In Chambers, Fall 2017

In Chambers | Fall 2017 31 LEGI SLATIVE UPDATE Reprinted from T ex . J ud . C ouncil ,T ex . O ff . of C t A dmin ., 85 th L egislative U pdate (2017). Only select legislation has been included.To see full list of bills passed during 85th Legislative Session, visit: Guardianship Law SB 39 —Effective 9/1/17 (applicability to guardianships and proceedings varies by provision). Revises procedures governing guardianships for incapacitated persons and adults with disabilities. Allows a court, on its own motion, to remove an in- dependent executor if the executor fails to timely file the affidavit or certificates required by section 308.004 of the Estates Code. Clarifies the notice requirements associated with the sua sponte removal of a guardian for good cause. Revises the rights and responsibilities of the attorney in fact and the procedures for removal of an attorney in fact. Allows a court, after providing certain notices and a hearing (if requested), to transfer guardianship proceedings to another county if the ward is re- siding in the county to which the transfer is made. Establishes mandatory disclosure language to be included in supported decision-making agreements for adults with disabilities; addresses possible conflicts of interest arising from those agreements. See E states C ode ch. 751, 752, 753, §§ 1055.003, 1101.002, 1357.052-.056. SB 1710 —Effective 9/1/17 (application to pending letters and applications varies). Prohibits a court from requiring the appointment of a new guardian before con- sidering a ward’s application for modification or complete restoration if the prior guardian resigns, is removed, or has died. Clarifies that the physician’s letter required for modification or restoration is not required to appoint a court investigator or guardian ad litem to investigate a modification or restoration requested by the ward by informal letter. Requires the court to reply by certified mail within 30 days of receipt such a letter. See E states C ode §§ 1202.051, 1202.054. SB 46 —Effective 9/1/17. Allows a judge, before polling a jury, to assign each juror an identification number to use in place of the juror’s name. See C ode C rim . P roc . art. 37.05. SB 259 —Effective 9/1/17 (applies to summons sent on or after that date). Allows the court to include with a jury summons, in lieu of a copy of the summons ques- tionnaire, instructions on how to access the questionnaire online if the county judg- es have adopted a plan for electronic jury selection pursuant to section 62.011 of the Government Code. See G ov ’ t C ode §§ 62.0132(b) and (d). SB 1298 —Effective 9/1/17 (applies to grand juries impaneled on or after that date). Allows the district judge to direct the selection and summons of whatever number of prospective grand jurors the judge considers necessary for the case, eliminating the limit of 125 prospective grand jurors. Modifies the qualifications for grand jury service, requiring a juror to be at least 18 years of age, a citizen of the United States, and a resident of the county in which the grand jury is sitting, regardless of voter registration. See C ode C rim . P roc . art. 19.01, 1908.