News Article | January 26, 2023
Bills of Interest
HB 303 by Rep. Bernal – Mandates justice or municipal courts to grant credit for time served. Allows the judge to set a hearing for failure to pay and removes confinement for failure to pay.
HB 525 by Rep. Vasut – Relating to delivery through the electronic filing system of certain statutory county court, district court, or appellate court orders. Requires all signed court orders to be efiled.
HB 1258 by Rep. S. Thompson – Makes significant changes to the grand jury process with the following: entitles all witnesses or defendants to a lawyer in the grand jury room; entitles defendants to full discovery before appearing before a grand jury; all questions, statements and comments made by prosecutors, grand jurors and witnesses must be recorded (other than juror deliberations); requires the state to present all exculpatory evidence in its possession to the grand jury; if a defendant is no-billed, a second grand jury is prohibited from investigating or indicting absent new, material evidence; and regardless of whether a grand jury returns a true bill or no bill, the defendant can sue the prosecutor for attorneys' fees and other expenses if the court finds the prosecutor's position was vexatious, frivolous or in bad faith.
HB 1332 by Rep. Herrero – Exempts city, county and special district firefighters and city or county police officers from jury service.
HB 1350 by Rep. Cook – Reestablishes the Prosecuting Attorneys Coordinating Council. The Texas Prosecutor Council, which existed from 1977 to 1985, functioned as an oversight body for elected prosecutors, with the authority to accept and investigate complaints against elected prosecutors and issue reprimands or refer claims to a separate judicial proceeding that could result in the removal from office of an elected prosecutor.
HB 1451 by Rep. Anchia and HB 1484 by Rep. Meza – Requires the Secretary of State to establish an online voter registration portal with certain identification requirements and electronic signatures. The portal would be prominently displayed on the Secretary of State's website, and the Texas Department of Public Safety would be required to be included on rulemaking defining the online registration process.
HB 1489 by Rep. Tepper – Repeals a central section of the Certificate of Obligation Act and makes other changes to limit the authority of a county to issue a certificate of obligation for a public work.
HB 1528 by Rep. Smith – Consolidates the magistration process, including a magistrate's duties during magistration through videoconference. Sets a mandatory record retention schedule of three years after final judgment is entered in the case or proceedings are otherwise terminated. Establishes and grants powers and duties to an oversight board for the managed assigned counsel program. Requires managed assigned counsel programs to include, in their written plan of operation provided to commissioners court, a policy describing the circumstances under which an attorney may withdraw from a case and where good cause is established to remove an attorney from a case.
HB 1608 by Rep. Shine – Requires counties to allow for electronic payments of commercial and multifamily properties, and to prominently post processes for submitting such payments on the county website. Similar to HB 1319 by Rep. Shine mentioned in the Jan. 20 issue of this report.
HB 1609 by Rep. Shine – Requires communications to nonresidential property owners to be sent immediately upon receipt of certain property tax information and payments if the property owner has elected to receive electronic communications. Similar to HB 1317 by Rep. Shine mentioned in the Jan. 20 issue of this report.
SB 319 by Sen. Hall – Relating to the authority of the county to require photo identification to file certain documents with the county clerk. Removes the population bracket and allows any county clerk to require a photo identification from a person filing a document in the real property records of the county.
SB 396 by Sen. Hall – Relating to the availability of paper ballots for a person voting by personal appearance. Requires an election officer to provide a paper ballot to any voter upon their request.
SB 397 by Sen. Hall – Relating to the procedure for closing a polling place. Requires that immediately upon the closing of a polling place on the last day of early voting by personal appearance, the presiding judge or alternate judge shall print the tape to show the number of votes cast for each candidate or ballot measure from each voting machine.
SB 372 by Sen. Huffman – Creates a Class A misdemeanor for the unauthorized disclosure of non-public judicial opinions and judicial work product.
SB 505 by Sen. Nichols – Assesses a new annual registration fee for electric vehicles only. The fee would be $400 for newly registered vehicles and $200 at the time of registration renewal. The fee does not apply to hybrid vehicles, autocycles, golf carts, mopeds or electric motorcycles.
SB 512 by Sen. Hall – Relating to the use of paper ballots and certain electronic devices in conducting an election. Stipulates that a signature roster or poll list, in the form of an electronic device, may not be used in an election.