AG Opinions and Requests

January 28, 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

KP-0277: Authority of a credit services organization to assist a consumer with obtaining an extension of consumer credit in a form other than a deferred presentment transaction or a motor vehicle title loan (RQ-0300-KP); Chapter 393 of the Finance Code does not restrict credit services organizations, other than when operating as credit access businesses, from obtaining for a consumer or assisting in obtaining an extension of consumer credit in a form other than a deferred presentment transaction or motor vehicle title loan.

A determination about whether any specific extension of credit complies with the requirements of chapter 393 will involve a factual inquiry into the precise offering, and such questions are beyond the scope of an attorney general opinion.

KP-0278: County authority and responsibility for stray livestock (RQ-0291-KP); A county sheriff has the authority and responsibility to enforce the estray laws of chapter 142 of the Agriculture Code whether the county has adopted a local-option stock law or remains an open-range area.

KP-0279: Authority of a commercial entity to operate a willed-body program in Texas (RQ-0292-KP); Chapter 692A of the Health and Safety Code defines a "tissue bank" to include an entity licensed under state law to engage in specified activities with respect to donated bodies or anatomical specimens. For purposes of chapter 692A, the Texas Legislature defined "state" broadly to include any state. Thus, to the extent Science Care is licensed as a tissue bank by another state, it is a tissue bank under chapter 692A, and it may operate in Texas as allowed by that chapter. Pursuant to chapter 692A, to the extent Science Care receives whole-body donations, it is subject to oversight by the Anatomical Board of Texas, and its use of a wholebody donation, including a transfer, must be coordinated through the Board.

KP-0284: Construction of statutes related to procedures for addressing dangerous dogs under chapter 822 of the Health and Safety Code (RQ-0294-KP); The plain language of section 822.002 of the Health and Safety Code does not require an affiant of a sworn complaint alleging that a dog caused death or serious injury to a person to have personal knowledge of that event, and a court is unlikely to imply such a requirement.

If a court finds that a dog caused death or serious bodily injury to a person, the fact that the dog's attack was provoked is not an element a court must find before ordering a dog destroyed under section 822.003.

The legislature's imposition of a ten-day deadline by which a court must conduct a hearing under section 822.003 is not an unlawful statutory restriction on the court's inherent authority to control its docket. The plain language of section 822.003 requires that the case be called and a hearing conducted within the ten-day statutory deadline, but it does not set a deadline by which the court must rule or otherwise limit the court's authority to continue a hearing once called. No provision in chapter 822 deprives a court of jurisdiction if the hearing required by subsection 822.003(a) is held outside of the ten-day period, but a party could seek mandamus to compel a hearing if a court does not hold a hearing within that period.

Requests for Attorney General Opinions

RQ-0313-KP: The Honorable Deborah Earley, Blanco County Attorney; 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.

RQ-0314-KP: The Honorable William James Dixon, Navarro County Criminal District Attorney; Effective date and applicability of certain court costs and related fees imposed by Senate Bill 346.

RQ-0315-KP: The Honorable John T. Hubert, Kleberg and Kenedy Counties District Attorney; Applicability of the constitutional resign-to-run provision to a county constable.

RQ-0316-KP: The Honorable Lyle Larson, Chair, House Natural Resources Committee Texas House of Representatives; Whether state or federal law preempts application of municipal development ordinances to a Water Control and Improvement District's construction and maintenance of dams.

RQ-0317-KP:  The Honorable Clint T. Griffin, Schleicher County Attorney; Authority of county sheriff to donate forfeiture funds under Code of Criminal Procedure article 59.06 to an entity providing mental health services, drug counseling services, and services for the victims of domestic abuse.

RQ-0318-KP: The Honorable Larry Taylor, Chair, Committee on Education; Texas State Senate; Matters related to the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association and its compliance with House Bill 1900 and Senate Bill 615.

RQ-0319-KP: The Honorable Lilli A. Hensley, Sterling County Attorney; Whether a county may call a bond election to fund the construction, repair, improvement, and maintenance of city roads.

RQ-0322-KP: Mr. Mike Novak, Executive Director, Texas Facilities Commission; Authority of the Texas Facilities Commission and the State Preservation Board in relation to a Bill of Rights monument authorized by House Concurrent Resolution 111, adopted by the Eightieth Legislature.

RQ-0323-KP: The Honorable Roberto Serna, District Attorney, 293rd Judicial District; Application of article III, section 53 of the Texas Constitution to invoices submitted to a county under an amended service contract for services performed prior to the amendment.

RQ-0324-KP: Ms. Camille Cain, Executive Director, Texas Juvenile Justice Department; Whether a governmental body is required to provide responsive information in response to a request for public information if the request is not feasible or will result in substantial interference with the ongoing operations of the governmental body.

RQ-0325-KP: Mr. Darrell T. Brownlow, Chairman, San Antonio River Authority; Whether the San Antonio River Authority may release an inundation easement that has been declared surplus without receiving fair market value.

RQ-0326-KP: The Honorable Senfronia Thompson, Chair, House Committee on Public Health, Texas House of Representatives Authority of Fort Bend Independent School District to maintain a historic cemetery discovered on a school construction site).