Attorney General Opinions and Requests

September 27, 2017

Legislative News

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

​Attorney General Opinions

KP-0161 Requirements for signatures on a petition filed in connection with a candidate’s application for a place on the ballot (RQ-0151-KP) Summary: Section 141.063 of the Election Code does not require that a qualified voter who signs a petition to place a candidate's name on the ballot print the voter's name exactly as the name appears on the voter registration list. Thus, a signature on such a petition is not automatically rendered invalid when the signer's printed name does not exactly match the signer's name as listed on voter registration rolls.

An election official verifying such a signature for validity must consider all of the information provided by the voter in the petition and the voter's registration records.

KP-0162 Whether a commissioners court may fund the county fire marshal and safety coordinator position through revenue generated by a sales and use tax imposed pursuant to chapter 324 of the Tax Code (RQ-0152-KP) Summary: A court would likely conclude that a commissioners court may not fund the salary of a county fire marshal and safety coordinator position through revenue generated by a sales and use tax imposed pursuant to chapter 324 of the Tax Code.

KP-0163 Whether the district attorney’s office must pay for the copy of the reporter’s record filed with the trial court clerk pursuant to Rule of Appellate Procedure 34.6(h) (RQ-0153-KPSummary: Neither the Texas Rules of Appellate Procedure, nor chapter 52 of the Government Code, nor a court reporter's ethical duties authorizes a court reporter to charge a district attorney's office when the State is not the appellant for the copy of the reporter's record filed with the trial court clerk pursuant to Texas Rule of Appellate Procedure 34.6(h).

KP-0164 The validity of local stock law elections held under statutes in effect in 1918 (RQ-0154-KP) Summary: The 1981 codification of chapter 143 of the Agriculture Code did not repeal stock laws establishing the free-range status of certain animals pursuant to a local option election conducted prior to 1981 under the statutes then in effect. In a county that adopted a local option stock law prior to 1981, the current provisions of chapter 143 govern the duty to prevent the class of animal specified in the local option stock law from roaming free in the locality.

KP-0165 Whether affidavits regarding ownership of real property by adverse possession may be recorded with the county clerk pursuant to section 12.001(a) of the Property Code (RQ-0155-KPSummary: Local Government Code section 192.001 requires a county clerk to record an instrument that is required or permitted by law to be recorded. Thus, a county clerk may not refuse to accept for filing an instrument concerning real property, including an affidavit of adverse possession, if the affidavit meets the recording requirements of Property Code section 12.001(a). Fraudulent affidavits are criminal, and county clerks have a duty to notify property owners when a fraudulent affidavit is filed.

Requests for Attorney General Opinions

RQ-0173-KP: The Honorable James Caleb Henson, Leon County Attorney, Whether a county commissioners court may deny a county judge longevity pay due to receipt of a state salary supplement pursuant to section 26.006 of the Government Code.

RQ-0174-KP:  The Honorable James M. Tirey, Hale County Attorney, Authority under article III, section 52(a) of the Texas Constitution of a Type A general-law municipality to expend funds on various tasks related to events sponsored by the area chamber of commerce, such as Christmas on the Plaza and Petersburg Days.
RQ-0175-KP:  The Honorable J. Bryan Clayton, Concho County Attorney, Whether a county may transfer funds from the road and bridge account to a general account to pay all or a portion of a commissioners salary when the commissioner spends a substantial portion of time performing road and bridge maintenance.
RQ-0177-KP: The Honorable Faith Johnson, Dallas County Criminal District Attorney, Which body worn camera recordings an officer may review, pursuant to Occupations Code subsection 1701.655(b)(5), before making a statement about an officer-involved incident.
RQ-0178-KP:  The Honorable Joseph C. Pickett, Chair, Committee on Environmental Regulation, Texas House of Representatives, Whether the administrative fee provisions of subsection 228.0547(b) of the Transportation Code apply to an entity operating a toll lane pursuant to section 228.007(b) of the Transportation Code.
RQ-0179-KP:  The Honorable Lisa L. Peterson, Nolan County Attorney, The establishment and funding of salaries for a court administrator and court reporter in a multicounty court at law.
RQ-0180-KP: The Honorable Eddie Lucio, Jr., Chair, Committee on Intergovernmental Relations, Texas State Senate, Whether and when a municipal law enforcement agency is authorized or required to release audio or video recordings from a body worn camera to members of the public, members of the governing body of the municipality, and civilian employees of the municipality.
RQ-0181-KP:  Sherif Zaafran, M.D., President, Texas Medical Board, Whether section 483.102 of the Health and Safety Code authorizes an eligible prescriber to directly or by standing order prescribe an opioid antagonist to law enforcement agencies.
RQ-0182-KP​: The Honorable Rod Ponton, Presidio County Attorney, Authority of a county commissioners court to implement a health wellness plan that includes a monthly payroll deduction for county employees who use tobacco products.
RQ-0183-KP​:  Jeffrey Barnard, M.D., Chair, Forensic Science Commission, Whether postmortem toxicological analysis conducted pursuant to the request of a medical examiner or forensic pathologist is subject to accreditation requirements of the Forensic Science Commission.