Published October 2011
Juror Pay Program Underfunded
In 2005, the Texas Legislature amended Chapter 61 of the Government Code to require that counties pay jurors at least $40 per day for each day of service after the first day. Prior to this legislation, counties were only required to pay jurors at least $6 per day. Minimum compensation remained at $6 for the first day.
To compensate counties for this mandated expense, the statute provides that the state shall reimburse counties $34 for each day of juror service after the first day. To fund this program, the Legislature adopted a dedicated court fee.
However, during this session, the Legislature swept part of the dedicated court fee to help cover the state deficit and failed to appropriate sufficient funds to reimburse counties at the full rate of $34 per juror day. To prevent an unfunded mandate, the Legislature was persuaded to drop the required $40 juror pay mandate for this biennium. Instead, counties are only required to pay an amount equal to the state reimbursement. The comptroller has calculated this sum at $28 per day. On Sept. 28, 2011, the comptroller reduced the county reimbursement to $28 per day.
To avoid an increase in county costs, the commissioners court must amend its juror pay order. If the juror pay is reduced to $34 per day after the first day, there will be no impact on the county budget.
RECOMMENDATION: Adopt the following amendment to the county juror pay order:
JUROR PAY ORDER AMENDMENT
1. Due to the failure of the Texas Legislature to appropriate sufficient funds from the dedicated juror pay fund, compensation for jurors shall be reduced from $40 per day to $34 per day for each day following the first day of service.
2. For each day following the first day of service, jurors shall be paid $34 for each day of service.
3. This amendment is effective for juror service on or after September 28, 2011, until further order of the Commissioners Court.
Read and adopted by a vote of ayes and nays.
For more information, please call me at 1-800-733-0699.