Attorney General Opinions

September 26, 2013

Legislative News

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

Attorney General Opinions

GA-1018: Whether a commissioners court may establish a rule that prohibits an elected county official from bringing a pet to the official’s office (RQ-1114-GASummary: Due to a commissioners court's statutory authority to maintain and regulate county offices, a reviewing court would likely determine that the Titus County Commissioners Court may generally prohibit animals in county offices, including the office of the county attorney.

GA-1019: Whether advertising by a bail bond licensee in a magazine that is distributed to pretrial detainees held in the county jail, when the licensee has an exclusive agreement that no advertisements from other licensees will appear in the magazine, could ever constitute unlawful “solicitation” in violation of section 1704.304(c) of the Texas Occupation Code (RQ-1118-GASummary: A court could conclude, depending on the particular facts of the case, that a bail bond licensee's exclusive advertising in a magazine that is distributed to pretrial detainees held in the county jail constitutes unlawful "solicitation" in violation of section 1704.304(c) of the Texas Occupation Code.

GA-1021: The appropriate court for a surety to file a release of surety for the surrender of a bond principal (RQ-1121-GASummary: For purposes of Code of Criminal Procedure articles 17.16 and 1 7.1 9, after a person is released on a bond but before a formal charging instrument is filed in the county, county court-at-law or district court, prosecution is pending before the magistrate who properly received a complaint against the accused.

GA-1022: Authority to create overlapping emergency services districts that provide duplicative services and levy additional ad valorem taxes (RQ-1122-GASummary: Pursuant to chapter 77 5 of the Health and Safety Code, two emergency services districts may overlap in territory but may not provide duplicative services in any territory where they overlap. Further, an emergency services district may not amend its provision of services in order to provide services duplicative of another overlapping emergency services district.

GA-1023: Whether an official court reporter for a multi-county judicial district is a state employee or a county employee and related questions (RQ-1124-GASummary: The employment status of a district court reporter is context-specific and cannot be determined for all purposes. The district judge who appoints an official district court reporter has the sole authority to terminate the court reporter. A county has no authority to influence or direct the employment of a district court reporter.

Requests for Attorney General Opinions

RQ-1148-GA: The Honorable Harold V. Dutton, Chair, Committee on Urban Affairs, Texas House of Representatives, Whether justice courts may charge a fee for the filing of an application for an occupational driver’s license.

RQ-1151-GA: The Honorable Susan D. Reed, Bexar County Criminal District Attorney, When district courts should begin collecting the new fees for electronic filing under House Bill 2302 and Senate Bill 390.