the judges
  under whom the associate judge serves.
         Sec. 201.303.  QUALIFICATIONS. To qualify for appointment
  as an associate judge under this subchapter, a person must:
               (1)  be a resident of this state and one of the counties
  the person will serve;
               (2)  have been licensed to practice law in this state
  for at least four years;
               (3)  not have been removed from office by impeachment,
  by the supreme court, by the governor on address to the legislature,
  by a tribunal reviewing a recommendation of the State Commission on
  Judicial Conduct, or by the legislature's abolition of the judge's
  court; and
               (4)  not have resigned from office after having
  received notice that formal proceedings by the State Commission on
  Judicial Conduct had been instituted as provided in Section 33.022,
  Government Code, and before final disposition of the proceedings.
         Sec. 201.304.  COMPENSATION. (a)  An associate judge shall
  be paid a salary determined by the commissioners court of the county
  in which the associate judge serves.
         (b)  If an associate judge serves in more than one county,
  the associate judge shall be paid a salary as determined by
  agreement of the commissioners courts of the counties in which the
  associate judge serves.
         (c)  The associate judge's salary is paid from the county
  fund available for payment of officers' salaries.
         Sec. 201.305.  TERMINATION. (a)  An associate judge who
  serves a single court serves at the will of the judge of that court.
         (b)  The employment of an associate judge who serves more
  than two courts may only be terminated by a majority vote of all the
  judges of the courts which the associate judge serves.
         (c)  The employment of an associate judge who serves two
  courts may be terminated by either of the judges of the courts which
  the associate judge serves.
         (d)  To terminate an associate judge's employment, the
  appropriate judges must sign a written order of termination. The
  order must state:
               (1)  the associate judge's name and state bar
  identification number;
               (2)  each court ordering termination; and
               (3)  the date the associate judge's employment ends.
         Sec. 201.306.  CASES THAT MAY BE REFERRED. (a)  Except as
  provided by this section, a judge of a juvenile court may refer to
  an associate judge any aspect of a juvenile matter brought:
               (1)  under this title or Title 3; or
               (2)  in connection with Rule 308a, Texas Rules of Civil
  Procedure.
         (b)  Unless a party files a written objection to the
  associate judge hearing a trial on the merits, the judge may refer
  the trial to the associate judge. A trial on the merits is any final
  adjudication from which an appeal may be taken to a court of
  appeals.
         (c)  A party must file an objection to an associate judge
  hearing a trial on the merits or presiding at a jury trial not later
  than the 10th day after the date the party receives notice that the
  associate judge will hear the trial. If an objection is filed, the
  referring court shall hear the trial on the merits or preside at a
  jury trial.
         (d)  The requirements of Subsections (b) and (c) apply when a
  judge has authority to refer the trial of a suit under this title,
  Title 1, or Title 4 to an associate judge, master, or other
  assistant judge regardless of whether the assistant judge is
  appointed under this subchapter.
         Sec. 201.307.  METHODS OF REFERRAL. (a)  A case may be
  referred to an associate judge by an order of referral in a specific
  case or by an omnibus order.
         (b)  The order of referral may limit the power or duties of an
  associate judge.
         Sec. 201.308.  POWERS OF ASSOCIATE JUDGE. (a)  Except as
  limited by an order of referral, an associate judge may:
               (1)  conduct a hearing;
               (2)  hear evidence;
               (3)  compel production of relevant evidence;
               (4)  rule on the admissibility of evidence;
               (5)  issue a summons for:
                     (A)  the appearance of witnesses; and
                     (B)  the appearance of a parent who has failed to
  appear before an agency authorized to conduct an investigation of
  an allegation of abuse or neglect of a child after receiving proper
  notice;
               (6)  examine a witness;
               (7)  swear a witness for a hearing;
               (8)  make findings of fact on evidence;
               (9)  formulate conclusions of law;
               (10)  recommend an order to be rendered in a case;
               (11)  regulate proceedings in a hearing;
               (12)  order the attachment of a witness or party who
  fails to obey a subpoena;
               (13)  order the detention of a witness or party found
  guilty of contempt, pending approval by the referring court; and
               (14)  take action as necessary and proper for the
  efficient performance of the associate judge's duties.
         (b)  An associate judge may, in the interest of justice,
  refer a case back to the referring court regardless of whether a
  timely objection to the associate judge hearing the trial on the
  merits or presiding at a jury trial has been made by any party.
         Sec. 201.309.  REFEREES. (a)  An associate judge appointed
  under this subchapter may serve as a referee as provided by Sections
  51.04(g) and 54.10.
         (b)  A referee appointed under Section 51.04(g) may be
  appointed to serve as an associate judge under this subchapter.
         Sec. 201.310.  ATTENDANCE OF BAILIFF. A bailiff may attend a
  hearing by an associate judge if directed by the referring court.
         Sec. 201.311.  WITNESS. (a)  A witness appearing before an
  associate judge is subject to the penalties for perjury provided by
  law.
         (b)  A referring court may fine or imprison a witness who:
               (1)  failed to appear before an associate judge after
  being summoned; or
               (2)  improperly refused to answer questions if the
  refusal has been certified to the court by the associate judge.
         Sec. 201.312.  COURT REPORTER; RECORD. (a)  A court
  reporter may be provided during a hearing held by an associate judge
  appointed under this subchapter. A court reporter is required to be
  provided when the associate judge presides over a jury trial or a
  contested final termination hearing.
         (b)  A party, the associate judge, or the referring court may
  provide for a reporter during the hearing if one is not otherwise
  provided.
         (c)  Except as provided by Subsection (a), in the absence of
  a court reporter or on agreement of the parties, the record may be
  preserved by any means approved by the associate judge.
         (d)  The referring court or associate judge may assess the
  expense of preserving the record as costs.
         (e)  On a request for a de novo hearing, the referring court
  may consider testimony or other evidence in the record, if the
  record is taken by a court reporter, in addition to witnesses or
  other matters presented under Section 201.317.
         Sec. 201.313.  REPORT. (a)  The associate judge's report may
  contain the associate judge's findings, conclusions, or
  recommendations and may be in the form of a proposed order. The
  associate judge's report must be in writing and in the form directed
  by the referring court.
         (b)  After a hearing, the associate judge shall provide the
  parties participating in the hearing notice of the substance of the
  associate judge's report, including any proposed order.
         (c)  Notice may be given to the parties:
               (1)  in open court, by an oral statement or by providing
  a copy of the associate judge's written report, including any
  proposed order;
               (2)  by certified mail, return receipt requested; or
               (3)  by facsimile.
         (d)  A rebuttable presumption exists that notice is received
  on the date stated on:
               (1)  the signed return receipt, if notice was provided
  by certified mail; or
               (2)  the confirmation page produced by the facsimile
  machine, if notice was provided by facsimile.
         (e)  After a hearing conducted by an associate judge, the
  associate judge shall send the associate judge's signed and dated
  report, including any proposed order, and all other papers relating
  to the case to the referring court.
         Sec. 201.314.  NOTICE OF RIGHT TO DE NOVO HEARING; WAIVER.
  (a)  An associate judge shall give all parties notice of the right
  to a de novo hearing to the judge of the referring court.
         (b)  The notice may be given:
               (1)  by oral statement in open court;
               (2)  by posting inside or outside the courtroom of the
  referring court; or
               (3)  as otherwise directed by the referring court.
         (c)  Before the start of a hearing by an associate judge, a
  party may waive the right of a de novo hearing before the referring
  court in writing or on the record.
         Sec. 201.315.  ORDER OF COURT. (a)  Pending a de novo
  hearing before the referring court, a proposed order or judgment of
  the associate judge is in full force and effect and is enforceable
  as an order or judgment of the referring court, except for an order
  providing for the appointment of a receiver.
         (b)  If a request for a de novo hearing before the referring
  court is not timely filed or the right to a de novo hearing before
  the referring court is waived, the proposed order or judgment of the
  associate judge becomes the order or judgment of the referring
  court only on the referring court's signing the proposed order or
  judgment.
         (c)  An order by an associate judge for the temporary
  detention or incarceration of a witness or party shall be presented
  to the referring court on the day the witness or party is detained
  or incarcerated. The referring court, without prejudice to the
  right to a de novo hearing provided by Section 201.317, may approve
  the temporary detention or incarceration or may order the release
  of the party or witness, with or without bond, pending a de novo
  hearing. If the referring court is not immediately available, the
  associate judge may order the release of the party or witness, with
  or without bond, pending a de novo hearing or may continue the
  person's detention or incarceration for not more than 72 hours.
         Sec. 201.316.  JUDICIAL ACTION ON ASSOCIATE JUDGE'S PROPOSED
  ORDER OR JUDGMENT. Unless a party files a written request for a de
  novo hearing before the referring court, the referring court may:
               (1)  adopt, modify, or reject the associate judge's
  proposed order or judgment;
               (2)  hear additional evidence; or
               (3)  recommit the matter to the associate judge for
  further proceedings.
         Sec. 201.317.  DE NOVO HEARING. (a)  A party may request a de
  novo hearing before the referring court by filing with the clerk of
  the referring court a written request not later than the seventh
  working day after the date the party receives notice of the
  substance of the associate judge's report as provided by Section
  201.313.
         (b)  A request for a de novo hearing under this section must
  specify the issues that will be presented to the referring court.
  The de novo hearing is limited to the specified issues.
         (c)  Notice of a request for a de novo hearing before the
  referring court shall be given to the opposing attorney in the
  manner provided by Rule 21a, Texas Rules of Civil Procedure.
         (d)  If a request for a de novo hearing before the referring
  court is filed by a party, any other party may file a request for a
  de novo hearing before the referring court not later than the
  seventh working day after the date the initial request was filed.
         (e)  The referring court, after notice to the parties, shall
  hold a de novo hearing not later than the 30th day after the date the
  initial request for a de novo hearing was filed with the clerk of
  the referring court.
         (f)  In the de novo hearing before the referring court, the
  parties may present witnesses on the issues specified in the
  request for hearing. The referring court may also consider the
  record from the hearing before the associate judge, including the
  charge to and verdict returned by a jury, if the record was taken by
  a court reporter.
         (g)  The denial of relief to a party after a de novo hearing
  under this section or a party's waiver of the right to a de novo
  hearing before the referring court does not affect the right of a
  party to file a motion for new trial, a motion for judgment
  notwithstanding the verdict, or other posttrial motions.
         (h)  A party may not demand a second jury in a de novo hearing
  before the referring court if the associate judge's proposed order
  or judgment resulted from a jury trial.
         Sec. 201.318.  APPELLATE REVIEW. (a)  A party's failure to
  request a de novo hearing before the referring court or a party's
  waiver of the right to request a de novo hearing before the
  referring court does not deprive the party of the right to appeal to
  or request other relief from a court of appeals or the supreme
  court.
         (b)  Except as provided by Subsection (c), the date an order
  or judgment by the referring court is signed is the controlling date
  for the purposes of appeal to or request for other relief from a
  court of appeals or the supreme court.
         (c)  The date an agreed order or a default order is signed by
  an associate judge is the controlling date for the purpose of an
  appeal to, or a request for other relief relating to the order from,
  a court of appeals or the supreme court.
         Sec. 201.319.  JUDICIAL IMMUNITY. An associate judge
  appointed under this subchapter has the judicial immunity of a
  district judge.
         Sec. 201.320.  VISITING ASSOCIATE JUDGE. (a)  If an
  associate judge appointed under this subchapter is temporarily
  unable to perform the judge's official duties because of absence or
  illness, injury, or other disability, a judge of a court having
  jurisdiction of a suit under this title or Title 1 or 4 may appoint a
  visiting associate judge to perform the duties of the associate
  judge during the period of the associate judge's absence or
  disability if the commissioners court of a county in which the court
  has jurisdiction authorizes the employment of a visiting associate
  judge.
         (b)  To be eligible for appointment under this section, a
  person must have served as an associate judge for at least two
  years.
         (c)  Sections 201.001 through 201.017 apply to a visiting
  associate judge appointed under this section.
         SECTION 6.04.  Subsection (b), Section 22.110, Government
  Code, is amended to read as follows:
         (b)  The court of criminal appeals shall adopt the rules
  necessary to accomplish the purposes of this section.  The rules
  must require each district judge, judge of a statutory county
  court, associate judge appointed under Chapter 54A [54] of this
  code or Chapter 201, Family Code, master, referee, and magistrate
  to complete at least 12 hours of the training within the judge's
  first term of office or the judicial officer's first four years of
  service and provide a method for certification of completion of
  that training.  At least four hours of the training must be
  dedicated to issues related to child abuse and neglect and must
  cover at least two of the topics described in Subsections
  (d)(8)-(12).  At least six hours of the training must be dedicated
  to the training described by Subsections (d)(5), (6), and (7).  The
  rules must require each judge and judicial officer to complete an
  additional five hours of training during each additional term in
  office or four years of service.  At least two hours of the
  additional training must be dedicated to issues related to child
  abuse and neglect.  The rules must exempt from the training
  requirement of this subsection each judge or judicial officer who
  files an affidavit stating that the judge or judicial officer does
  not hear any cases involving family violence, sexual assault, or
  child abuse and neglect.
         SECTION 6.05.  Section 602.002, Government Code, is amended
  to read as follows:
         Sec. 602.002.  OATH MADE IN TEXAS. An oath made in this
  state may be administered and a certificate of the fact given by:
               (1)  a judge, retired judge, or clerk of a municipal
  court;
               (2)  a judge, retired judge, senior judge, clerk, or
  commissioner of a court of record;
               (3)  a justice of the peace or a clerk of a justice
  court;
               (4)  an associate judge, magistrate, master, referee,
  or criminal law hearing officer;
               (5)  a notary public;
               (6) [(5)]  a member of a board or commission created by
  a law of this state, in a matter pertaining to a duty of the board or
  commission;
               (7) [(6)]  a person employed by the Texas Ethics
  Commission who has a duty related to a report required by Title 15,
  Election Code, in a matter pertaining to that duty;
               (8) [(7)]  a county tax assessor-collector or an
  employee of the county tax assessor-collector if the oath relates
  to a document that is required or authorized to be filed in the
  office of the county tax assessor-collector;
               (9) [(8)]  the secretary of state or a former secretary
  of state;
               (10) [(9)]  an employee of a personal bond office, or
  an employee of a county, who is employed to obtain information
  required to be obtained under oath if the oath is required or
  authorized by Article 17.04 or by Article 26.04(n) or (o), Code of
  Criminal Procedure;
               (11) [(10)]  the lieutenant governor or a former
  lieutenant governor;
               (12) [(11)]  the speaker of the house of
  representatives or a former speaker of the house of
  representatives;
               (13) [(12)]  the governor or a former governor;
               (14) [(13)]  a legislator or retired legislator;
               (15) [(14)]  the attorney general or a former attorney
  general;
               (16) [(15)]  the secretary or clerk of a municipality
  in a matter pertaining to the official business of the
  municipality; or
               (17) [(16)]  a peace officer described by Article 2.12,
  Code of Criminal Procedure, if:
                     (A)  the oath is administered when the officer is
  engaged in the performance of the officer's duties; and
                     (B)  the administration of the oath relates to the
  officer's duties.
         SECTION 6.06.  (a)  If H.B. No. 2132 and H.B. No. 3844, Acts
  of the 82nd Legislature, Regular Session, 2011, do not become law,
  Article 2.09, Code of Criminal Procedure, is amended to read as
  follows:
         Art. 2.09.  WHO ARE MAGISTRATES. Each of the following
  officers is a magistrate within the meaning of this Code:  The
  justices of the Supreme Court, the judges of the Court of Criminal
  Appeals, the justices of the Courts of Appeals, the judges of the
  District Court, the magistrates appointed by the judges of the
  district courts of Bexar County, Dallas County, or Tarrant County
  that give preference to criminal cases, the criminal law hearing
  officers for Harris County appointed under Subchapter L, Chapter
  54, Government Code, the criminal law hearing officers for Cameron
  County appointed under Subchapter BB, Chapter 54, Government Code,
  the magistrates or associate judges appointed by the judges of the
  district courts of Lubbock County, Nolan County, or Webb County,
  the magistrates appointed by the judges of the criminal district
  courts of Dallas County or Tarrant County, the associate judges 
  [masters] appointed by the judges of the district courts and the
  county courts at law that give preference to criminal cases in
  Jefferson County, the associate judges [magistrates] appointed by
  the judges of the district courts and the statutory county courts of
  Brazos County, Nueces County, or Williamson County, the magistrates
  appointed by the judges of the district courts and statutory county
  courts that give preference to criminal cases in Travis County, the
  criminal magistrates appointed by the Brazoria County
  Commissioners Court, the county judges, the judges of the county
  courts at law, judges of the county criminal courts, the judges of
  statutory probate courts, the associate judges appointed by the
  judges of the statutory probate courts under [Subchapter G,]
  Chapter 54A [54], Government Code, the associate judges appointed
  by the judge of a district court under Chapter 54A [Subchapter II,
  Chapter 54], Government Code, the justices of the peace, and the
  mayors and recorders and the judges of the municipal courts of
  incorporated cities or towns.
         (b)  If H.B. No. 2132, Acts of the 82nd Legislature, Regular
  Session, 2011, becomes law and H.B. No. 3844, Acts of the 82nd
  Legislature, Regular Session, 2011, does not become law, Article
  2.09, Code of Criminal Procedure, as effective June 2011, is
  amended to read as follows:
         Art. 2.09.  WHO ARE MAGISTRATES. Each of the following
  officers is a magistrate within the meaning of this Code:  The
  justices of the Supreme Court, the judges of the Court of Criminal
  Appeals, the justices of the Courts of Appeals, the judges of the
  District Court, the magistrates appointed by the judges of the
  district courts of Bexar County, Dallas County, or Tarrant County
  that give preference to criminal cases, the criminal law hearing
  officers for Harris County appointed under Subchapter L, Chapter
  54, Government Code, the criminal law hearing officers for Cameron
  County appointed under Subchapter BB, Chapter 54, Government Code,
  the magistrates or associate judges appointed by the judges of the
  district courts of Lubbock County, Nolan County, or Webb County,
  the magistrates appointed by the judges of the criminal district
  courts of Dallas County or Tarrant County, the associate judges 
  [masters] appointed by the judges of the district courts and the
  county courts at law that give preference to criminal cases in
  Jefferson County, the associate judges [magistrates] appointed by
  the judges of the district courts and the statutory county courts of
  Brazos County, Nueces County, or Williamson County, the magistrates
  appointed by the judges of the district courts and statutory county
  courts that give preference to criminal cases in Travis County, the
  criminal magistrates appointed by the Brazoria County
  Commissioners Court, the county judges, the judges of the county
  courts at law, judges of the county criminal courts, the judges of
  statutory probate courts, the associate judges appointed by the
  judges of the statutory probate courts under [Subchapter G,]
  Chapter 54A [54], Government Code, the associate judges appointed
  by the judge of a district court under Chapter 54A [Subchapter II,
  Chapter 54], Government Code, the magistrates appointed under
  Subchapter JJ, Chapter 54, Government Code, the justices of the
  peace, and the mayors and recorders and the judges of the municipal
  courts of incorporated cities or towns.
         (c)  If H.B. No. 3844, Acts of the 82nd Legislature, Regular
  Session, 2011, becomes law and H.B. No. 2132, Acts of the 82nd
  Legislature, Regular Session, 2011, does not become law, Article
  2.09, Code of Criminal Procedure, as effective June 2011, is
  amended to read as follows:
         Art. 2.09.  WHO ARE MAGISTRATES. Each of the following
  officers is a magistrate within the meaning of this Code:  The
  justices of the Supreme Court, the judges of the Court of Criminal
  Appeals, the justices of the Courts of Appeals, the judges of the
  District Court, the magistrates appointed by the judges of the
  district courts of Bexar County, Dallas County, or Tarrant County
  that give preference to criminal cases, the criminal law hearing
  officers for Harris County appointed under Subchapter L, Chapter
  54, Government Code, the criminal law hearing officers for Cameron
  County appointed under Subchapter BB, Chapter 54, Government Code,
  the magistrates or associate judges appointed by the judges of the
  district courts of Lubbock County, Nolan County, or Webb County,
  the magistrates appointed by the judges of the criminal district
  courts of Dallas County or Tarrant County, the associate judges 
  [masters] appointed by the judges of the district courts and the
  county courts at law that give preference to criminal cases in
  Jefferson County, the associate judges [magistrates] appointed by
  the judges of the district courts and the statutory county courts of
  Brazos County, Nueces County, or Williamson County, the magistrates
  appointed by the judges of the district courts and statutory county
  courts that give preference to criminal cases in Travis County, the
  criminal magistrates appointed by the Brazoria County
  Commissioners Court, the criminal magistrates appointed by the
  Burnet County Commissioners Court, the county judges, the judges of
  the county courts at law, judges of the county criminal courts, the
  judges of statutory probate courts, the associate judges appointed
  by the judges of the statutory probate courts under [Subchapter G,]
  Chapter 54A [54], Government Code, the associate judges appointed
  by the judge of a district court under Chapter 54A [Subchapter II,
  Chapter 54], Government Code, the justices of the peace, and the
  mayors and recorders and the judges of the municipal courts of
  incorporated cities or towns.
         (d)  If H.B. No. 2132 and H.B. No. 3844, Acts of the 82nd
  Legislature, Regular Session, 2011, become law, Article 2.09, Code
  of Criminal Procedure, as effective June 2011, is amended to read as
  follows:
         Art. 2.09.  WHO ARE MAGISTRATES. Each of the following
  officers is a magistrate within the meaning of this Code:  The
  justices of the Supreme Court, the judges of the Court of Criminal
  Appeals, the justices of the Courts of Appeals, the judges of the
  District Court, the magistrates appointed by the judges of the
  district courts of Bexar County, Dallas County, or Tarrant County
  that give preference to criminal cases, the criminal law hearing
  officers for Harris County appointed under Subchapter L, Chapter
  54, Government Code, the criminal law hearing officers for Cameron
  County appointed under Subchapter BB, Chapter 54, Government Code,
  the magistrates or associate judges appointed by the judges of the
  district courts of Lubbock County, Nolan County, or Webb County,
  the magistrates appointed by the judges of the criminal district
  courts of Dallas County or Tarrant County, the associate judges 
  [masters] appointed by the judges of the district courts and the
  county courts at law that give preference to criminal cases in
  Jefferson County, the associate judges [magistrates] appointed by
  the judges of the district courts and the statutory county courts of
  Brazos County, Nueces County, or Williamson County, the magistrates
  appointed by the judges of the district courts and statutory county
  courts that give preference to criminal cases in Travis County, the
  criminal magistrates appointed by the Brazoria County
  Commissioners Court, the criminal magistrates appointed by the
  Burnet County Commissioners Court, the county judges, the judges of
  the county courts at law, judges of the county criminal courts, the
  judges of statutory probate courts, the associate judges appointed
  by the judges of the statutory probate courts under [Subchapter G,]
  Chapter 54A [54], Government Code, the associate judges appointed
  by the judge of a district court under Chapter 54A [Subchapter II,
  Chapter 54], Government Code, the magistrates appointed under
  Subchapter JJ, Chapter 54, Government Code, as added by H.B. No.
  2132, Acts of the 82nd Legislature, Regular Session, 2011, the
  justices of the peace, and the mayors and recorders and the judges
  of the municipal courts of incorporated cities or towns.
         SECTION 6.07.  Subsection (d), Article 102.017, Code of
  Criminal Procedure, is amended to read as follows:
         (d)  Except as provided by Subsection (d-2), the clerks of
  the respective courts shall collect the costs and pay them to the
  county or municipal treasurer, as appropriate, or to any other
  official who discharges the duties commonly delegated to the county
  or municipal treasurer, as appropriate, for deposit in a fund to be
  known as the courthouse security fund or a fund to be known as the
  municipal court building security fund, as appropriate.  Money
  deposited in a courthouse security fund may be used only for
  security personnel, services, and items related to buildings that
  house the operations of district, county, or justice courts, and
  money deposited in a municipal court building security fund may be
  used only for security personnel, services, and items related to
  buildings that house the operations of municipal courts.  For
  purposes of this subsection, operations of a district, county, or
  justice court include the activities of associate judges, masters,
  magistrates, referees, hearing officers, criminal law magistrate
  court judges, and masters in chancery appointed under:
               (1)  Section 61.311, Alcoholic Beverage Code;
               (2)  Section 51.04(g) or Chapter 201, Family Code;
               (3)  Section 574.0085, Health and Safety Code;
               (4)  Section 33.71, Tax Code;
               (5)  Chapter 54A [Chapter 54], Government Code; or
               (6)  Rule 171, Texas Rules of Civil Procedure.
         SECTION 6.08.  Subsection (a), Section 54.10, Family Code,
  is amended to read as follows:
         (a)  Except as provided by Subsection (e), a hearing under
  Section 54.03, 54.04, or 54.05, including a jury trial, a hearing
  under Chapter 55, including a jury trial, or a hearing under the
  Interstate Compact for Juveniles (Chapter 60) may be held by a
  referee appointed in accordance with Section 51.04(g) or an
  associate judge [a master] appointed under Chapter 54A [54],
  Government Code, provided:
               (1)  the parties have been informed by the referee or
  associate judge [master] that they are entitled to have the hearing
  before the juvenile court judge; and
               (2)  after each party is given an opportunity to
  object, no party objects to holding the hearing before the referee
  or associate judge [master].
         SECTION 6.09.  A magistrate, master, referee, associate
  judge, or hearing officer appointed as provided by Subchapters A,
  B, C, E, F, I, O, P, S, T, U, V, X, CC, FF, and II, Chapter 54,
  Government Code, before the effective date of this Act, continues
  to serve as an associate judge under Chapter 54A, Government Code,
  as added by this article, with the powers and duties provided by
  that chapter, provided the court for which the magistrate, master,
  referee, associate judge, or hearing officer serves has authority
  to appoint an associate judge under Chapter 54A, Government Code.
         SECTION 6.10.  The changes in law made by this article apply
  to a matter referred to an associate judge on or after the effective
  date of this article. A matter referred to an associate judge
  before the effective date of this article is governed by the law in
  effect on the date the matter was referred to the associate judge,
  and the former law is continued in effect for that purpose.
         SECTION 6.11.  The following subchapters of Chapter 54,
  Government Code, are repealed:
               (1)  Subchapter A;
               (2)  Subchapter B;
               (3)  Subchapter C;
               (4)  Subchapter E;
               (5)  Subchapter F;
               (6)  Subchapter I;
               (7)  Subchapter O;
               (8)  Subchapter P;
               (9)  Subchapter S;
               (10)  Subchapter T;
               (11)  Subchapter U;
               (12)  Subchapter V;
               (13)  Subchapter X;
               (14)  Subchapter CC;
               (15)  Subchapter FF; and
               (16)  Subchapter II.
  ARTICLE 7.  COURT ADMINISTRATION
         SECTION 7.01.  Section 74.005, Government Code, is amended
  to read as follows:
         Sec. 74.005.  APPOINTMENT OF [REGIONAL] PRESIDING JUDGES OF
  ADMINISTRATIVE JUDICIAL REGIONS.  (a)  The governor, with the
  advice and consent of the senate, shall appoint one judge in each
  administrative judicial region as presiding judge of the region.
         (b)  On the death, resignation, removal, or expiration of the
  term of office of a presiding judge, the governor immediately shall
  appoint or reappoint a presiding judge.
         SECTION 7.02.  Section 74.050, Government Code, is amended
  to read as follows:
         Sec. 74.050.  SUPPORT STAFF [ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT].  (a)  
  The presiding judge may employ, directly or through a contract with
  another governmental entity, a full-time or part-time
  administrative assistant.
         (b)  An administrative assistant [must have the
  qualifications established by rule of the supreme court.
         [(c)  An administrative assistant] shall aid the presiding
  judge in carrying out the judge's duties under this chapter. The
  administrative assistant shall:
               (1)  perform the duties that are required by the
  presiding judge and by the rules of administration;
               (2)  conduct correspondence for the presiding judge;
               (3)  under the direction of the presiding judge, make
  an annual report of the activities of the administrative region and
  special reports as provided by the rules of administration to the
  supreme court, which shall be made in the manner directed by the
  supreme court; and
               (4)  attend to other matters that are prescribed by the
  council of judges.
         (c) [(d)]  An administrative assistant, with the approval of
  the presiding judge, may purchase the necessary office equipment,
  stamps, stationery, and supplies and employ additional personnel as
  authorized by the presiding judge.
         (d) [(e)]  An administrative assistant is entitled to
  receive the compensation from the state provided by the General
  Appropriations Act, from county funds, or from any public or
  private grant.
         SECTION 7.03.  Subsection (c), Section 74.093, Government
  Code, is amended to read as follows:
         (c)  The rules may provide for:
               (1)  the selection and authority of a presiding judge
  of the courts giving preference to a specified class of cases, such
  as civil, criminal, juvenile, or family law cases;
               (2)  other strategies for managing cases that require
  special judicial attention;
               (3) [(2)]  a coordinated response for the transaction
  of essential judicial functions in the event of a disaster; and
               (4) [(3)]  any other matter necessary to carry out this
  chapter or to improve the administration and management of the
  court system and its auxiliary services.
         SECTION 7.04.  (a)  If S.B. No. 1198, Acts of the 82nd
  Legislature, Regular Session, 2011, does not become law, Section
  74.141, Government Code, is amended to read as follows:
         Sec. 74.141.  DEFENSE OF JUDGES. The attorney general shall
  defend a state district judge, a presiding judge of an
  administrative region, the presiding judge of the statutory probate
  courts, or an active, retired, or former judge assigned under this
  chapter in any action or suit in any court in which the judge is a
  defendant because of his office as judge if the judge requests the
  attorney general's assistance in the defense of the suit.
         (b)  If S.B. No. 1198, Acts of the 82nd Legislature, Regular
  Session, 2011, does not become law, Section 74.141, Government
  Code, as amended by this Act, applies to a cause of action filed on
  or after the effective date of this Act. A cause of action filed
  before the effective date of this Act is governed by the law in
  effect immediately before the effective date of this Act, and that
  law is continued in effect for that purpose.
         (c)  If S.B. No. 1198, Acts of the 82nd Legislature, Regular
  Session, 2011, becomes law, this section has no effect.
         SECTION 7.05.  Chapter 74, Government Code, is amended by
  adding Subchapter J to read as follows:
  SUBCHAPTER J.  ADDITIONAL RESOURCES FOR CERTAIN CASES
         Sec. 74.251.  APPLICABILITY OF SUBCHAPTER.  This subchapter
  does not apply to:
               (1)  a criminal matter;
               (2)  a case in which judicial review is sought under
  Subchapter G, Chapter 2001; or
               (3)  a case that has been transferred by the judicial
  panel on multidistrict litigation to a district court for
  consolidated or coordinated pretrial proceedings under Subchapter
  H.
         Sec. 74.252.  RULES TO GUIDE DETERMINATION OF WHETHER CASE
  REQUIRES ADDITIONAL RESOURCES. (a)  The supreme court shall adopt
  rules under which courts, presiding judges of the administrative
  judicial regions, and the judicial committee for additional
  resources may determine whether a case requires additional
  resources to ensure efficient judicial management of the case.
         (b)  In developing the rules, the supreme court shall include
  considerations regarding whether a case involves or is likely to
  involve:
               (1)  a large number of parties who are separately
  represented by counsel;
               (2)  coordination with related actions pending in one
  or more courts in other counties of this state or in one or more
  United States district courts;
               (3)  numerous pretrial motions that present difficult
  or novel legal issues that will be time-consuming to resolve;
               (4)  a large number of witnesses or substantial
  documentary evidence;
               (5)  substantial postjudgment supervision;
               (6)  a trial that will last more than four weeks; and
               (7)  a substantial additional burden on the trial
  court's docket and the resources available to the trial court to
  hear the case.
         Sec. 74.253.  JUDICIAL DETERMINATION. (a)  On the motion of
  a party in a case, or on the court's own motion, the judge of the
  court in which the case is pending shall review the case and
  determine whether, under rules adopted by the supreme court under
  Section 74.252, the case will require additional resources to
  ensure efficient judicial management.  The judge is not required to
  conduct an evidentiary hearing for purposes of making the
  determination but may, in the judge's discretion, direct the
  attorneys for the parties to the case and the parties to appear
  before the judge for a conference to provide information to assist
  the judge in making the determination.
         (b)  On determining that a case will require additional
  resources as provided by Subsection (a), the judge shall:
               (1)  notify the presiding judge of the administrative
  judicial region in which the court is located about the case; and
               (2)  request any specific additional resources that are
  needed, including the assignment of a judge under this chapter.
         (c)  If the presiding judge of the administrative judicial
  region agrees that, in accordance with the rules adopted by the
  supreme court under Section 74.252, the case will require
  additional resources to ensure efficient judicial management, the
  presiding judge shall:
               (1)  use resources previously allotted to the presiding
  judge; or
               (2)  submit a request for specific additional resources
  to the judicial committee for additional resources.
         Sec. 74.254.  JUDICIAL COMMITTEE FOR ADDITIONAL RESOURCES.  
  (a)  The judicial committee for additional resources is composed
  of:
               (1)  the chief justice of the supreme court; and
               (2)  the nine presiding judges of the administrative
  judicial regions.
         (b)  The chief justice of the supreme court serves as
  presiding officer.  The office of court administration shall
  provide staff support to the committee.
         (c)  On receipt of a request for additional resources from a
  presiding judge of an administrative judicial region under Section
  74.253, the committee shall determine whether the case that is the
  subject of the request requires additional resources in accordance
  with the rules adopted under Section 74.252. If the committee
  determines that the case does require additional resources, the
  committee shall make available the resources requested by the trial
  judge to the extent funds are available for those resources under
  the General Appropriations Act and to the extent the committee
  determines the requested resources are appropriate to the
  circumstances of the case.
         (d)  Subject to Subsections (c) and (f), additional
  resources the committee may make available under this section
  include:
               (1)  the assignment of an active or retired judge under
  this chapter, subject to the consent of the judge of the court in
  which the case for which the resources are provided is pending;
               (2)  additional legal, administrative, or clerical
  personnel;
               (3)  information and communication technology,
  including case management software, video teleconferencing, and
  specially designed courtroom presentation hardware or software to
  facilitate presentation of the evidence to the trier of fact;
               (4)  specialized continuing legal education;
               (5)  an associate judge;
               (6)  special accommodations or furnishings for the
  parties;
               (7)  other services or items determined necessary to
  try the case; and
               (8)  any other resources the committee considers
  appropriate.
         (e)  Notwithstanding any provision of Subchapter C, a
  justice or judge to whom Section 74.053(d) applies may not be
  assigned under Subsection (d).
         (f)  The judicial committee for additional resources may not
  provide additional resources under this subchapter in an amount
  that is more than the amount appropriated for this purpose.
         Sec. 74.255.  COST OF ADDITIONAL RESOURCES. The cost of
  additional resources provided for a case under this subchapter
  shall be paid by the state and may not be taxed against any party in
  the case for which the resources are provided or against the county
  in which the case is pending.
         Sec. 74.256.  NO STAY OR CONTINUANCE PENDING DETERMINATION.
  The filing of a motion under Section 74.253 in a case is not grounds
  for a stay or continuance of the proceedings in the case in the
  court in which the case is pending during the period the motion or
  request is being considered by:
               (1)  the judge of that court;
               (2)  the presiding judge of the administrative judicial
  region; or
               (3)  the judicial committee for additional resources.
         Sec. 74.257.  APPELLATE REVIEW. A determination made by a
  trial court judge, the presiding judge of an administrative
  judicial region, or the judicial committee for additional resources
  under this subchapter is not appealable or subject to review by
  mandamus.
         SECTION 7.06.  (a)  The Texas Supreme Court shall request
  the president of the State Bar of Texas to appoint a task force to
  consider and make recommendations regarding the rules for
  determining whether civil cases pending in trial courts require
  additional resources for efficient judicial management required by
  Section 74.252, Government Code, as added by this article. The
  president of the State Bar of Texas shall ensure that the task force
  has diverse representation and includes judges of trial courts and
  attorneys licensed to practice law in this state who regularly
  appear in civil cases before courts in this state. The task force
  shall provide recommendations on the rules to the Texas Supreme
  Court not later than March 1, 2012.
         (b)  The Texas Supreme Court shall:
               (1)  consider the recommendations of the task force
  provided as required by Subsection (a) of this section; and
               (2)  adopt the rules required by Section 74.252,
  Government Code, as added by this article, not later than May 1,
  2012.
         SECTION 7.07.  The changes in law made by this article apply
  to cases pending on or after May 1, 2012.
  ARTICLE 8. GRANT PROGRAMS
         SECTION 8.01.  Subchapter C, Chapter 72, Government Code, is
  amended by adding Section 72.029 to read as follows:
         Sec. 72.029.  GRANTS FOR COURT SYSTEM ENHANCEMENTS. (a)  The
  office shall develop and administer, except as provided by
  Subsection (c), a program to provide grants from available funds to
  counties for initiatives that will enhance their court systems or
  otherwise carry out the purposes of this chapter.
         (b)  To be eligible for a grant under this section, a county
  must:
               (1)  use the grant money to implement initiatives that
  will enhance the county's court system, including grants to develop
  programs to more efficiently manage cases that require special
  judicial attention, or otherwise carry out the purposes of this
  chapter; and
               (2)  apply for the grant in accordance with procedures
  developed by the office and comply with any other requirements of
  the office.
         (c)  The judicial committee for additional resources shall
  determine whether to award a grant to a county that meets the
  eligibility requirements prescribed by Subsection (b).
         (d)  If the judicial committee for additional resources
  awards a grant to a county, the office shall:
               (1)  direct the comptroller to distribute the grant
  money to the county; and
               (2)  monitor the county's use of the grant money.
         (e)  The office may accept gifts, grants, and donations for
  purposes of this section. The office may not use state funds to
  provide a grant under this section or to administer the grant
  program.
         SECTION 8.02.  Subchapter A, Chapter 22, Government Code, is
  amended by adding Section 22.017 to read as follows:
         Sec. 22.017.  GRANTS FOR CHILD PROTECTION. (a)  In this
  section, "commission" means the Permanent Judicial Commission for
  Children, Youth and Families established by the supreme court.
         (b)  The commission shall develop and administer a program to
  provide grants from available funds for initiatives that will
  improve safety and permanency outcomes, enhance due process, or
  increase the timeliness of resolution in child protection cases.
         (c)  To be eligible for a grant under this section, a
  prospective recipient must:
               (1)  use the grant money to improve safety or
  permanency outcomes, enhance due process, or increase timeliness of
  resolution in child protection cases; and
               (2)  apply for the grant in accordance with procedures
  developed by the commission and comply with any other requirements
  of the supreme court.
         (d)  If the commission awards a grant, the commission shall:
               (1)  direct the comptroller to distribute the grant
  money; and
               (2)  monitor the use of the grant money.
         (e)  The commission may accept gifts, grants, and donations
  for purposes of this section. The commission may not use state
  funds to provide a grant under this section or to administer the
  grant program.
  ARTICLE 9.  VEXATIOUS LITIGANTS
         SECTION 9.01.  Subdivision (3), Section 11.001, Civil
  Practice and Remedies Code, is amended to read as follows:
               (3)  "Local administrative judge" means a local
  administrative district judge, a local administrative statutory
  probate court judge, or a local administrative statutory county
  court judge.
         SECTION 9.02.  Section 11.101, Civil Practice and Remedies
  Code, is amended by adding Subsection (c) to read as follows:
         (c)  A litigant may appeal from a prefiling order entered
  under Subsection (a) designating the person a vexatious litigant.
         SECTION 9.03.  Section 11.102, Civil Practice and Remedies
  Code, is amended by adding Subsection (c) to read as follows:
         (c)  A decision of a local administrative judge denying a
  litigant permission to file a litigation under Subsection (a), or
  conditioning permission to file a litigation on the furnishing of
  security under Subsection (b), is not grounds for appeal, except
  that the litigant may apply for a writ of mandamus with the court of
  appeals not later than the 30th day after the date of the decision.
  The denial of a writ of mandamus by the court of appeals is not
  grounds for appeal to the supreme court or court of criminal
  appeals.
         SECTION 9.04.  Section 11.103, Civil Practice and Remedies
  Code, is amended by amending Subsection (a) and adding Subsection
  (d) to read as follows:
         (a)  Except as provided by Subsection (d), a [A] clerk of a
  court may not file a litigation, original proceeding, appeal, or
  other claim presented by a vexatious litigant subject to a
  prefiling order under Section 11.101 unless the litigant obtains an
  order from the local administrative judge permitting the filing.
         (d)  A clerk of a court of appeals may file an appeal from a
  prefiling order entered under Section 11.101 designating a person a
  vexatious litigant or a timely filed writ of mandamus under Section
  11.102(c).
         SECTION 9.05.  Section 11.104, Civil Practice and Remedies
  Code, is amended to read as follows:
         Sec. 11.104.  NOTICE TO OFFICE OF COURT ADMINISTRATION;
  DISSEMINATION OF LIST.  (a)  A clerk of a court shall provide the
  Office of Court Administration of the Texas Judicial System a copy
  of any prefiling order issued under Section 11.101 not later than
  the 30th day after the date the prefiling order is signed.
         (b)  The Office of Court Administration of the Texas Judicial
  System shall post on the agency's Internet website [maintain] a
  list of vexatious litigants subject to prefiling orders under
  Section 11.101 [and shall annually send the list to the clerks of
  the courts of this state]. On request of a person designated a
  vexatious litigant, the list shall indicate whether the person
  designated a vexatious litigant has filed an appeal of that
  designation.
         SECTION 9.06.  The posting, before the effective date of
  this article, of the name of a person designated a vexatious
  litigant under Chapter 11, Civil Practice and Remedies Code, on a
  list of vexatious litigants on the Internet website of the Office of
  Court Administration of the Texas Judicial System is not:
               (1)  grounds for a cause of action;
               (2)  a defense against a finding that a plaintiff is a
  vexatious litigant under Chapter 11, Civil Practice and Remedies
  Code; or
               (3)  grounds for relief or appeal from a stay, order, or
  dismissal or any other action taken by a court or a clerk of a court
  under Chapter 11, Civil Practice and Remedies Code.
  ARTICLE 10.  STUDY BY OFFICE OF COURT ADMINISTRATION OF TEXAS
  JUDICIAL SYSTEM
         SECTION 10.01.  In this article, "office of court
  administration" means the Office of Court Administration of the
  Texas Judicial System.
         SECTION 10.02.  (a)  The office of court administration
  shall study the district courts and statutory county courts of this
  state to determine overlapping jurisdiction in civil cases in which
  the amount in controversy is more than $200,000.  The study must
  determine the feasibility, efficiency, and potential cost of
  converting to district courts those statutory county courts with
  jurisdiction in civil cases in which the amount in controversy is
  more than $200,000.
         (b)  Not later than January 1, 2013, the office of court
  administration shall submit a report regarding the determinations
  made by the office relating to statutory county courts to the
  governor, the lieutenant governor, the speaker of the house of
  representatives, the chairs of the standing committees of the
  senate and house of representatives with primary jurisdiction over
  the judicial system, and the commissioners court of any county with
  a statutory county court with jurisdiction in civil cases in which
  the amount in controversy is more than $200,000.
         (c)  The office of court administration may accept gifts,
  grants, and donations to conduct the study under this section. The
  office of court administration may not use state funds to conduct
  the study and, notwithstanding Subsection (a) of this section, is
  required to conduct the study only to the extent gifts, grants, and
  donations are available for that purpose.
  ARTICLE 11.  SUITS AFFECTING THE PARENT-CHILD RELATIONSHIP
         SECTION 11.01.  Section 263.601, Family Code, is amended by
  amending Subdivision (1) and adding Subdivision (3-a) to read as
  follows:
               (1)  "Foster care" means a voluntary residential living
  arrangement with a foster parent or other residential child-care
  provider that is:
                     (A)  licensed or approved by the department or
  verified by a licensed child-placing agency; and
                     (B)  paid under a contract with the department.
               (3-a)  "Trial independence period" means a period of
  not less than six months, or a longer period as a court may order not
  to exceed 12 months, during which a young adult exits foster care
  with the option to return to foster care under the continuing
  extended jurisdiction of the court.
         SECTION 11.02.  Section 263.602, Family Code, is amended to
  read as follows:
         Sec. 263.602.  EXTENDED JURISDICTION. (a) A court that had
  continuing, exclusive jurisdiction over a young adult on the day
  before [may, at] the young adult's 18th birthday continues to have
  extended [request, render an order that extends the court's]
  jurisdiction over the young adult and shall retain the case on the
  court's docket while the young adult remains in extended foster
  care and during a trial independence period described [as provided]
  by this section [subchapter].
         (b)  A court with extended jurisdiction over a young adult
  who remains in extended foster care shall conduct extended foster
  care review hearings every six months for the purpose of reviewing
  and making findings regarding:
               (1)  whether the young adult's living arrangement is
  safe and appropriate and whether the department has made reasonable
  efforts to place the young adult in the least restrictive
  environment necessary to meet the young adult's needs;
               (2)  whether the department is making reasonable
  efforts to finalize the permanency plan that is in effect for the
  young adult, including a permanency plan for independent living;
               (3)  whether, for a young adult whose permanency plan
  is independent living:
                     (A)  the young adult participated in the
  development of the plan of service;
                     (B)  the young adult's plan of service reflects
  the independent living skills and appropriate services needed to
  achieve independence by the projected date; and
                     (C)  the young adult continues to make reasonable
  progress in developing the skills needed to achieve independence by
  the projected date; and
               (4)  whether additional services that the department is
  authorized to provide are needed to meet the needs of the young
  adult [The extended jurisdiction of the court terminates on the
  earlier of:
               [(1)  the young adult's 21st birthday; or
               [(2)     the date the young adult withdraws consent to the
  extension of the court's jurisdiction in writing or in court].
         (c)  Not later than the 10th day before the date set for a
  hearing under this section, the department shall file with the
  court a copy of the young adult's plan of service and a report that
  addresses the issues described by Subsection (b).
         (d)  Notice of an extended foster care review hearing shall
  be given as provided by Rule 21a, Texas Rules of Civil Procedure, to
  the following persons, each of whom has a right to present evidence
  and be heard at the hearing:
               (1)  the young adult who is the subject of the suit;
               (2)  the department;
               (3)  the foster parent with whom the young adult is
  placed and the administrator of a child-placing agency responsible
  for placing the young adult, if applicable;
               (4)  the director of the residential child-care
  facility or other approved provider with whom the young adult is
  placed, if applicable;
               (5)  each parent of the young adult whose parental
  rights have not been terminated and who is still actively involved
  in the life of the young adult;
               (6)  a legal guardian of the young adult, if
  applicable; and
               (7)  the young adult's attorney ad litem, guardian ad
  litem, and volunteer advocate, the appointment of which has not
  been previously dismissed by the court.
         (e)  If, after reviewing the young adult's plan of service
  and the report filed under Subsection (c), and any additional
  testimony and evidence presented at the review hearing, the court
  determines that the young adult is entitled to additional services,
  the court may order the department to take appropriate action to
  ensure that the young adult receives those services.
         (f)  A court with extended jurisdiction over a young adult as
  described in Subsection (a) shall continue to have jurisdiction
  over the young adult and shall retain the case on the court's docket
  until the earlier of:
               (1)  the last day of the:
                     (A)  sixth month after the date the young adult
  leaves foster care; or
                     (B)  12th month after the date the young adult
  leaves foster care if specified in a court order, for the purpose of
  allowing the young adult to pursue a trial independence period; or
               (2)  the young adult's 21st birthday.
         (g)  A court with extended jurisdiction described by this
  section is not required to conduct periodic hearings for a young
  adult during a trial independence period and may not compel a young
  adult who has exited foster care to attend a court hearing.
         SECTION 11.03.  Subchapter G, Chapter 263, Family Code, is
  amended by adding Section 263.6021 to read as follows:
         Sec. 263.6021.  VOLUNTARY EXTENDED JURISDICTION FOR YOUNG
  ADULT RECEIVING TRANSITIONAL LIVING SERVICES.
  (a)  Notwithstanding Section 263.602, a court that had continuing,
  exclusive jurisdiction over a young adult on the day before the
  young adult's 18th birthday may, at the young adult's request,
  render an order that extends the court's jurisdiction beyond the
  end of a trial independence period if the young adult receives
  transitional living services from the department.
         (b)  The extended jurisdiction of the court under this
  section terminates on the earlier of:
               (1)  the young adult's 21st birthday; or
               (2)  the date the young adult withdraws consent to the
  extension of the court's jurisdiction in writing or in court.
         (c)  At the request of a young adult who is receiving
  transitional living services from the department and who consents
  to voluntary extension of the court's jurisdiction under this
  section, the court may hold a hearing to review the services the
  young adult is receiving.
         (d)  Before a review hearing scheduled under this section,
  the department must file with the court a report summarizing the
  young adult's transitional living services plan, services being
  provided to the young adult under that plan, and the young adult's
  progress in achieving independence.
         (e)  If, after reviewing the report and any additional
  testimony and evidence presented at the hearing, the court
  determines that the young adult is entitled to additional services,
  the court may order the department to take appropriate action to
  ensure that the young adult receives those services.
         SECTION 11.04.  Subsections (a) and (c), Section 263.603,
  Family Code, are amended to read as follows:
         (a)  Notwithstanding Section 263.6021 [263.602], if the
  court believes that a young adult may be incapacitated as defined by
  Section 601(14)(B), Texas Probate Code, the court may extend its
  jurisdiction on its own motion without the young adult's consent to
  allow the department to refer the young adult to the Department of
  Aging and Disability Services for guardianship services as required
  by Section 48.209, Human Resources Code.
         (c)  If the Department of Aging and Disability Services
  determines a guardianship is not appropriate, or the court with
  probate jurisdiction denies the application to appoint a guardian,
  the court under Subsection (a) may continue to extend its
  jurisdiction over the young adult only as provided by Section
  263.602 or 263.6021.
         SECTION 11.05.  Section 263.609, Family Code, is repealed.
         SECTION 11.06.  This article takes effect immediately if
  this Act receives a vote of two-thirds of all the members elected to
  each house, as provided by Section 39, Article III, Texas
  Constitution. If this Act does not receive the vote necessary for
  immediate effect, this article takes effect on the 91st day after
  the last day of the legislative session.
  ARTICLE 12.  INMATE LITIGATION
         SECTION 12.01.  Subsection (a), Section 14.002, Civil
  Practice and Remedies Code, is amended to read as follows:
         (a)  This chapter applies only to an action, including an
  appeal or original proceeding, [a suit] brought by an inmate in a
  district, county, justice of the peace, or small claims court or an
  appellate court, including the supreme court or the court of
  criminal appeals, in which an affidavit or unsworn declaration of
  inability to pay costs is filed by the inmate.
         SECTION 12.02.  Subsections (a) and (b), Section 14.004,
  Civil Practice and Remedies Code, are amended to read as follows:
         (a)  An inmate who files an affidavit or unsworn declaration
  of inability to pay costs shall file a separate affidavit or
  declaration:
               (1)  identifying each action [suit], other than an
  action [a suit] under the Family Code, previously brought by the
  person and in which the person was not represented by an attorney,
  without regard to whether the person was an inmate at the time the
  action [suit] was brought; and
               (2)  describing each action [suit] that was previously
  brought by:
                     (A)  stating the operative facts for which relief
  was sought;
                     (B)  listing the case name, cause number, and the
  court in which the action [suit] was brought;
                     (C)  identifying each party named in the action
  [suit]; and
                     (D)  stating the result of the action [suit],
  including whether the action or a claim that was a basis for the
  action [suit] was dismissed as frivolous or malicious under Section
  13.001 or Section 14.003 or otherwise.
         (b)  If the affidavit or unsworn declaration filed under this
  section states that a previous action or claim [suit] was dismissed
  as frivolous or malicious, the affidavit or unsworn declaration
  must state the date of the final order affirming the dismissal.
         SECTION 12.03.  Subsection (a), Section 14.007, Civil
  Practice and Remedies Code, is amended to read as follows:
         (a)  An order of a court under Section 14.006(a) shall
  include the costs described by Subsection (b) if the court finds
  that:
               (1)  the inmate has previously filed an action to which
  this chapter applies [in a district, county, justice of the peace,
  or small claims court]; and
               (2)  a final order has been issued that affirms that the
  action was dismissed as frivolous or malicious under Section 13.001
  or Section 14.003 or otherwise.
         SECTION 12.04.  The change in law made by this article
  applies only to an action brought on or after the effective date of
  this Act. An action brought before the effective date of this Act is
  governed by the law in effect immediately before the effective date
  of this Act, and that law is continued in effect for that purpose.
  ARTICLE 13.  PROVISIONS RELATED TO EXEMPTING CERTAIN JUDICIAL
  OFFICERS FROM CERTAIN CONCEALED HANDGUN LICENSING REQUIREMENTS
         SECTION 13.01.  Subdivision (1), Subsection (a), Section
  411.201, Government Code, is amended to read as follows:
               (1)  "Active judicial officer" means:
                     (A)  a person serving as a judge or justice of the
  supreme court, the court of criminal appeals, a court of appeals, a
  district court, a criminal district court, a constitutional county
  court, a statutory county court, a justice court, or a municipal
  court; [or]
                     (B)  a federal judge who is a resident of this
  state; or
                     (C)  a person appointed and serving as an
  associate judge under Chapter 201, Family Code.
         SECTION 13.02.  (a)  If H.B. No. 242, Acts of the 82nd
  Legislature, Regular Session, 2011, does not become law, Subsection
  (a), Section 46.15, Penal Code, is amended to read as follows:
         (a)  Sections 46.02 and 46.03 do not apply to:
               (1)  peace officers or special investigators under
  Article 2.122, Code of Criminal Procedure, and neither section
  prohibits a peace officer or special investigator from carrying a
  weapon in this state, including in an establishment in this state
  serving the public, regardless of whether the peace officer or
  special investigator is engaged in the actual discharge of the
  officer's or investigator's duties while carrying the weapon;
               (2)  parole officers and neither section prohibits an
  officer from carrying a weapon in this state if the officer is:
                     (A)  engaged in the actual discharge of the
  officer's duties while carrying the weapon; and
                     (B)  in compliance with policies and procedures
  adopted by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice regarding the
  possession of a weapon by an officer while on duty;
               (3)  community supervision and corrections department
  officers appointed or employed under Section 76.004, Government
  Code, and neither section prohibits an officer from carrying a
  weapon in this state if the officer is:
                     (A)  engaged in the actual discharge of the
  officer's duties while carrying the weapon; and
                     (B)  authorized to carry a weapon under Section
  76.0051, Government Code;
               (4)  an active judicial officer as defined by Section
  411.201, Government Code, [a judge or justice of a federal court,
  the supreme court, the court of criminal appeals, a court of
  appeals, a district court, a criminal district court, a
  constitutional county court, a statutory county court, a justice
  court, or a municipal court] who is licensed to carry a concealed
  handgun under Subchapter H, Chapter 411, Government Code;
               (5)  an honorably retired peace officer or federal
  criminal investigator who holds a certificate of proficiency issued
  under Section 1701.357, Occupations Code, and is carrying a photo
  identification that:
                     (A)  verifies that the officer honorably retired
  after not less than 15 years of service as a commissioned officer;
  and
                     (B)  is issued by a state or local law enforcement
  agency;
               (6)  a district attorney, criminal district attorney,
  county attorney, or municipal attorney who is licensed to carry a
  concealed handgun under Subchapter H, Chapter 411, Government Code;
               (7)  an assistant district attorney, assistant
  criminal district attorney, or assistant county attorney who is
  licensed to carry a concealed handgun under Subchapter H, Chapter
  411, Government Code;
               (8)  a bailiff designated by an active judicial officer
  as defined by Section 411.201, Government Code, who is:
                     (A)  licensed to carry a concealed handgun under
  Chapter 411, Government Code; and
                     (B)  engaged in escorting the judicial officer; or
               (9)  a juvenile probation officer who is authorized to
  carry a firearm under Section 142.006, Human Resources Code.
         (b)  If H.B. No. 242, Acts of the 82nd Legislature, Regular
  Session, 2011, becomes law, Subsection (a), Section 46.15, Penal
  Code, as effective September 1, 2011, is amended to read as follows:
         (a)  Sections 46.02 and 46.03 do not apply to:
               (1)  peace officers or special investigators under
  Article 2.122, Code of Criminal Procedure, and neither section
  prohibits a peace officer or special investigator from carrying a
  weapon in this state, including in an establishment in this state
  serving the public, regardless of whether the peace officer or
  special investigator is engaged in the actual discharge of the
  officer's or investigator's duties while carrying the weapon;
               (2)  parole officers and neither section prohibits an
  officer from carrying a weapon in this state if the officer is:
                     (A)  engaged in the actual discharge of the
  officer's duties while carrying the weapon; and
                     (B)  in compliance with policies and procedures
  adopted by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice regarding the
  possession of a weapon by an officer while on duty;
               (3)  community supervision and corrections department
  officers appointed or employed under Section 76.004, Government
  Code, and neither section prohibits an officer from carrying a
  weapon in this state if the officer is:
                     (A)  engaged in the actual discharge of the
  officer's duties while carrying the weapon; and
                     (B)  authorized to carry a weapon under Section
  76.0051, Government Code;
               (4)  an active judicial officer as defined by Section
  411.201, Government Code, [a judge or justice of a federal court,
  the supreme court, the court of criminal appeals, a court of
  appeals, a district court, a criminal district court, a
  constitutional county court, a statutory county court, a justice
  court, or a municipal court] who is licensed to carry a concealed
  handgun under Subchapter H, Chapter 411, Government Code;
               (5)  an honorably retired peace officer, qualified
  retired law enforcement officer, federal criminal investigator, or
  former reserve law enforcement officer who holds a certificate of
  proficiency issued under Section 1701.357, Occupations Code, and is
  carrying a photo identification that is issued by a federal, state,
  or local law enforcement agency, as applicable, and that verifies
  that the officer is:
                     (A)  an honorably retired peace officer;
                     (B)  a qualified retired law enforcement officer;
                     (C)  a federal criminal investigator; or
                     (D)  a former reserve law enforcement officer who
  has served in that capacity not less than a total of 15 years with a
  state or local law enforcement agency;
               (6)  a district attorney, criminal district attorney,
  county attorney, or municipal attorney who is licensed to carry a
  concealed handgun under Subchapter H, Chapter 411, Government Code;
               (7)  an assistant district attorney, assistant
  criminal district attorney, or assistant county attorney who is
  licensed to carry a concealed handgun under Subchapter H, Chapter
  411, Government Code;
               (8)  a bailiff designated by an active judicial officer
  as defined by Section 411.201, Government Code, who is:
                     (A)  licensed to carry a concealed handgun under
  Chapter 411, Government Code; and
                     (B)  engaged in escorting the judicial officer; or
               (9)  a juvenile probation officer who is authorized to
  carry a firearm under Section 142.006, Human Resources Code.
         SECTION 13.03.  The change in law made by this article to
  Section 46.15, Penal Code, applies only to an offense committed on
  or after the effective date of this article. An offense committed
  before the effective date of this article is covered by the law in
  effect when the offense was committed, and the former law is
  continued in effect for that purpose. For purposes of this section,
  an offense was committed before the effective date of this article
  if any element of the offense occurred before that date.
         SECTION 13.04.  This article takes effect on the 91st day
  after the last day of the legislative session.
  ARTICLE 14. COURT COSTS
         SECTION 14.01.  Subsection (b), Section 51.005, Government
  Code, is amended to read as follows:
         (b)  The fees are:
               (1)  application for petition for review [writ of
  error]$ 50
               (2)  additional fee if application for petition for
  review [writ of error] is granted$ 75
               (3)  motion for leave to file petition for writ of
  mandamus, prohibition, injunction, and other similar proceedings
  originating in the supreme court$ 50
               (4)  additional fee if a motion under Subdivision (3)
  is granted$ 75
               (5)  certified question from a federal court of appeals
  to the supreme court$ 75
               (6)  case appealed to the supreme court from the
  district court by direct appeal$100
               (7)  any   other   proceeding   filed   in   the    supreme
  court$ 75.
         SECTION 14.02.  Subsection (a), Section 51.207, Government
  Code, is amended to read as follows:
         (a)  The clerk of a court of appeals shall collect the fees
  described in Subsection (b) in a civil case before the court for the
  following services:
               (1)  filing records, applications, motions, briefs,
  and other necessary and proper papers;
               (2)  docketing and making docket and minute book
  entries;
               (3)  issuing notices, citations, processes, and
  mandates;
               (4)  preparing transcripts on application for petition
  for review [writ of error] to the supreme court; and
               (5)  performing other necessary clerical duties.
         SECTION 14.03.  Section 101.021, Government Code, is amended
  to read as follows:
         Sec. 101.021.  SUPREME COURT FEES AND COSTS:  GOVERNMENT
  CODE. The clerk of the supreme court shall collect fees and costs
  as follows:
               (1)  application for petition for review [writ of
  error] (Sec. 51.005, Government Code) . . . $50;
               (2)  additional fee if application for petition for
  review [writ of error] is granted (Sec. 51.005, Government Code)
  . . . $75;
               (3)  motion for leave to file petition for writ of
  mandamus, prohibition, injunction, and other similar proceedings
  originating in the supreme court (Sec. 51.005, Government Code)
  . . . $50;
               (4)  additional fee if a motion under Subdivision (3)
  is granted (Sec. 51.005, Government Code) . . . $75;
               (5)  certified question from a federal court of appeals
  to the supreme court (Sec. 51.005, Government Code) . . . $75;
               (6)  case appealed to the supreme court from the
  district court by direct appeal (Sec. 51.005, Government Code)
  . . . $100;
               (7)  any other proceeding filed in the supreme court
  (Sec. 51.005, Government Code) . . . $75;
               (8)  administering an oath and giving a sealed
  certificate of the oath (Sec. 51.005, Government Code) . . . $5;
               (9)  making certain copies, including certificate and
  seal (Sec. 51.005, Government Code) . . . $5, or $0.50 per page if
  more than 10 pages;
               (10)  any official service performed by the clerk for
  which a fee is not otherwise provided (Sec. 51.005, Government
  Code) . . . reasonable amount set by order or rule of supreme court;
               (10-a)  supreme court support account filing fee (Sec.
  51.0051, Government Code) . . . amount set by the supreme court,
  not to exceed $50;
               (11)  issuance of attorney's license or certificate
  (Sec. 51.006, Government Code) . . . $10; and
               (12)  additional filing fee to fund civil legal
  services for the indigent (Sec. 51.941, Government Code) . . . $25.
  ARTICLE 15.  ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION FOR CRIMINAL MATTERS
         SECTION 15.01.  (a) Section 152.001, Civil Practice and
  Remedies Code, is amended to read as follows:
         Sec. 152.001.  DEFINITION. In this chapter, "alternative
  dispute resolution system" means an informal forum in which
  mediation, conciliation, or arbitration is used to resolve disputes
  among individuals, entities, and units of government, including
  those having an ongoing relationship such as relatives, neighbors,
  landlords and tenants, employees and employers, and merchants and
  consumers.
         (b)  If S.B. No. 1271, Acts of the 82nd Legislature, Regular
  Session, 2011, becomes law, this section has no effect.
         SECTION 15.02.  (a) Subsection (a), Section 152.002, Civil
  Practice and Remedies Code, is amended to read as follows:
         (a)  The commissioners court of a county by order may
  establish an alternative dispute resolution system for the
  peaceable and expeditious resolution of [citizen] disputes.
         (b)  If S.B. No. 1271, Acts of the 82nd Legislature, Regular
  Session, 2011, becomes law, this section has no effect.
         SECTION 15.03.  Section 152.003, Civil Practice and Remedies
  Code, is amended to read as follows:
         Sec. 152.003.  REFERRAL OF CASES. (a) A judge of a district
  court, county court, statutory county court, probate court, or
  justice of the peace court in a county in which an alternative
  dispute resolution system has been established may, on motion of a
  party or on the judge's or justice's own motion, refer a civil or, on
  the request of an attorney representing the state, a criminal case
  to the system regardless of whether the defendant in the criminal
  case has been formally charged. Referral under this section does
  not prejudice the case.
         (b)  Before requesting a referral of a criminal case under
  this section, an attorney representing the state must obtain the
  consent of the victim to the referral.
         SECTION 15.04.  (a) If H.B. No. 2702, Acts of the 82nd
  Legislature, Regular Session, 2011, does not become law, Section
  152.006, Civil Practice and Remedies Code, is amended to read as
  follows:
         Sec. 152.006.  FEE FOR ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION
  CENTERS. An entity described by Section 152.002(b)(1) that
  provides services for the resolution of disputes [in a county with a
  population of 250,000 or more but less than 290,000] may collect a
  reasonable fee in any amount set by the commissioners court from a
  person who receives the services.  [This section may not be
  construed to affect the collection of a fee by any other entity
  described by Section 152.002(b)(1).]
         (b)  If H.B. No. 2702, Acts of the 82nd Legislature, Regular
  Session, 2011, becomes law, Section 152.006, Civil Practice and
  Remedies Code, as effective September 1, 2011, is amended to read
  as follows:
         Sec. 152.006.  FEE FOR ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION
  CENTERS. An entity described by Section 152.002(b)(1) that
  provides services for the resolution of disputes [in a county that
  borders the Gulf of Mexico with a population of 250,000 or more but
  less than 300,000] may collect a reasonable fee in any amount set by
  the commissioners court from a person who receives the
  services.  [This section may not be construed to affect the
  collection of a fee by any other entity described by Section
  152.002(b)(1).]
         SECTION 15.05.  Section 154.021, Civil Practice and Remedies
  Code, is amended by adding Subsection (d) to read as follows:
         (d)  Except as provided by Section 152.003 of this code or
  Article 26.13(g), Code of Criminal Procedure, a court may not refer
  a criminal case for alternative dispute resolution.
         SECTION 15.06.  (a) The changes in law made by this article
  with respect to criminal cases apply only to a criminal case in
  which the defendant is arrested for or charged with an offense that
  occurs on or after the effective date of this Act. A criminal case
  in which the defendant is arrested for or charged with an offense
  that occurs before the effective date of this Act is governed by the
  law in effect when the offense was committed, and the former law is
  continued in effect for that purpose. For purposes of this section,
  an offense was committed before the effective date of this Act if
  any element of the offense was committed before that date.
         (b)  The changes in law made by this article with respect to
  civil cases apply only to a civil case referred to a county
  alternative dispute resolution system on or after the effective