Office of House Bill AnalysisS.J.R. 20
By: Duncan
Criminal Jurisprudence


Since 1876, Texas' district courts have not been comprehensively
redistricted, and the legislature has added 361 courts in a piecemeal
fashion since the original redistricting 123 years ago.  In 1985, Texans
amended their constitution to create a mechanism to provide for periodic
judicial redistricting, making the Judicial Districts Board responsible for
reapportionment of judicial districts, if the legislature fails to do so.
However, the Judicial Districts Board's work has not been addressed by the
legislature.  S.J.R. 20 gives Texas voters the choice to abolish the
Judicial Districts Board, and creates the Legislative Redistricting Board. 

As proposed, S.J.R. 20 requires the submission to the voters of a
constitutional amendment to abolish the Judicial Districts Board, and to
grant the Legislative Redistricting Board the authority to make statewide
reapportionments of judicial districts. 


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 Section 7a, Article V, Texas Constitution, as follows:

Sec.  7a.  Requires the Legislative Redistricting Board to make a statewide
reapportionment of the judicial districts authorized by Article V, Section
7, as provided by this section. Clarifies the dates by which the
legislature must enact a statewide reapportionment of judicial districts.
Deletes text creating the Judicial Districts Board (JDB) and assigning its
duties. Deletes text describing the membership of JDB. Deletes text
describing the authority and prohibitions of JDB. Deletes text specifying
consequences of JDB's failure to make a statewide reapportionment by a
certain date.   Deletes text authorizing JDB to reapportion the judicial
districts of the state as the necessity for reapportionment appears by
redesignating the county or counties that comprise the specific judicial
districts affected by those reapportionment orders.  Deletes text
prohibiting a county having a population as large or larger than the
population of the judicial district being reapportioned from being added to
the judicial district, in modifying any judicial district.  Deletes text
providing that any judicial reapportionment order adopted by the board must
be approved by a record vote of the majority of the membership of both the
senate and house of representatives before such order can become effective
and binding.  Makes conforming and nonsubstantive changes. 

SECTION 2.  Requires this constitutional amendment to be submitted to the
voters at an election to be held on November 2, 1999.  Sets forth the
required language for the ballot.