Attorney General Opinions

November 03, 2016

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-0116 Whether a county commissioners court has authority to expend county funds on holiday decorations and county literacy programs. (RQ-0105-KP) Summary: Under section 381.004 of the Local Government Code, a commissioners court may expend county funds on holiday lights and decorations on county buildings and facilities, and may expend county funds to contract with or donate to a local county literacy program, to the extent that such expenditures serve purposes specified in the statute. Whether a particular expenditure serves a purpose specified in section 381.004 and meets the requirements of article III, section 52(a) of the Texas Constitution is for the commissioners court to determine in the first instance, subject to judicial review. A court would likely conclude that such a holiday light display is not a violation of the Establishment Clause.

Requests for Attorney General Opinions

RQ-0133-KP: The Honorable Charles Schwertner, Chair, Committee on Health and Human Services, Texas State Senate, Whether doctors of osteopathy are authorized to issue certificates of medical examination and other relevant documents under chapter 574 of the Health and Safety Code.

RQ-0134-KP:  The Honorable Jo Anne Bernal, El Paso County Attorney, Whether Texas election judges are required to take the oath of office prescribed by Texas Constitution article 16, section 1.

RQ-0135-KP: The Honorable Nicholas LaHood, Bexar County Criminal District Attorney, Which official has authority to appoint associate judges to preside over proceedings for court-ordered mental health services pursuant to section 574.0085 of the Health and Safety Code.

RQ-0136-KP:  David Fleeger, M.D., Chair, Board of Directors, Texas Health Services Authority, Whether certain funds received by Texas Health Services Authority are public funds under the Public Funds Investment Act, chapter 2256 of the Government Code.

RQ-0137-KP: Mr. Michael Morath, Commissioner of Education, Texas Education Agency, Whether the computation of state funding for school districts receiving additional state aid for tax reduction must include local option homestead exemptions that were determined to be unauthorized in Attorney General Opinion KP-0072 (2006).

RQ-0138-KP: The Honorable James Hicks, Taylor County Criminal District Attorney, When a search warrant affidavit becomes executed and thus publicly available under Code of Criminal Procedure article 18.01(b).