AG Opinions and Requests

November 01, 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-0273 (RQ-0290-KP) Summary: An attorney who assists with a case prior to the district attorney's recusal or other inability to perform the duties of office serves in the capacity of a special prosecutor, rather than an attorney pro tem, and may qualify for remuneration in that capacity. Upon the recusal of the district attorney, the court may appoint a pro tem. For an attorney pro tem appointed prior to September 1, 2019, the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure required a county to compensate the pro tem in accordance with a fee schedule stating reasonable fixed rates or minimum and maximum hourly rates. Given that the Legislature required limits on fees and prohibited payment outside of those limitations, a provision in a fee schedule permitting an award of fees outside of those parameters is invalid.

KP-0275 Whether probable cause affidavits that may identify child victims may be released to the public upon a request made to a justice of the peace (RQ-0288-KP) Summary: Article 15.26 of the Code of Criminal Procedure makes probable cause affidavits public information, but a court could conclude that subarticle 57.02(h) prohibits the disclosure of identifying information regarding a child sex offense victim from the affidavits in this case by a justice of the peace without a court order. Whether a justice of the peace could issue such an order depends on the nature of the underlying offense. A court could conclude that the two statutes may be reconciled through redaction of the identifying information.

KP-0276 Whether section 43.106 of the Local Government Code, requiring municipal annexation of county roads adjacent to annexed property, applies to voluntary annexations initiated pursuant to former section 43.028 of the Local Government Code (RQ-0289-KP) Summary: Section 43.106 of the Local Government Code requires a municipality that annexed any portion of a county road or an area abutting a county road by granting a petition under former section 43.028 to also annex the full width of the road and adjacent right-of-way. Depending on the relief sought, a county could challenge a municipality’s annexation under section 43.106 of the Local Government Code in an action in quo warranto, declaratory judgment, or both.

Requests for Attorney General Opinions

RQ-0310-KP Authority of the Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority to impose fees or to by election establish a taxing district to fund the replacement, operation, and maintenance of dams.