Office of House Bill AnalysisH.B. 929
By: Junell
Judicial Affairs


Tom Green County is currently experiencing a backlog of cases at the
district court level.  Although three district courts (courts) serve the
county, the growth of the community has led to a 23 percent increase in new
cases filed from 1986 to 1996.  During that same period, the number of
cases disposed of increased by more than 16 percent.  At these rates, more
cases are filed than are disposed of each year.  The result is that the
average annual case load for each court has more than doubled in the last
decade.  Accordingly, county residents have experienced delays in the
administration of justice.  It is estimated that a new district court could
reduce the backlog to levels that would allow courts to dispose of more
cases than are filed each year.  In anticipation of a new district court,
the county commissioners court has approved a resolution to create a fourth
district court and has planned for the expense of operating the court.
H.B. 929 creates the 396th Judicial District, comprising Tom Green County. 


It is the opinion of the Office of House Bill Analysis that this bill does
not expressly delegate any additional rulemaking authority to a state
officer, department, agency, or institution. 


SECTION 1.  Amends Subchapter C, Chapter 24, Government Code, by adding
Section 24.541, as follows: 

Sec. 24.451.  396TH JUDICIAL DISTRICT (TOM GREEN COUNTY).  Specifies that
the 396th Judicial District is composed of Tom Green County.  Establishes
the dates on which the terms of the 396th District Court begin.  Provides
that indictments within Tom Green County issued by any Tom Green County
district court may be returned to the 396th District Court.  Provides that
Section 24.153 (51st Judicial District (Coke, Irion, Schleicher, Sterling,
and Tom Green Counties)) contains provisions that are applicable to the
51st and 396th District Courts. 
SECTION 2.  Amends Section 24.153(c), Government Code, to include the 396th
district court judge among the district court judges who are authorized to
exchange benches and sit for each other. 

SECTION 3.  Creates the 396th Judicial District and establishes October 1,
1999, as the effective date of this Act. 

SECTION 4.  Emergency clause.