Attorney General Opinions

January 31, 2014

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-1033: Texas Windstorm Insurance Association’s authority to assess insurance carriers and to use future premiums to pay prior obligations (RQ-1134-GASummary: Whether it is negligence by the TWIA organization, TWIA Board, or the Texas Department of Insurance to not make assessments against insurance carriers involves questions of fact that are inappropriate for the opinion process. No provision in Insurance Code chapter 2210 prohibits TWIA from using future premiums to pay prior obligations.

GA-1034Whether 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 of ex post facto laws (RQ-1135-GASummary: A court would likely conclude that section 51.608 of the Texas Government Code does not violate the ex post facto clauses of the United States or Texas Constitutions.: The Honorable Judith Zaffirini, Chair, Committee on Government Organization, Texas State Senate, Whether a city that has a current tax rate of zero is subject to a rollback election under section 26.07 of the Tax Code or an ad-valorem tax-freeze election under article VIII, section 1-b(h) of the Texas Constitution.

GA-1035: Confidentiality of records in juvenile misdemeanor cases (RQ-1136-GASummary: Senate Bill 393, Senate Bill 394, and House Bill 528, enacted by the Eighty-third Texas Legislature, do not irreconcilably conflict. Senate Bills 393 and 394 became effective on September 1, 2013. House Bill 528 will become effective on January 1, 2014. A court would likely conclude that the enactment of House Bill 528 will not require that the proceedings of nontraffic, fine-only misdemeanor cases involving children in justice and municipal courts must be closed to the public.

GA-1036: Whether Texas Constitution article XVI, section 40 prohibits a constable from serving as a commissioner of an emergency services district (RQ-1137-GASummary: Article XVI, section 40 of the Texas Constitution prohibits a person from simultaneously serving as a constable and a commissioner of an emergency services district.

GA-1037: Whether councils of governments are “units of general local government” for purposes of the federal HOME Investment Partnership Program (RQ-1139-GASummary: This office cannot advise that, as a matter of law, a council of governments is a unit of general local government for purposes of the federal HOME Investment Partnership Program.

GA-1039: The proper expenditure of pretrial intervention program funds accumulated in accordance with Code of Criminal Procedure article 102.0121 (RQ-1141-GASummary: Under Code of Criminal Procedure article 102.0121, pretrial intervention program funds may be used to refurbish courthouse facilities, train staff, and purchase office supplies only to the extent that such expenditures reimburse a county for expenses related to a defendant's participation in a pretrial intervention program and are used for the administration of the program.

Requests for Attorney General Opinions

RQ-1176-GA: The Honorable Janna Ivey Lindig, Bandera County Attorney, Implementation of section 601.123 of the Transportation Code, concerning the establishment of financial responsibility by making a deposit with the county judge.

RQ-1177-GA: The Honorable Vince Ryan, Harris County Attorney, Whether a district court judge may require electronic filing of specified documents and pleadings through a system alternative to the electronic filing system required by the Texas Supreme Court in the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure.

RQ-1178-GA: The Honorable Kenda Culpepper, Criminal District Attorney, Authority of the Rockwall County Juvenile Board over policy matters of the juvenile probation department, including the adoption of a personnel manual.

RQ-1179-GA: The Honorable Judith Zaffirini, Chair, Committee on Government Organization, Texas State Senate, Whether a city that has a current tax rate of zero is subject to a rollback election under section 26.07 of the Tax Code or an ad-valorem tax-freeze election under article VIII, section 1-b(h) of the Texas Constitution.