HB 1278

83(R) - 2013
Criminal Justice

Vote Recommendation

  • Neutral
  • Neutral
  • Neutral
  • Neutral
  • Neutral


J.M. Lozano

Bill Caption

Relating to the application of the professional prosecutors law to the district attorney for the 79th Judicial District.

Fiscal Notes

The bill would amend the Government Code to specify that the district attorney for the 79th Judicial District is subject to the Professional Prosecutors Act and prohibited from the private practice of law. The bill would take effect September 1, 2013. In this new capacity, the District Attorney for the 79th Judicial District would be entitled to a salary of $125,000 from the state plus benefits ($22,631) from General Revenue and the Judicial Fund No. 573. However, this amount would be offset by the 79th Judicial District Attorney's current salary of $100,000 and benefits ($19,795), which is also paid from these two funding sources. Therefore, the net cost to the state due to the salary and benefits increase would be $27,837.

Bill Analysis

Summary: In the past, Texas has implemented steps to make state prosecutors more professional. Provisions such as tying a state prosecutor's salary to the district judge's salary and prohibiting serving prosecutors from private law practice were contained in the Professional Prosecutor Act (Government Code Chapter 46). HB 1278 adds the 79th Judicial District in Brooks and Jim Wells Counties to Chapter 46 of the Government Code.

Analysis: There are currently eight prosecutors in Texas who are eligible but not subject to Chapter 46 of the Government Code. These prosecutors receive 80% of the district judge's salary. However, they can practice law privately. By putting a prosecutor under Chapter 46 of the Government Code, the prosecutor receives 100% of the district judge's salary but is prohibited from private law practice. Restricting a prosecutor from practicing law privately closes a loophole that may create a conflict of interest or the appearance of a conflict of interest. This legislation does not offend our liberty principles, therefore we do not object to HB 1271.