HBA-KDB H.B. 2323 77(R) BILL ANALYSIS Office of House Bill AnalysisH.B. 2323 By: Gallego Higher Education 3/26/2001 Introduced BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE There is concern that the number of attorneys who provide legal services to the indigent is declining because of uncompetitive salary and benefits. To remedy this situation, an incentive may need to be provided to an attorney who chooses to serve the public through indigent legal services. House Bill 2323 requires the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to provide assistance in the repayment of law school education loans for an attorney who provides legal services to the indigent. RULEMAKING AUTHORITY It is the opinion of the Office of House Bill Analysis that rulemaking authority is expressly delegated to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board in SECTION 1 (Section 61.958, Education Code) and SECTION 2 of this bill. ANALYSIS House Bill 2323 amends the Education Code to require the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (board) to provide assistance in the repayment of law school education loans for attorneys who apply and qualify for the assistance. To be eligible to receive repayment assistance, an attorney must apply to the board and be currently practicing in this state as an attorney employed by an organization that qualifies for an exemption from federal income taxes, that is prohibited from providing representation in a class-action lawsuit, and that provides a criminal defense or civil legal services for indigent individuals. The bill sets forth limitations on repayment assistance. The bill authorizes the board to provide repayment assistance for loans received through any lender for education at an authorized law school. The bill prohibits the board from providing repayment assistance for an education loan that is in default at the time of the attorney's application. The bill requires the board to deliver any repayment assistance in a lump sum payable to the lender and the attorney and in accordance with any applicable federal law. The bill authorizes the board to appoint an advisory committee to assist the board in performing the board's duties in relation to repayment assistance for certain law school education loans. The bill requires the board to adopt, not later than December 1, 2001, rules necessary for the administration of such repayment assistance and the repayment assistance program, and to distribute a copy of the adopted rules and pertinent information to each authorized law school, any appropriate state agency, and any appropriate professional association. EFFECTIVE DATE September 1, 2001.