Attorney General Opinions

May 29, 2015

Legislative News

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

Attorney General Opinions

KP-0016 Payment of attorney's fees for members of a county commissioners court under criminal investigation for potential violations of the Open Meetings Act (RQ-1228-GASummary: A county has the authority to pay attorney's fees for a member of a commissioners court who sought legal representation for a criminal investigation that did not result in any criminal charges filed, provided that the commissioners court determines, subject to judicial review, that the payment will serve a public interest and not merely the member's private interest. A court would likely conclude that public policy precludes a member of a commissioners court under criminal investigation from voting on county payment of the member's criminal defense fees or the fees of other members subject to the same investigation.

KP-0017 Construction of article III, section 49-k of the Texas Constitution, related to the Texas Mobility Fund, in light of the 2001 ballot language proposing the constitutional amendment (RQ-1229-GASummary: A court would likely conclude that the language used to describe Proposition 15 on the 2001 November ballot, adding article III, section 49-k to the Texas Constitution, sufficiently expressed the scope and character of the proposed amendment and set its subject matter apart from the other amendments to satisfy constitutional standards.

KP-0019 Deposit of restitution funds ordered in a criminal judgment by a statutory county court (RQ-1231-GASummary: A court would likely conclude that restitution funds ordered in a criminal judgment by a statutory county court and collected by the county clerk pursuant to article 42.037 of the Code of Criminal Procedure are not funds "belonging to the county," and thus they are not required to be deposited with the county treasurer or in the county treasury pursuant to section 113.021 of the Local Government Code.

KP-0020 Whether the Open Meetings Act prohibits a governmental body from holding a meeting at a location that requires the presentation of photo identification (RQ-1232-GASummary: A court is unlikely to conclude as a matter of law that the Open Meetings Act prohibits a governmental body from holding meetings at a location that requires the presentation of photo identification for admittance. Whether a specific meeting location is accessible to the public for purposes of the Act, however, is a question of fact and is not a determination appropriate for the attorney general opinion process.

Requests for Attorney General Opinions

RQ-0023-KP: Mr. Jeff May, Collin County Auditor, Authority of a home-rule municipality to impose building codes and related construction codes in its extraterritorial jurisdiction.

RQ-0024-KP: The Honorable J.D. Lambright, Montgomery County Attorney, Authority of county commissioners court to designate an alternative location for public sales conducted under section 34.01 of the Tax Code and section 51.002 of the Property Code.