Harris County jurors to get a pay raise as Abbott signs bill authorizing increase
Harris County residents serving jury duty will get a pay bump beginning Sept. 1, after a new state law increased the minimum daily rates.
Gov. Greg Abbott signed the bill on Tuesday, authorizing the first jury pay increase in Texas since 2005.
For the first day of jury service, pay will increase from $6 to $20 per day, while pay for subsequent days will go from $40 to $58.
Under the new law, the state will begin reimbursing counties $14 per day for the first day of service, and increase the existing reimbursement for subsequent days from $34 to $52.
For many Harris County residents, responding to a jury duty summons is a difficult choice because it can mean at least one day of lost wages.
Harris County District Clerk Marilyn Burgess, whose office oversees the jury summons process, said Friday afternoon the county will need to do more to boost pay.
“Although this increase is very good news, more is needed in terms of jury pay,” Burgess said. “I am committed to continuing to work with Commissioners Court to supplement the local pay to make it where all can afford to serve.”
Burgess, who was first elected in 2018, has been calling for an increase for years.
In March 2021, Burgess asked Commissioners Court to boost juror pay from $6 to $50 for the first day and from $40 to $80 for subsequent days, plus free parking at the county garage at 1401 Congress.
The requested rates were based on findings from a study the District Clerk’s office commissioned from the Houston data firm January Advisors aimed at increasing representation of African American and Hispanic residents on Harris County juries.
The study found 82 percent of Hispanic participants and 74 percent of African American participants would be more likely to respond to jury duty if they were paid $40 on the first day, according to a 2021 memo from the Harris County Commissioners Court’s Analyst’s office.
Commissioners Court did not approve the request.
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