Attorney General Opinions

December 19, 2014

Legislative News

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

GA-1090: Authority of Dallas County, under Labor Code section 62.0515 and the County Purchasing Act, to require payment of a wage higher than the state-mandated minimum wage to employees of county contractors. (RQ-1203-GASummary: A court would likely conclude that Dallas County is not expressly authorized by section 62.0515 of the Labor Code to require a higher wage as a condition for a contract award under the County Purchasing Act. Whether the payment of higher wages is definitively and objectively related to the quality of services provided under a specific contract such that it can be included as an evaluation factor on competitive proposals submitted under section 262.030 of the Act requires a factual inquiry and is not a question that can be answered in the opinion process.

GA-1092: Charitable organization's tax exemption under section 11.18, Tax Code, for property leased to a limited partnership for the construction of improvements to be used to expand the charitable services (RQ-1205-GASummary:It is likely a court would determine that the principles of equitable ownership are applicable to an entity seeking a charitable tax exemption under section 11.18 of the Tax Code. The determination of whether a property qualifies for a tax exemption under section 11.18 is for the chief tax appraiser and, outside the purview of an attorney general opinion.

GA-1093: Authority of a third party, pursuant to contract under article 103.0031 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, to make changes to a court's docket, documents, or records (RQ-1206-GASummary: Section 37.10 of the Penal Code prohibits tampering with governmental records, which include court records. To the extent, that information in an official court docket is being changed without the court's knowledge or involvement, such activity would likely be prohibited by section 37.10. Allowing private attorneys or vendors with whom the county has contracted for collections services to make notations about the status of collections efforts on court documents would likely fall within a court's broad discretion in managing the docket.

GA-1094: Disposition of surplus property purchased with proceeds of the sheriff’s commissary account (RQ-1207-GASummary: Transferring equipment purchased with commissary funds to an office or department within the sheriff’s office that does not operate or use the equipment for the benefit of county jail inmates would go beyond the permitted use of commissary funds established by section 351.0415 of the Local Government Code. Equipment purchased with commissary funds that no longer has any use or benefit for county jail inmates may be sold pursuant to section 263.152 of the Local Government Code. The proceeds from the sale may only be used in accordance with section 351.0415 and should be deposited into the commissary account from which the equipment was originally purchased.


Requests for Attorney General Opinions

RQ-1233-GA: The Honorable René O. Oliveira, Chair, Committee on Business & Industry, Texas House of Representatives, Authority of Investment Pools under the Public Funds Investment Act.