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      Hidalgo County filing into the 21st century

      Processing paper files can be a time consuming and costly task, but Hidalgo County is looking to kick that way of doing business to the curb.

      "There was a court mandate that is now mandating all civil filings, short of juveniles and child welfare cases, be filed electronically come January 2014," District Clerk Laura Hinojosa said. "Hidalgo County is in the top ten counties that will start the e-filing on January 2nd."

      The county could soon add another type of e-filing to the list---criminal cases.

      Recently, State Representative Terry Canales' bill to move all criminal filings electronically passed the Texas House.

      The bill still has to go through the Senate and get signed by Governor Rick Perry, but Canales told Action 4 News he does not see a problem with getting that done.

      "I think this bill will get passed and we're on our way to getting it done," Canales said during a phone interview. "It will bring the county into the 21st century and set a precedent for Texas. Hidalgo County will be the first on the fast track to implementing criminal e-filing."

      While the financial impact e-filling will have is not certain, Hinojosa said it is definitely a step in the right direction and will save taxpayers money.

      "It will save time, effort, money, Hinojosa said. It is truly the way of the future and I'm proud to say that we're on our way to not only civil but criminal filings."

      Hinojosa said, while Hidalgo County is on its way to into the future of filing, there is still a ways to go.

      The rule for civil e-filing still have not been adopted, but are expected to be by September.

      Criminal e-filing will take a bit longer, but is in the works.