Attorney General Opinions

August 16, 2012

Legislative News

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TAC has highlighted recent Attorney General Opinions and Requests for Opinions of interest to counties.

GA-0954: Calculation of a county's rollback tax rate (RQ-1025-GASummary: Chapter 26 of the Tax Code authorizes a petition for a rollback election when the sum of a county's individually adopted tax rates exceeds the combined rollback rate, but under chapter 26's plain terms, the right to petition for a rollback election is not automatically triggered when a county adopts a rate for a particular tax that is above the rollback rate for that particular tax.

GA-0956: Status of unused funds of a county's crime victims' office (RQ-1049-GASummary: Given the crime victims' office's lack of authority to accept gifts and donations and the fact that the county commissioners court is the body authorized to accept gifts, a court could conclude that the property donated to the crime victims' office here can belong only to Coryell County. The question of whether a person has committed a crime in any particular circumstance is a question of fact that cannot be resolved in an attorney general opinion.
GA-0957: Application of the Open Meetings Act, chapter 551 of the Government Code, to a coordinated county transportation authority created under chapter 460 of the Transportation Code, and to its committees (RQ-1042-GA). Summary: Pursuant to the Legislature's definition of "meeting" in Government Code section 551.001(4), if a quorum of the governmental body attends a committee meeting at which deliberation takes place regarding public business or public policy over which the governmental body has supervision or control, the committee meeting will constitute a meeting of the governmental body under the Open Meetings Act. In this circumstance, the Act requires that a public notice be posted announcing a meeting of the governmental body. A court would likely conclude that a notice posted for a committee meeting that indicates a quorum of the governmental body may attend is sufficient to notify the public of such a meeting, as long as the other requirements of the Act are satisfied.
GA-0958: Whether a commissioners court may execute a surface lease of county school land that contains a term obligating the lessee to make expenditures for land management and maintenance (RQ-1044-GA). Summary: A court would likely conclude that a county is generally authorized to enter into a lease that requires the lessee of county school land to expend funds for land management and maintenance. We express no opinion, however, on the legality of any specific lease term that may be contemplated by Upshur County.

Requests for Attorney General Opinions

RQ-1071-GA: The Honorable Joseph C. Pickett, Chair, Committee on Defense and Veterans' Affairs, Texas House of Representatives, Authority of a county to create a transportation reinvestment zone for the purpose of issuing bonds for a transportation project.
RQ-1072-GA: Mr. David Slayton, Administrative Director, Office of Court Administration, Whether a prosecutor may require that a defendant enter a guilty plea as a condition for participation in a pre-trial diversion program under section 76.011, Government Code.