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  S.B. No. 1876
 
 
 
 
AN ACT
  relating to the appointment of attorneys ad litem, guardians ad
  litem, mediators, and guardians in certain counties.
         BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
         SECTION 1.  Subtitle B, Title 2, Government Code, is amended
  by adding Chapter 37 to read as follows:
  CHAPTER 37.  APPOINTMENTS OF ATTORNEYS AD LITEM, GUARDIANS AD
  LITEM, MEDIATORS, AND GUARDIANS
         Sec. 37.001.  APPLICABILITY; CONFLICT OF LAW. (a)  This
  chapter applies to a court in this state created by the Texas
  Constitution, by statute, or as authorized by statute that is
  located in a county with a population of 25,000 or more.
         (b)  To the extent of a conflict between this chapter and a
  specific provision relating to a court, this chapter controls.
         Sec. 37.002.  EXEMPTION. The appointment requirements of
  Section 37.004 do not apply to:
               (1)  a mediation conducted by an alternative dispute
  resolution system established under Chapter 152, Civil Practice and
  Remedies Code;
               (2)  a guardian ad litem or other person appointed
  under a program authorized by Section 107.031, Family Code;
               (3)  an attorney ad litem, guardian ad litem, amicus
  attorney, or mediator appointed under a domestic relations office
  established under Chapter 203, Family Code; or
               (4)  a person other than an attorney or a private
  professional guardian appointed to serve as a guardian as defined
  by Section 1002.012, Estates Code.
         Sec. 37.003.  LISTS OF ATTORNEYS AD LITEM, GUARDIANS AD
  LITEM, MEDIATORS, AND GUARDIANS. (a)  In addition to a list
  required by other state law or rule, each court in this state shall
  establish and maintain the following lists:
               (1)  a list of all attorneys who are qualified to serve
  as an attorney ad litem and are registered with the court;
               (2)  a list of all attorneys and other persons who are
  qualified to serve as a guardian ad litem and are registered with
  the court;
               (3)  a list of all persons who are registered with the
  court to serve as a mediator; and
               (4)  a list of all attorneys and private professional
  guardians who are qualified to serve as a guardian as defined by
  Section 1002.012, Estates Code, and are registered with the court.
         (b)  A court may establish and maintain more than one of a
  list required under Subsection (a) that is categorized by the type
  of case and the person's qualifications.
         (c)  A local administrative judge, at the request of one or
  more of the courts the judge serves, shall establish and maintain
  the lists required under Subsection (a) for those courts.  The local
  administrative judge may establish and maintain one set of lists
  for all of the requesting courts and may maintain for the courts
  more than one of a list as provided in Subsection (b).
         Sec. 37.004.  APPOINTMENT OF ATTORNEYS AD LITEM, GUARDIANS
  AD LITEM, MEDIATORS, AND GUARDIANS; MAINTENANCE OF LISTS.
  (a)  Except as provided by Subsections (c) and (d), in each case in
  which the appointment of an attorney ad litem, guardian ad litem, or
  guardian is necessary, a court using a rotation system shall
  appoint the person whose name appears first on the applicable list
  maintained by the court as required by Section 37.003.
         (b)  In each case in which the appointment of a mediator is
  necessary because the parties to the case are unable to agree on a
  mediator, a court using a rotation system shall appoint the person
  whose name appears first on the mediator list maintained by the
  court as required under Section 37.003.
         (c)  The court may appoint a person included on the
  applicable list whose name does not appear first on the list, or a
  person who meets statutory or other requirements to serve and who is
  not included on the list, if the appointment of that person as
  attorney ad litem, guardian ad litem, or guardian is agreed on by
  the parties and approved by the court.
         (d)  On finding good cause, the court may appoint a person
  included on the applicable list whose name does not appear first on
  the list, or a person who meets statutory or other requirements to
  serve on the case and who is not included on the list, if the
  appointment of that person as attorney ad litem, guardian ad litem,
  mediator, or guardian is required on a complex matter because the
  person:
               (1)  possesses relevant specialized education,
  training, certification, skill, language proficiency, or knowledge
  of the subject matter of the case;
               (2)  has relevant prior involvement with the parties or
  case; or
               (3)  is in a relevant geographic location.
         (e)  A person who is not appointed in the order in which the
  person's name appears on the applicable list shall remain next in
  order on the list.
         (f)  After a person has been appointed as an attorney ad
  litem, guardian ad litem, mediator, or guardian from the applicable
  list, the court shall place that person's name at the end of the
  list.
         Sec. 37.005.  POSTING OF LISTS. A court annually shall post
  each list established under Section 37.003 at the courthouse of the
  county in which the court is located and on any Internet website of
  the court.
         SECTION 2.  Section 25.0022(d), Government Code, is amended
  to read as follows:
         (d)  The presiding judge shall:
               (1)  ensure the promulgation of local rules of
  administration in accordance with policies and guidelines set by
  the supreme court;
               (2)  advise local statutory probate court judges on
  case flow management practices and auxiliary court services;
               (3)  perform a duty of a local administrative statutory
  probate court judge if the local administrative judge does not
  perform that duty;
               (4)  appoint an assistant presiding judge of the
  statutory probate courts;
               (5)  call and preside over annual meetings of the
  judges of the statutory probate courts at a time and place in the
  state as designated by the presiding judge;
               (6)  call and convene other meetings of the judges of
  the statutory probate courts as considered necessary by the
  presiding judge to promote the orderly and efficient administration
  of justice in the statutory probate courts;
               (7)  study available statistics reflecting the
  condition of the dockets of the probate courts in the state to
  determine the need for the assignment of judges under this section;
               (8)  compare local rules of court to achieve uniformity
  of rules to the extent practical and consistent with local
  conditions; [and]
               (9)  assign a judge or former or retired judge of a
  statutory probate court to hear a case under the circumstances
  described by Section 25.002201(b); and
               (10)  require the local administrative judge for
  statutory probate courts in a county to ensure that all statutory
  probate courts in the county comply with Chapter 37.
         SECTION 3.  Section 74.092, Government Code, is amended to
  read as follows:
         Sec. 74.092.  DUTIES OF LOCAL ADMINISTRATIVE JUDGE.
  [(a)]  A local administrative judge, for the courts for which the
  judge serves as local administrative judge, shall:
               (1)  implement and execute the local rules of
  administration, including the assignment, docketing, transfer, and
  hearing of cases;
               (2)  appoint any special or standing committees
  necessary or desirable for court management and administration;
               (3)  promulgate local rules of administration if the
  other judges do not act by a majority vote;
               (4)  recommend to the regional presiding judge any
  needs for assignment from outside the county to dispose of court
  caseloads;
               (5)  supervise the expeditious movement of court
  caseloads, subject to local, regional, and state rules of
  administration;
               (6)  provide the supreme court and the office of court
  administration requested statistical and management information;
               (7)  set the hours and places for holding court in the
  county;
               (8)  supervise the employment and performance of
  nonjudicial personnel;
               (9)  supervise the budget and fiscal matters of the
  local courts, subject to local rules of administration;
               (10)  coordinate and cooperate with any other local
  administrative judge in the district in the assignment of cases in
  the courts' concurrent jurisdiction for the efficient operation of
  the court system and the effective administration of justice;
               (11)  if requested by the courts the judge serves, 
  establish and maintain the lists required by Section 37.003 and
  ensure appointments are made from the lists in accordance with
  Section 37.004 [a list of all attorneys qualified to serve as an
  attorney ad litem]; and
               (12)  perform other duties as may be directed by the
  chief justice or a regional presiding judge.
         [(b)     A list of attorneys ad litem maintained under
  Subsection (a)(11) must contain the names of all attorneys who:
               [(1)     meet any statutory or other requirements to serve
  as an attorney ad litem; and
               [(2)     have registered to serve as attorney ad litem
  with a court for which the judge maintaining the list serves as
  local administrative judge.]
         SECTION 4.  Section 74.093, Government Code, is amended by
  adding Subsection (c-1) to read as follows:
         (c-1)  The rules may provide for the establishment and
  maintenance of the lists required by Section 37.003, including the
  establishment and maintenance of more than one of a list required by
  that section that is categorized by the type of case, such as family
  law or probate law, and the person's qualifications.
         SECTION 5.  Section 74.098, Government Code, is repealed.
         SECTION 6.  Chapter 37, Government Code, as added by this
  Act, and Section 74.092, Government Code, as amended by this Act,
  apply only to the appointment of an attorney ad litem, guardian ad
  litem, mediator, or guardian made on or after the effective date of
  this Act. An appointment made before the effective date of this Act
  is governed by the law in effect on the date the appointment was
  made, and the former law is continued in effect for that purpose.
         SECTION 7.  This Act takes effect September 1, 2015.
 
 
 
 
 
  ______________________________ ______________________________
     President of the Senate Speaker of the House     
 
         I hereby certify that S.B. No. 1876 passed the Senate on
  May 4, 2015, by the following vote: Yeas 31, Nays 0; and that the
  Senate concurred in House amendments on May 29, 2015, by the
  following vote: Yeas 30, Nays 1.
 
 
  ______________________________
  Secretary of the Senate    
 
         I hereby certify that S.B. No. 1876 passed the House, with
  amendments, on May 26, 2015, by the following vote: Yeas 142,
  Nays 3, two present not voting.
 
 
  ______________________________
  Chief Clerk of the House   
 
 
 
  Approved:
 
  ______________________________ 
              Date
 
 
  ______________________________ 
            Governor