Office of House Bill AnalysisS.B. 850
By: Barrientos
Criminal Jurisprudence


Currently, few state or local government entities are required to provide
peace officers with disability insurance.  This creates a situation in
which officers who are permanently disabled by injuries sustained in the
line of duty receive less financial compensation to assist in the support
of  their families than they would have if they had not survived.  Senate
Bill 850 entitles a peace officer who sustains a permanently incapacitating
injury as a result of criminally injurious conduct in the performance of
the officer's duties to an annual payment.  


It is the opinion of the Office of House Bill Analysis that rulemaking
authority is expressly delegated to the attorney general and the
comptroller in SECTION 2 (Section 56.542, Code of Criminal Procedure) of
this bill. 


Senate Bill 850 amends the Code of Criminal Procedure to entitle a peace
officer, employed by the state or a local governmental entity who sustains
an injury as a result of criminally injurious conduct on or after September
1, 1989 in the performance of the officer's duties and presents
satisfactory evidence to the attorney general that the officer's condition
is a total disability resulting in permanent incapacity for work and has
persisted for more than 12 months, to an annual payment equal to the
difference between any amounts received by the officer on account of the
injury or disability from other sources of income and an amount equal to
the officer's average annual salary during the officer's final three years
as a peace officer. The bill provides that the amount of the annual payment
is subject to an annual cost-of-living adjustment and sets forth provisions
regarding computation of the cost-of-living adjustment and of an initial
payment. To receive the payment, the peace officer must furnish evidence of
the injury and other necessary information to the attorney general who is
authorized to approve the application for payment, subject to judicial
review, with or without a hearing.   

The bill authorizes the attorney general to appoint a panel of physicians
to periodically review each application to ensure the validity of the
application and the necessity of continued assistance to the peace officer.
The bill requires the attorney general to notify the comptroller of the
attorney general's determination that a claim is valid and justifies
payment.  The comptroller is then required to issue a warrant to or in
behalf of the claimant in the proper amount from the compensation to
victims of crime fund.  The bill also requires the attorney general and the
comptroller to adopt, by rule, a memorandum of understanding to establish
procedures under which annual payments continue to a peace officer until
assistance is no longer necessary.  The provision requiring a claimant or
victim to file an application not later than three years from the date of
the criminally injurious conduct and the limits on compensation do not
apply.  The total aggregate amount of all annual payments made to an
individual peace officer may not exceed $200,000.   


September 1, 2001.