Attorney General Opinions

October 02, 2015

Legislative News

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

Attorney General Opinions

KP-0037 Authority of a county to reimburse a county commissioner for legal costs related to defending against criminal allegations for which the commissioner was found not guilty. (RQ-0018-KP) Summary: Under the common law, the Brown County Commissioners Court has discretion to reimburse the legal expenses incurred by a county commissioner in the defense of a criminal matter for which he was found not guilty. The County must find that the expenditure is primarily for a county purpose and not merely for the commissioner's personal interest and that the prosecution was for actions taken by the commissioner that were within the scope of his official duties.

KP-0038 Whether the Open Meetings Act applies to district and county court-at-law judges when they meet to appoint county officials. (RQ-0019-KP) Summary: A group of district judges meeting to appoint the county auditor pursuant to section 84.003 of the Local Government Code is not a "governmental body" under the Open Meetings Act. Consequently, notice of the group's meetings is not required by the Act to be posted. A court would likely conclude that a group of district and county judges meeting to appoint a community supervision and corrections department director pursuant to chapter 76 of the Government Code as currently written is not a "governmental body" under the Act because of the statutory curtailment of the group's previous managerial role with respect to departments. Consequently, notice of the group's meetings is not required by the Act to be posted.

KP-0039 Taxing authority of the Port Isabel-San Benito Navigation District. (RQ-0021-KP) Summary: A court would likely conclude that an election creating a navigation district under article III, section 52 of the Texas Constitution pursuant to chapter 61 of the Water Code does not satisfy the election requirements for a maintenance and operation tax under section 63.282 of the Water Code. Section 63.282 of the Water Code authorizes a navigation district to levy a maintenance tax for "the maintenance, operation, and upkeep of the district and its improvements," but does not authorize a levy of a tax for new improvement projects in the first instance. Once the voters have approved a maintenance and operation tax under section 63.282 of the Water Code, a self-liquidating navigation district need not further obtain approval from the county commissioners court before levying the tax.

Requests for Attorney General Opinions

RQ-0049-KP: The Honorable Rodney Anderson, Brazos County Attorney, Ad valorem taxation of land owned by the Texas A&M University System.

RQ-0050-KP: The Honorable Natalie Cobb Koehler, Bosque County Attorney, County responsibilities regarding interstate extradition.

RQ-0051-KP: The Honorable Wes Mau, Hays County Criminal District Attorney, Questions regarding a notice prohibiting entry with a handgun onto certain premises under section 30.06 of the Penal Code and section 411.209 of the Government Code.

RQ-0052-KP: The Honorable Patrick M. Wilson, Ellis County and District Attorney, Disposition of revenue collected pursuant to section 502.402 of the Transportation Code, authorizing an optional county fee for child safety.

RQ-0054-KP: The Honorable John Whitmire, Chair, Committee on Criminal Justice, Application of Penal Code sections 30.07 and 46.03, relating to the open carry of handguns, to school districts.