AG Opinions and Requests

April 30, 2020

Legislative News

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

Attorney General Opinions

Opinion relating to county courts. KP-0298: Whether section 74.104 of the Government Code limits the commissioners court in setting salaries of the court coordinator and assistant court coordinator for a district court (RQ-0312-KP); Government Code section 74.104 authorizes district judges to determine reasonable compensation of court coordinators, subject to approval by the commissioners courts; neither the judges nor commissioners courts have unilateral authority to set such compensation; a commissioners court may set the salaries of assistant court coordinators under Local Government Code section 152.011.

Opinion relating to tax exemptions during a crisis. KP-0299: Application of the temporary exemption for qualified property damaged by a disaster, as set forth in Section 11.35(g) of the Tax Code (RQ-0345-KP); Purely economic, non-physical damage to property caused by the COVID-19 disaster is not eligible for the temporary tax exemption provided by Section 11.35 of the Tax Code.

Requests for Attorney General Opinions

Request relating to authority of counties during a crisis. RQ-0342-KP: The Honorable Matthew Mills, Hood County Attorney; Whether, when operating under a local disaster declaration, local governments may commandeer private property under Government Code 418.108.

Request relating to authority of counties during a crisis. RQ-0343-KP: The Honorable Andrew Lucas, Somervell County Attorney; Whether Article 2, Section 1 of the Texas Constitution, relating to the separation of powers, applies to municipal government and the management of personnel.

Request relating to criminal procedure. RQ-0344-KP: The Honorable Elmer Beckworth, Cherokee County District Attorney; Whether the "warrant" and "warrant return" associated with an affidavit subject to disclosure under Article 18.02 of the Code of Criminal Procedure are subject to disclosure under the Public Information Act, or any other law or regulation of the State of Texas, when there is an ongoing criminal investigation.

Request relating to permits and licensing. RQ-0346-KP: The Honorable Briscoe Cain, Chair, House Select Committee on Driver's License Issuance & Renewal, Texas House of Representatives; Extension of driver's license expiration dates due to COVID-19 and its effect on firearms purchases.

Request relating to authority of counties during a crisis. RQ-0347-KP: The Honorable Dan Flynn, Chair, House Committee on Defense & Veterans Affairs, Texas House of Representatives; Authority of a county judge to issue emergency orders regulating the business of pawnshops during a declared disaster.