Law:Title 3. Organization Of County Government. Subtitle B. Commissioners Court And County Officers (Texas)

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Subtitle B. Commissioners Court And County Officers

Contents

Chapter 81. Commissioners Court

Subchapter A. Organization And Procedure

Section  81.001.  Composition, Presiding Officer.

(a) The members of the commissioners court are the county judge and the county commissioners.

(b)  If present, the county judge is the presiding officer of the commissioners court.

Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 149, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1987.



Section  81.002.  Oath, Bond.

(a) Before undertaking the duties of the county judge or a county commissioner, a person must take the official oath and swear in writing that the person will not be interested, directly or indirectly, in a contract with or claim against the county except:

(1)  a contract or claim expressly authorized by law; or

(2)  a warrant issued to the judge or commissioner as a fee of office.

(b)  A commissioner must execute a bond, payable to the county treasurer, in the amount of $3,000. The bond must be approved by the county judge and must be conditioned on the faithful performance of the commissioner's official duties. The bond must also be conditioned that the commissioner:

(1)  will reimburse the county for all county funds illegally paid to the commissioner; and

(2)  will not vote or consent to make a payment of county funds except for a lawful purpose.

(c)  Subject to the provisions of Chapter 171, the county judge or a county commissioner may serve as a member of the governing body of or as an officer or director of an entity that does business with the county, excluding a publicly traded corporation or a subsidiary, affiliate, or subdivision of a publicly traded corporation.

Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 149, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1987. Amended by Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 475, Sec. 1, eff. Aug. 28, 1989; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 62, Sec. 13.02, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.



Section  81.0025.  Continuing Education.

(a) A county commissioner must successfully complete at least 16 classroom hours of continuing education in the performance of the duties of county commissioners at least once in each 12-month period.

(b)  Continuing education instruction required by this section must be certified by an accredited public institution of higher education.

(c)  To satisfy the requirement of this section, a commissioner is entitled to carry forward from one 12-month period to the next not more than eight continuing education hours that the commissioner completes in excess of the required 16 hours.

(d)  For the purposes of removal under Subchapter B, Chapter 87, "incompetency" in the case of a county commissioner includes the failure to complete hours of continuing education in accordance with this section.

(e)  This section does not apply to a county commissioner who:

(1)  serves in a county with a population of 1.3 million or more;

(2)  has served continuously for 12 years or more; and

(3)  attends at least 15 hours of staff briefing on continuing education subjects in each 12-month period as approved by the County Judges and Commissioners Association of Texas.

(f)  In addition to the exceptions under Subsection (e), this section does not apply to a county commissioner who serves in a county with a population of 225,000 or more and who:

(1)  has served continuously for 12 years or more; and

(2)  in the 12-month period, completes at least three semester credit hours of graduate-level course work in a field of study directly related to county government with a grade of B or higher in each course completed during the period.

Added by Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 413, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1990. Amended by Acts 1991, 72nd Leg., ch. 111, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1992; Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 294, Sec. 1, eff. Aug. 28, 1995; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1235, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1998; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 454, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 2004.



Section  81.003.  Clerk.

(a) The county clerk is the clerk of the commissioners court. The clerk shall:

(1)  serve the court during each of its terms;

(2)  keep the court's books, papers, records, and effects; and

(3)  issue the notices, writs, and process necessary for the proper execution of the court's powers and duties.

(b)  The court shall require the clerk to record the proceedings of each term of the court. This record may be in a paper or electronic format. After each term the clerk shall attest to the accuracy of this record.

(c)  The clerk shall record the court's authorized proceedings between terms. This record may be in a paper or electronic format. The clerk shall attest to the accuracy of the record.

Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 149, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1987. Amended by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 301, Sec. 4, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.



Section  81.004.  Seal.

(a) The commissioners court shall have a seal on which is engraved:

(1)  the words "Commissioners Court, (name of county) County, Texas"; and

(2)  a five-pointed star or a design selected by the court and approved by the secretary of state.

(b)  The clerk shall keep the seal and use it to authenticate official acts of the court or its presiding officer or clerk that require a seal for authentication.

Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 149, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1987.



Section  81.005.  Terms Of Court, Meetings.

(a) At the last regular term of each fiscal year of the county, the commissioners court by order shall designate a day of the week on which the court shall convene in a regular term each month during the next fiscal year. If the completion of the court's business does not require a monthly term, the court need not hold more than one term a quarter. A regular term may continue for one week but may be adjourned earlier if the court's business is completed.

(b)  The county judge or three county commissioners may call a special term of the court. A special term may continue until the court's business is completed. A special term may be held at a meeting place located in the county and outside the county seat if:

(1)  the commissioners court agrees to meet in that location; and

(2)  the meeting place is in a building providing public access that can accommodate the number of persons expected to attend the meeting.

(c)  Except as provided by Subsections (b) and (f) of this section, the term shall be held at:

(1)  the county seat at the courthouse;

(2)  an auxiliary courthouse, courthouse annex, or another building in the county acquired by the county under Chapter 292, 293, or 305 or another law, that houses county administration offices or county or district courts, located inside the municipal limits of the county seat;

(3)  the regular meeting place of another political subdivision if:

(A)  the commissioners court meets with the governing body of that political subdivision located wholly or partly within the county; and

(B)  the regular meeting place of that political subdivision is in the county;

(4)  a meeting place in the county in a building owned by another political subdivision located wholly or partly in the county if:

(A)  the commissioners court meets with the governing body of that political subdivision;

(B)  the places where the commissioners court and the governing body of the political subdivision regularly hold their meetings are not large enough to accommodate the number of persons expected to attend the meeting; and

(C)  the meeting place in the building owned by the political subdivision is large enough to accommodate the expected number of persons; or

(5)  a meeting place in the county in a building owned by the county if:

(A)  the place where the commissioners court regularly holds its meetings is not large enough to accommodate the number of persons expected to attend the meeting; and

(B)  the meeting place in the building owned by the county is large enough to accommodate the expected number of persons.

(d)  At the first regular term of each calendar year, the commissioners court may select, on no less than seven days notice, a new site at which terms are to be held during that year pursuant to Subsection (c)(2).

(e)  On initial enactment of this legislation the county commissioners court may select a new site pursuant to Subsection (c)(2) on seven days notice and passage at a regular meeting of commissioners court.

(f)  If the commissioners court determines that in the interest of public safety the term should be held at a site other than the site selected under Subsection (d), the commissioners court may, after notice, hold a term at a different site as determined by the commissioners court.

(g)  Any business of the commissioners court that is required by law to be conducted at a regular term may also be conducted at any meeting of the court held on a day on which the court routinely and periodically meets, regardless of whether the periodic interval is weekly, monthly, quarterly, annually, or some other interval.

(h)  The commissioners court may designate a day of the week on which the court shall convene in a regular term each month other than the day of the week designated under Subsection (a).

Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 149, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1987. Amended by Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 601, Sec. 1, eff. June 14, 1989; Acts 1991, 72nd Leg., ch. 16, Sec. 19.01(33), eff. Aug. 26, 1991; Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 643, Sec. 1, eff. Aug. 28, 1995; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 391, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 62, Sec. 13.13, eff. Sept. 1, 1999; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 593, Sec. 1, eff. June 11, 2001.



Section  81.006.  Quorum; Vote Required For Tax Levy.

(a) Three members of the commissioners court constitute a quorum for conducting county business except the levying of a county tax.

(b)  A county tax may be levied at any regularly scheduled meeting of the court when at least four members of the court are present.

(c)  A county may not levy a tax unless at least three members of the court vote in favor of the levy.

Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 149, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1987.



Section  81.007.  Notice.

(a) If the commissioners court is unable to obtain publication of a notice or report as required by law, the court may post a copy of the notice or report at the courthouse door and post one copy at a public place in each commissioner's precinct. However, not more than one copy may be posted in the same municipality.

(b)  Posting must continue for the 30 days preceding the date the next court term begins.

Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 149, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1987.



Subchapter B. Duties And Powers

Section  81.021.  Change In Precinct Boundaries.

(a) A commissioners court that orders a change in the boundaries of commissioner or justice precincts may specify in its order an effective date of the change that is not later than January 1 following the next general election. An election for precinct office occurring after the date that the order is issued but before the effective date of the change in boundaries shall be held in the precincts as they will exist on that effective date. A person who has resided in the area included in a new precinct for the period required for eligibility to hold office is not made ineligible on the ground that the precinct has not existed for that period.

(b)  The term of office of a commissioner, justice of the peace, or constable who holds office at the time a change in precinct boundaries becomes effective is not affected by the change, regardless of whether the change places the officer's residence outside the precinct for which the officer was elected. The officer is entitled to serve for the remainder of the term to which the officer was elected.

Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 149, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1987.



Section  81.022.  Process.

(a) The commissioners court shall issue the notices, citations, writs, and process necessary for the proper execution of its powers and duties and the enforcement of its jurisdiction. A notice, citation, writ, or process must:

(1)  be in the name of the "State of Texas";

(2)  be directed to the sheriff or a constable of a county;

(3)  be dated and signed officially by the clerk; and

(4)  be impressed with the court seal.

(b)  Unless otherwise provided by law, process must be executed before the fifth day before its return date. The return date shall be specified in the process.

(c)  A subpoena for a witness may be executed and returned immediately if necessary.

Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 149, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1987.



Section  81.023.  Contempt.

The commissioners court shall punish a person held in contempt by a fine of not more than $25 or by confinement for not more than 24 hours. A person fined under this section may be confined until the fine is paid.

Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 149, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1987. Renumbered from Sec. 81.024 by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 62, Sec. 13.03(d), eff. Sept. 1, 1999.



Section  81.024.  District And County Court Seals.

The commissioners court shall provide the seals required by law for district and county courts.

Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 149, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1987. Renumbered from Sec. 81.025 by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 62, Sec. 13.03(d), eff. Sept. 1, 1999.



Section  81.026.  Commissioners Court Membership On Associations And Nonprofit Organizations. A C

ounty judge or county commissioner may serve on the governing body of or any committee serving an association of counties created or operating pursuant to the provisions of Section 89.002. A county judge or county commissioner may serve as a member of any board of trustees or board of directors or other governing body of any trust or other entity created pursuant to interlocal contract for the purpose of forming or administering any governmental pool, self-insurance pool, insurance pool, or any other fund or joint endeavor created for the benefit of member counties and political subdivisions. In addition, a county judge or county commissioner may serve as a member of the board of directors of any nonprofit corporation that is created and exists solely for the purpose of providing administrative or other services to such trust or other entity. A county judge or county commissioner, acting as a member of any such board or committee, may perform any act necessary or appropriate for the rendition of such service, including the casting of votes and deliberations concerning and execution of contracts or claims with or against any county. A county judge or commissioner may participate in deliberations concerning and cast any vote on any matter before the commissioners court affecting the execution of any contract with or the payment of claims, premiums, dues, or contributions to any such trust, association, nonprofit corporation, or entity or any related matter.

Added by Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 1133, Sec. 1, eff. Aug. 28, 1989. Renumbered from Sec. 81.027 and amended by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 62, Sec. 13.03(c), eff. Sept. 1, 1999.



Section  81.027.  Support Of Paupers.

Each commissioners court may provide for the support of paupers, residents of their county, who are unable to support themselves.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 1042, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993. Renumbered from Sec. 81.028 and amended by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 62, Sec. 13.03(d), 13.11(a), eff. Sept. 1, 1999.



Section  81.028.  Delegation Of Duties Of A County Judge In Counties With Population Of More Than 1,000,000.

(a) This section applies exclusively to a county judge in a county with a population of more than 1,000,000.

(b)  A county judge may file an order with the commissioners court of the county delegating to another county officer or an employee of the county the ability to sign orders or other official documents associated with the county judge's office. The delegating order shall clearly indicate the types of orders or official documents that the officer or employee may sign on behalf of the county judge.

(b-1)  A county judge may file a standing order of emergency delegation of authority that clearly indicates the types of orders or official documents that the officer or employee may sign on behalf of the county judge in the event of an emergency or disaster.

(c)  An order or official document signed by a county officer or county employee acting under the delegated authority of the county judge in accordance with this section has the same effect as an order of the county judge.

(d)  The county judge may at any time revoke the delegated authority or transfer it to a different county officer or county employee by filing an order with the commissioners court of the county.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 143, Sec. 1, eff. Aug. 28, 1995. Renumbered from Sec. 81.029 by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 62, Sec. 13.03(d), eff. Sept. 1, 1999.

Amended by:

Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 1094, Sec. 13, eff. September 1, 2005.



Section 81.029.  Delegation Of Duties Of A County Judge In Certain Counties.

(a) This section applies only to a county judge in a county that has a population of more than 600,000 and is located on the international border.

(b)  A county judge may file an order with the commissioners court of the county delegating to a county commissioner of the commissioners court the ability to sign orders or other official documents associated with the county judge's office.  The delegating order must clearly indicate the types of orders or official documents that the county commissioner may sign on behalf of the county judge.

(c)  A county judge may file a standing order of emergency delegation of authority that clearly indicates the types of orders or official documents that the county commissioner may sign on behalf of the county judge in the event of an emergency or disaster.

(d)  An order or official document signed by the county commissioner under the delegated authority of the county judge under this section has the same effect as an order of the county judge.

(e)  The county judge may at any time revoke the delegated authority or transfer the authority to a different county commissioner by filing an order with the commissioners court.

Added by Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 708, Sec. 1, eff. June 19, 2009.



Section  81.030.  Testimony Before Commissioners Court.

The commissioners court may require that testimony before the court be given under oath. A person who makes a false statement under oath is subject to prosecution under Section 37.02, Penal Code.

Added by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 390, Sec. 1, eff. May 28, 1997. Renumbered from Sec. 81.031 by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 62, Sec. 13.03(d), eff. Sept. 1, 1999.



Section  81.032.  Acceptance Of Donations And Bequests.

The commissioners court may accept a gift, grant, donation, bequest, or devise of money or other property on behalf of the county for the purpose of performing a function conferred by law on the county or a county officer.

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 172, Sec. 1, eff. Aug. 30, 1999.



Section  81.033.  Power Of Commissioners Court In County With No Incorporated Territory.

(a) This section applies only to a commissioners court of a county that has a population of more than 5,000, is located within 100 miles of an international boundary, and contains no incorporated territory of a municipality.

(b)  If approved at an election held in the county for that purpose, the commissioners court has, in addition to the powers given to it under this code or other law, all the powers of the governing body of a Type A general-law municipality, including the powers contained in Subtitle A, Title 7, except that:

(1)  the commissioners court may not regulate an activity outside the county;

(2)  the commissioners court may not regulate a tract of land that is appraised as agricultural or open-space land by the appraisal district;

(3)  the commissioners court may not exercise the powers of a municipality under Chapter 211 or 213; and

(4)  if this code or other law provides for a procedure by which a county exercises a power, the commissioners court must use that procedure.

(c)  For an election under this section, the ballot shall be prepared to permit voting for or against the proposition: "Granting (name of county) County the authority to enact ordinances in the same manner as a general-law municipality."

(d)  If a majority of the votes cast at the election favor the proposition, the commissioners court has the powers described by Subsection (b).

(e)  If territory of the county becomes incorporated in a municipality:

(1)  in the area outside the municipality and outside the municipality's extraterritorial jurisdiction, the authority of the commissioners court to exercise a power under this section:

(A)  expires, on the date of the incorporation, with regard to a subject on which the court has not previously acted under this section; and

(B)  continues with regard to a subject on which the court has previously acted under this section; and

(2)  in the area in the municipality or in the extraterritorial jurisdiction of the municipality, the authority of the commissioners court to exercise a power under this section expires on the 180th day after the date of the municipal incorporation.

(f)  On receipt of a petition signed by at least 10 percent of the county's registered voters, the commissioners court shall call an election on the repeal of an order or ordinance authorized by this section on the first uniform election date that occurs after the 90th day after the date the petition is filed. The order or ordinance is repealed if a majority of the votes cast at the election favor repeal. A petition requiring an election under this subsection may not be filed sooner than the fifth anniversary of the date of an election held under this subsection.

Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1029, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

Amended by:

Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 797, Sec. 1, eff. June 15, 2007.



Section 81.034.  Eligibility Of County With No Incorporated Territory To Participate In Municipal Assistance Programs.

A county that contains no incorporated territory of a municipality is eligible to apply on behalf of locations in the county that are census designated places as if the places were municipalities for the purpose of participating in any federal or state program that provides grants, loans, or other assistance to municipalities.

Added by Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 314, Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2007.

Amended by:

Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 331, Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2009.


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