HBA-BSM C.S.H.B. 546 77(R) BILL ANALYSIS Office of House Bill AnalysisC.S.H.B. 546 By: Noriega Judicial Affairs 3/23/2001 Committee Report (Substituted) BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE There have been some reported incidents of racial slurs and bias occurring in courtrooms. Judges are required by law to attend judicial training classes. However, such training does not address racial, cultural, and ethnic awareness issues. C.S.H.B. 546 adds racial, cultural, and ethnic sensitivity training in addition to the training already required. RULEMAKING AUTHORITY It is the opinion of the Office of House Bill Analysis that rulemaking authority is expressly delegated to the court of criminal appeals in SECTION 1 (Section 22.111, Government Code) of this bill. ANALYSIS C.S.H.B. 546 amends the Government Code to require the court of criminal appeals to adopt rules requiring the training of judges in issues related to racial, cultural, and ethnic awareness including training regarding relevant sections in the Code of Judicial Conduct. The rules must require each judge subject to the Rules of Judicial Education to complete the training within the first four years of service and to complete additional training during each additional four years of service. The bill authorizes the court of criminal appeals to consult with professional groups and associations in the state that have expertise in the subject matter to obtain the recommendations of those groups or associations for instruction content. The instruction must include information about issues related to race fairness and ethnic and cultural awareness. The court of criminal appeals or the court's designee is required to report the name of a judge who does not comply with the above requirements to the State Commission on Judicial Conduct. EFFECTIVE DATE August 31, 2001. COMPARISON OF ORIGINAL TO SUBSTITUTE C.S.H.B. 546 differs from the original by adding cultural awareness and issues related to race fairness into the required training, as well as training regarding relevant sections in the Code of Judicial Conduct. The substitute modifies the amount of and schedule for the training. The original bill required the judge to complete training within the first term and to complete three additional hours of training during each additional term. The substitute also removes the provision in the rules that provided for a method of certification for completion of the training.