HBA-DMH C.S.H.B. 792 77(R) BILL ANALYSIS Office of House Bill AnalysisC.S.H.B. 792 By: Wolens Civil Practices 4/11/2001 Committee Report (Substituted) BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE Currently, a grievance may be filed against an attorney with the State Bar of Texas (state bar). The grievance system is designed to sanction attorneys for misconduct, but does not provide for the award of damages or civil or criminal remedies. The grievances are investigated for a violation of the Texas Rules of Disciplinary Procedure. If a violation of professional misconduct is not proven, the matter is classified as an inquiry and dismissed. C.S.H.B. 792 sets forth provisions for the membership and voting disclosure of a panel of a district grievance committee of the state bar and requires the state bar to conduct a study of disciplinary and disability procedures. RULEMAKING AUTHORITY 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. ANALYSIS C.S.H.B. 792 amends the Government Code to set forth provisions for the membership, including public membership, of a panel of a district grievance committee (committee panel) of the State Bar of Texas (state bar) for the purpose of convening a meeting. The bill requires a committee panel that votes on a grievance matter to disclose to each party to the matter the number of members voting for or against a finding of just cause or abstaining from voting on the matter. A member of a committee panel may only vote on a grievance matter if the member is present at the hearing at which the vote takes place. The bill prohibits the state bar or a court from requiring an attorney against whom a disciplinary action has been brought to disclose information protected by the attorney-client privilege if the client did not initiate the complaint that is the subject of the action. The bill requires the state bar, not later than September 1, 2002, to study the state bar rules governing attorney disciplinary and disability procedure and the Texas Rules of Disciplinary Procedure to determine the extent to which the rules conform to the requirements of state law governing attorney disciplinary and disability procedure and to submit to the lieutenant governor and the speaker of the house of representatives a report of the study, including recommendations for revisions to the state bar rules and the Texas Rules of Disciplinary Procedure that conflict with the requirements of state law. EFFECTIVE DATE September 1, 2001. COMPARISON OF ORIGINAL TO SUBSTITUTE C.S.H.B. 792 differs from the original bill by removing provisions relating to the liability of the State Bar of Texas (state bar) and its employees for damages that arise from the employees' conduct as attorneys representing the state bar in disciplinary proceedings. The substitute removes the requirement that the state bar ensure strict compliance with the Texas Rules of Disciplinary Procedure. The substitute removes the requirement that an appeal of an order or judgment of disbarment or suspension supersedes the order or judgment during the pendency of the appeal. The substitute includes provisions for the membership and voting procedures of a panel of a district grievance committee of the state bar and the study the state bar is required to conduct.