Attorney General Opinions

January 11, 2013

Legislative News

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

GA-0976: Whether a home-rule municipality may require sex offenders who reside within the city to register with the sheriff rather than with the chief of police (RQ-1064-GASummary: A sex offender who resides within a municipality should register with the office of chief of police of the municipality, and a sex offender who resides outside the limits of a municipality should register with the county sheriff. A home-rule municipality may not require otherwise, unless the municipality is in a county with a centralized registration authority. A county with a population of less than 100,000 persons is not authorized to establish a centralized registration authority. Whether an offender may be prosecuted for failure to comply with sex registration requirements is a matter within a prosecutor's discretion.

GA-0977: Whether a county bail bond board may permit a licensed bail bond holder to change part of the collateral he or she posted as security (RQ-1067-GASummary: A licensed bondsman may not withdraw a portion of the security deposited or executed under section 1704.160 of the Occupations Code and replace it with a different type of collateral.

To the extent that replacement security posted under section 1704.206 of the Occupations Code replaces a portion of the initial security that has been depleted, the replacement security must be in the same form as the existing collateral. Additional security posted under section 1704.203 of the Occupations Code beyond the amount initially posted may be in a form different from that originally deposited or executed.

GA-0978: Whether the Cherokee County Community Supervision and Corrections Department may prescribe a procedure that permits the issuance of checks without the signature of the county auditor (RQ-1069-GA). Summary: Whatever the scope of the "accounting procedures" that the fiscal officer of the Cherokee County Supervision and Corrections Department may prescribe, they may not include a directive that removes the county auditor from the process of countersigning checks or warrants.

GA-0979: Whether the staff of the Sunset Advisory Commission is entitled to receive confidential records, documents, and files and to attend confidential disciplinary hearings, deliberations, and other proceedings of the State Commission on Judicial Conduct (RQ-1066-GA). Summary: Under article V, section 1-a of the Texas Constitution, papers filed with the State Commission on Judicial Conduct, along with the Commission's proceedings, are made confidential unless the Legislature enacts a law establishing an exception to the constitutional confidentiality requirement. A court could conclude that the Legislature has not authorized the staff of the Sunset Advisory Commission to review the confidential records, documents, and files of the State Commission on Judicial Conduct or to attend confidential meetings and deliberations of the State Commission on Judicial Conduct.

GA-0981: Authority of a county to form a transportation reinvestment zone, collect an ad valorem tax increment, and pledge and assign all or part of the increment to secure bonds to pay the cost of a transportation project (RQ-1071-GA). Summary: A county's issuance of tax increment financing bonds secured by a pledge of the county's ad valorem tax increment would be subject to constitutional challenge as violating the equal and uniform taxation requirements of article VIII, section 1(a) of the Texas Constitution.

GA-0982: Whether a senior status federal judge who has been designated and assigned to hold court in Texas is authorized to conduct a marriage ceremony in Texas (RQ-1079-GA). Summary: A senior status federal judge meeting the requirements of 28 U.S.C.A. § 371 is authorized to conduct a marriage ceremony in Texas.

Requests for Attorney General Opinions
RQ-1099-GA: Ms. Phyllis L. Martin, Montgomery County Auditor, Appointment and compensation of temporary justices of the peace.

RQ-1100-GAThe Honorable Todd Staples, Commissioner, Texas Department of Agriculture, Whether a self-insurance program of a political subdivision or state agency may be used to satisfy the insurance requirements set by the Prescribed Burning Board pursuant to Chapter 153 of the Natural Resources Code. 

RQ-1101-GA: Mr. David Slayton, Administrative Director, Office of Court Administration, Questions regarding Transportation Code section 502.010, the county scofflaw statute, and the reconciliation of SB 1386 and HB 2357 from the 82nd Legislature.

RQ-1102-GA: The Honorable Robert Henneke, Kerr County Attorney, Whether a governmental entity may use Penal Code section 30.05, the criminal trespass statute, to forbid a person's future entry upon property open to the public and owned by the governmental entity.

RQ-1103-GA: The Honorable Daynah Fallwell, Wilson County Attorney, 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.