The Texas Municipal Courts Association (TMCA) was organized to provide assistance, training, and support for Municipal Court personnel to improve the fair and impartial Administration of Justice in the Municipal Courts.
The foregoing is a paraphrase of the purpose stated in both the TMCA bylaws and the TMCA charter. That purpose still states our intention. Through the leadership and vision of the Association pioneers and many others during subsequent years, Municipal Courts have progressed from the stone age to the space age. The Association celebrated its twenty-fifth anniversary in October, 2000. Although great progress was made in our first quarter century, it is certain that the Association officers, directors, and members will continue to "add a few bricks" each year to the road of progress for improving the Association and the Municipal Courts.
TMCA is governed by a Board of Directors elected by the membership. The Board is comprised of seven (7) officers and ten (10) regional directors. The seven officers are: President, First Vice President, Second Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, President-Elect, and Immediate Past President. Election of the officers is done annually by a statewide membership ballot. Each region elects one of the region's members to represent the region for a two year term on the Board of Directors.
The work and business of the Association is accomplished through the Board of Directors, officers, directors, committees, and individual special assignments. TMCA members are encouraged to volunteer to serve on Committees. Contact us to see how you can get involved!
No officer, director, or committee member receives any emolument for serving in the office or on a committee. However, reasonable reimbursement is made for expenses incurred while engaged in Association business but to be reimbursed, expenses must comply with the guidelines approved for state employees.
The state membership is divided into ten (10) regions. Each region has about the same population and number of Municipal Court personnel although the physical area of the regions vary greatly. Click here for more information about each region.
The TMCA Board of Directors also serves as the Texas Municipal Courts Education Center (TMCEC) Board of Directors. Even though TMCA is annually awarded a state grant to fund TMCEC as its educational entity, TMCEC is prohibited from any form of activity to proactively influence either state or local government. Therefore, an independent TMCEC Board of Directors is necessary to dissociate TMCEC and TMCA functions. Even though the Boards of Directors for both TMCA and TMCEC are comprised of the same people and both organizations share some common purposes, every Board member is mindful where each entity's functions need to be isolated from the other to comply with the TMCEC grant conditions.
To view the TMCA Constitution and Bylaws, click here.
The Texas Municipal Courts Association's (TMCA) parent organization was organized in 1974 by a group of municipal court judges and prosecutors in the Harris County (Houston) area for the sole purpose of forming a viable support organization dedicated exclusively to serving Municipal Courts. The original charter filed in 1975 was for the "Gulf Coast Association of Municipal Judges and Prosecutors, Inc." but was amended in 1977 to be the "Texas Municipal Courts Association".
One of the most notable single acts of TMCA was to establish an organization for providing both educational and practical information and support to the judges, clerks, court administrators, and prosecutors who work in the municipal courts. In 1983, TMCA was selected by the Texas Supreme Court to receive and administer a grant to provide continuing legal education to Municipal Court personnel. In 1994, the authority to award the legal educational funds was transferred from the Texas Supreme Court to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals selected TMCA to continue to receive and administer the grant funds.
To provide the continuing legal education, TMCA created the Texas Municipal Courts Training Center in 1983; in 1994 the name was changed to the Texas Municipal Courts Education Center (TMCEC). TMCA is the sponsor of the Texas Municipal Courts Education Center and via the Education Committee provides oversight to assure that quality educational seminars meeting state mandatory education requirements are presented at various regional sites each year. The free legal seminars, the "800 helpline", the free books and manuals, etc., are the result of activities initiated by TMCA.
Because TMCEC is funded by a state grant as an educational entity, TMCEC is prohibited by law from any form of activity to proactively influence either state or local government. Therefore, an independent TMCEC Board of Directors is necessary to segregate TMCEC and TMCA functions. Even though the Boards of Directors for both TMCA and TMCEC are comprised of the same people and both organizations share some common purposes, it is important that each officer and Board member be mindful where each Board's responsibility needs to be independent from the other to comply with the TMCEC grant conditions.
Membership in TMCA is open to all Municipal Judges, Court Clerks, Deputy Clerks, Prosecutors, and all other Court Staff. TMCA believes that a strong membership is essential to continue to provide at no cost the quality programs, support, and materials provided in prior years.
(Note: Two of the original TMCA "founding pioneers", The Honorable Joe Pirtle and The Honorable Robert C. Richter have been requested to begin to oversee and direct the development of a written history of TMCA for its 25th year anniversary.)