Office of House Bill AnalysisH.B. 1318
By: Maxey
County Affairs


Under current law, a county is not authorized to enter into an agreement
with an association that is the sole and exclusive bargaining agent for a
group of public employees (association).  House Bill 1318 authorizes a
county to recognize an association as the bargaining agent for all of the
covered peace officers and detention officers (officers) of a sheriff's
department , and prohibits a county from being denied local control over
wages, salaries, rates of pay, hours of work, and other terms and
conditions of employment of officers on which the public employer and an
association agree.  


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. 


House Bill 1318 amends the Local Government Code to provide that a county
may not be denied local control over the wages, salaries, rates of pay,
hours of work, or other terms and conditions of employment, to the extent
that the public employer and the association recognized as the sole
exclusive bargaining agent (association) for a sheriff's department agree
under the provisions of this bill.  The bill authorizes a public employer
and an association to meet and confer only if the association does not
advocate the illegal right to strike by public employees.  The bill
prohibits a peace officer or detention officer of a sheriff's department
(officer) from engaging in a strike or organized work stoppage against this
state or a political subdivision of this state.  The bill provides that an
officer that participates in a strike forfeits any civil service rights,
reemployment rights, and other rights, benefits, or privileges the officer
may have as a result of the person's employment or prior employment with
the sheriff's department.  The provisions of the bill do not affect the
right of a person to cease work if the person is not acting in concert with
others in an organized work stoppage.  The bill requires the public
employer's chief executive officer or the chief executive officer's
designee to select a group of persons to represent the public employer as
its sole exclusive bargaining agent for issues related to the employment of
officers by the sheriff's department. 

The bill requires the public employer to recognize an association
submitting a petition for recognition signed by a majority of the officers
employed by the sheriff's department as the sole and exclusive bargaining
agent for all officers employed by the sheriff's department, excluding the
sheriff and persons the sheriff may designate as exempt, until recognition
of the association is withdrawn by a majority of the officers eligible to
sign a petition for recognition.  Whether an association represents a
majority of the covered officers is required to be resolved by a fair
election conducted according to procedures agreeable to the parties
involved, and if the parties are unable to agree on election procedures,
either party is authorized to request the American Arbitration Association
to conduct the election and certify the results.  The bill sets forth
provisions for who is responsible for the expenses of the election.   

The bill provides that a proposed agreement and document prepared and used
by the sheriff's department in connection with the proposed agreement are
available to the public only after the agreement is ratified by the
commissioners court of the county.   
The bill sets forth provisions for when an agreement made under the
provisions of the bill is enforceable and binding on the public employer,
the recognized association, and the officers covered in the agreement.  The
bill authorizes a ratified agreement to establish  a procedure by which the
parties agree to resolve disputes related to a right, duty, or obligation
provided by the agreement.  The bill provides that a state district court
of a judicial district in which the county is located has jurisdiction to
hear and resolve a dispute under a ratified agreement.  The court is
authorized to issue proper restraining orders, temporary and permanent
injunctions, or any other writ, order, or process, including contempt
orders that are appropriate to enforce the agreement.   

The bill provides that a written ratified agreement preempts all contrary
state statutes, local ordinances, executive orders, civil service
provisions, or rules adopted by the sheriff, county, a division, or agent
of the sheriff or county during the term of the agreement.  The bill
prohibits a ratified agreement from interfering with the right of a member
of a bargaining unit to pursue allegations of discrimination based on race,
creed, color, national origin, religion, age, sex, or disability with the
Commission on Human Rights or the federal Equal Employment Opportunity
Commission or to pursue affirmative action litigation.   

The bill does not require a public employer or a recognized association to
meet and confer on any issue or reach an agreement.  The bill does not
apply to a county that has adopted The Fire and Police Employee Relations
Act or has a population of more than one million.    


September 1, 2001.