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HB 3711 would amend the Local Government Code to establish that an arbitrator or hearing officer authorized to hear a grievance proceeding under a collective bargaining agreement under The Fire and Police Employee Relations Act has the authority to administer oaths and issue subpoenas.
The bill would require a request for a subpoena by such an arbitrator or hearing officer to be made at least 10 days before the date the proceeding will be held, except for good cause. The bill establishes that an oath administered by such an arbitrator or hearing officer has the same force and effect as an oath administered by a magistrate in the magistrate's judicial capacity.
The bill would create an offense if a person fails to appear as required by a subpoena. The offense is punishable by a fine of up to $1,000, confinement in a county jail for up to 30 days, or both.
While HB 3711 aims to ease the arbitration and collective bargaining processes, we have concerns over giving a non-official the power to subpoena. We find it inappropriate for anyone but a duly qualified government official to administer an oath or statement of affirmation. We oppose HB 3711 under our limited government principle.