AG Opinions and Requests

April 05, 2019

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-0242 Whether the Secretary of State is the “returning officer” under article III, subsection 13(a) of the Texas Constitution, and, if not, which officer serves in that role in a single-county legislative district (RQ-0247-KP) Summary: Article III, subsection 13(a) of the Texas Constitution provides that when vacancies occur in the Legislature, the returning officer of the district in which such vacancy occurred possesses authority to order a special election if the Governor does not do so within a set time. Pursuant to section 67.007 of the Election Code, the county clerk prepares and submits election returns for a single county legislative district and is therefore the returning officer for purposes of article III, subsection 13(a).

KP-0245 Authority of county law enforcement to enforce county weight regulations on county roads (RQ-0251-KP) Summary: Following analogous judicial and attorney general opinions, a court would likely conclude that one statewide weight enforcement framework exists under Transportation Code chapters 621 and 251. Thus, the authority granted to a constable or deputy constable under Transportation Code section 251.153 is identical to the authority described by Transportation Code section 621.402.

Construing Transportation Code subsection 621.402(e)(1), and the Department of Transportation's rule implementing it as a qualification to Transportation Code subsection 251.153(b), a court would likely conclude that a local law enforcement officer such as a constable or deputy constable must be certified by the Department to enforce weight restrictions, even if he or she enforces those restrictions only on county roads.

Similarly, construing Transportation Code subsection 621.402(e)(2)(B) as a qualification to Transportation Code subsection 25 l.153(b ), a court would likely conclude that the Department may revoke a constable's authorization to weigh vehicles granted by a county commissioners court.

Requests for Attorney General Opinions

RQ-0276-KP The Honorable Todd A. Durden, Kinney County Attorney, Authority of a clerk to deny a defendant's request to withdraw funds the defendant paid toward fines and court costs prior to a guilty plea or determination of guilt.

RQ-0277-KP The Honorable James White, Chair, Committee on Corrections, Texas House of Representatives, Protections against excessive fines under the U.S. and Texas Constitutions.