Attorney General Opinions

July 26, 2013

Legislative News

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

GA-1007: Whether a county may regulate, as a subdivision, the partition of a tract of land in the unincorporated portion of the county under Local Government Code chapter 232 or Health and Safety Code chapter 121 (RQ-1103-GA). Summary: Under the facts presented, a county may regulate, as a subdivision, the partition of land for a residential development in the unincorporated portion of the county under chapter 232 of the Local Government Code regardless of whether there has been a transfer of title to individual tracts.

GA-1010: Whether a commissioners court may enter into an agreement authorizing the county to forward invoices for road construction to a third party, who then pays the county for the construction (RQ-1107-GA). Summary: A county commissioner, acting alone, may not enter into an agreement with a private entity to fund the repair of county roads. Section 81.032 of the Local Government Code gives a commissioners court discretion to accept donations of money with lawful, reasonable conditions attached when doing so would further the county's road-building and maintenance duties.

GA-1011: Whether a water control and Improvement district may adopt and enforce rules regarding illegal dumping and weed control (RQ-1109-GA). Summary: A water control and improvement district has implied authority to adopt an ordinance to control weeds or regulate illegal dumping within its jurisdiction only if the ordinance is reasonable and is a practical means to accomplish a district purpose, such as the protection of water purity. The Water Code expressly authorizes a water control and improvement district to enforce state offenses prohibiting illegal dumping.

GA-1013: Whether a commissioners court may require a permit and charge a fee for installing an access point to a county road   (RQ-1110-GA). Summary: Transportation Code sections 251.003 and 251.016 authorize a commissioners court to require permits for the construction within the county right-of-way of access points to county roads. Section 251.017 authorizes a commissioners court to set a reasonable fee for such permits.

GA-1014: Whether counties operating under the County Road Department System may accept money from private entities in exchange for agreeing to repair or improve county roads designated by the private entities (RQ-1111-GA). Summary: In counties operating under the County Road Department System, the county commissioners court has discretion, subject to judicial review, under section 81.032 of the Local Government Code to determine whether and under what conditions to accept monetary donations from private entities. While a county commissioners court may not delegate its decision-making power over improving public roads, it has the authority to accept donations subject to conditions so long as the conditions are reasonable and not inconsistent with other law. In deciding whether to accept any specific donation, the commissioners court should carefully evaluate all factors relevant to the improvement of any particular road


Requests for Attorney General Opinions

RQ-1129-GA: The Honorable Bill Callegari, Chair, Committee on Pensions, Texas House of Representatives, Whether a metropolitan transit authority may use the job order contracting method of procurement for construction projects.

RQ-1131-GA: The Honorable Micheal B. Murray, District Attorney, 35th Judicial District, Whether a justice of the peace may serve as a court-appointed investigator for an indigent defendant in a felony case.

RQ-1133-GA: The Honorable Delma Rios-Salazar, Kleberg County Attorney, Whether the Kleberg County Commissioners Court may create and fund a full-time bailiff position for 105th District Court.

RQ-1135-GA: The Honorable Susan Combs, Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, Whether Government Code section 51.608, which requires that court costs imposed on a defendant in a criminal proceeding be the amount required on the date the defendant is convicted, violates federal and state constitutional prohibitions on retroactive laws.

RQ-1136-GA: Mr. David Slayton, Administrative Director, Office of Court Administration, Confidentiality of records in juvenile misdemeanor cases.