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Summary: This legislation would require an arbitration board in a proceeding involving a public employer, on request by a party to the arbitration or a designee of a party to administer oaths and issue subpoenas for the attendance of witnesses and the production of records. Oaths administered under this legislation carry the same force and effect as an oath administered by a magistrate in the magistrate's judicial capacity; likewise a statement is considered to have been made under oath. Failure to appear results in a $1000 fine and/or up to 30 days in jail.
Analysis: Arbitration is a resolution technique designed to operate outside of courts. While settlements are legally binding, the power of subpoena and penalties administered need to be carried out by a court. Only after due process has been administered by the court system can someone be confined. It would be an erroneous decision to give third party arbiters power of subpoena, especially since arbiters may not be forced to appear in district court upon an appeal by one of the parties in arbitration (Connor v. Klevenhagen; City of Carrollton v. Popescu) unless under the rules of permissive joinder. Tex. R. Civ. P. 2. This makes abuse of power a very real threat. Outside of the protections of a court TPPA does not recommend the proliferation of the powers of subpoena.