Jury pay may decrease after today - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Jury pay may decrease after today

By Lauren Callahan

SMITH COUNTY, TX (KLTV) - The next time you get called for jury duty, you may walk away with less money.

As part of the statewide budget bill the Texas Legislature approved last spring, the daily pay rate the state offers jurors is being decreased.

Governor Perry signed that bill into law in June, and the part that concerns juror pay went into effect today.   

In Smith County, jurors will now make $28 per day for the second day and every one thereafter—the minimum amount that each county is reimbursed per juror—instead of $40 per day.

"We'll still be paying the $6 a day for the first day [of service]," said Karen Hisel, Chief Deputy of the Smith County District Clerk's Office.

Until today, the state paid each county $34 per juror per day. Each county's commissioner's court then decided how much money it would pay jurors above $34.

The new law allows counties to opt out of paying jurors more than the minimum amount per day.

Many East Texans were upset about the changes.

"Honestly it sucks," said Jonathan Montgomery. "I mean, most people's jobs don't pay them when you're on jury duty because that's what the city is paying you for."

And others said they didn't know how they would make ends meet if they were called to a jury for days or even weeks on end.

"Do I have money for parking, do I have money for the gas? How long am I going to be out for the day? Is that more money for daycare?  I doubt that that's really going to cover the whole day's expenses," said Sandy Ray, who works in Tyler.

The state comptroller's office will be monitoring the state's financial situation and may increase the state's daily rate if it improves.

The amount jurors are paid is still determined by each county's commissioner's courts.

For example, jurors who serve in Gregg, Henderson, Cherokee and Henderson counties will still be paid $40 on the second day or after, at least for the time being.    

To find out what you'll be paid the next time you serve on a jury, you can call your county's district clerk's office.    

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