TAC has highlighted recent Attorney General Opinions and Requests for Opinions of interest to counties.
Attorney General Opinions
KP-0390: Transfer of county school land to an independent school district (RQ-0404-KP). Article VII, Section 6 of the Texas Constitution does not authorize a county to transfer county school lands to the only school district in the county for no cost or for a nominal fee.
While a county may sell county school lands for fair market value and place the proceeds in a county school permanent trust fund, a court would likely determine that a school district does not possess authority to purchase county school land solely for investment purposes.
Article VII, Section 6b of the Texas Constitution authorizes distribution from the county school permanent trust for the limited purposes of reducing bonded indebtedness of those districts or for making permanent improvements, provided an amount sufficient to pay specified ad valorem taxes is retained in the fund. Subject to the limitations on use of a distribution and the required retention for ad valorem taxes, Article VII, Section 6b leaves the amount of any distribution to the commissioners court’s discretion.
KP-0391: County compliance with competitive bidding procedures before renewing or extending a contract for management of a county facility (RQ-0406-KP). The commissioners court of a county may renew a lease agreement authorized by Local Government Code Chapter 319 without complying with the competitive purchasing procedures of Local Government Code Chapter 262.
While this office does not construe contracts, as a general matter a commissioners court may agree to reasonable terms in a contract, including an assignment clause, provided such terms are consistent with applicable statutes and constitutional provisions regarding county contracting and the authority of the commissioners court generally.
KP-0392: Whether a court has discretion to accept an affidavit of surety to surrender a principal and to require a bondsman to show cause for the surrender (RQ-0410-KP). Trial judge cannot refuse a surety’s affidavit to surrender a principal.
Request for Attorney General Opinion
RQ-0438-KP: The Honorable Jenny P. Dorsey, Nueces County Attorney. Questions regarding a county judge’s contracting authority during emergencies pursuant to Section 418.1015 of the Government Code.
RQ-0439-KP: The Honorable Brett W. Ligon, Montgomery County District Attorney. Authority to prosecute individuals for the possession and sale of delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol products derived from hemp.
RQ-0440-KP: Lance Kinney, Ph.D., P.E., Executive Director, Texas Board of Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors. Whether a licensed professional engineer is authorized to certify a plat of a subdivision in specific circumstances.
RQ-0441-KP: The Honorable Chris Turner, Chair, House Committee on Business & Industry, Texas House of Representatives. The meaning of “economic benefit” under the gambling provisions of the Penal Code.