Attorney General Opinions and Requests

February 02, 2018

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-0177 Restrictions on the use of a school district’s public funds to provide transportation to and from polling places and for political communications for or against a particular measure or candidate (RQ-0201-KP) Summary: Absent an educational purpose in providing students transportation to the polling locations, a court would likely conclude that the transportation serves no public purpose of the school district and therefore violates article III, section 52(a) of the Texas Constitution.

If a school district employee has no responsibility or duty to perform on behalf of the school district at the polling location, a court would likely conclude that a school district's funding of transportation to the polling location for that individual serves no public purpose of the school district and therefore violates article III, section 52(a) of the Texas Constitution.

Section 11.169 of the Education Code prohibits a board of trustees of a school district from using public funds to work for a particular measure or candidate. In addition, subsection 255.003(a) of the Election Code makes it a criminal offense for an officer or employee of a school district to knowingly spend or authorize the spending· of public funds for political advertising. A court would likely conclude that the use of public funds to link to an Internet website promoting a specific candidate or measure is itself a communication supporting or opposing a candidate or measure in violation of this provision.

Requests for Attorney General Opinions

RQ-0205-KP: The Honorable James White, Chair, Committee on Corrections, Texas House of Representatives, Consequences of failing to comply with the requirements for continuation of existing private transfer fee obligations under section 5.203 of the Property Code.

RQ-0207-KP: The Honorable Mark A. Gonzalez, Nueces County District Attorney, Whether an employee of a district attorney's office is eligible to execute and serve a subpoena under article 24.01(b)(2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure if the employee is not, at the time of issuance, involved in the proceeding for which the appearance is sought.

RQ-0208-KP: The Honorable Vince Ryan, Harris County Attorney, Whether the Harris County Department of Education may establish a relief fund to provide grant funding to independent school districts located in Harris County impacted by Hurricane Harvey.

RQ-0209-KP: The Honorable Geanie W. Morrison, Chair, Committee on Transportation, Whether a gambling establishment that charges a membership or entrance fee but does not take a percentage of the value gambled violates the gambling provisions of the Penal Code.