The Texas Association of Counties has highlighted recent Attorney General Opinions and Requests for Opinions of interest to counties.
Attorney General Opinions
KP-0402: Whether Code of Criminal Procedure Article 55.01(a)(1)(C), which provides for the expunction of all records and files relating to the arrest of a person convicted of unlawfully carrying certain weapons, includes expunction of the conviction itself (RQ-0428-KP). The Firearm Carry Act passed by the 87th Legislature decriminalized specified offenses and amended Article 55.01 of the Code of Criminal Procedure concerning expunction of certain records. Article 55.01(a)(1)(C) provides for the expunction of all records and files relating to the arrest of a person convicted of an offense committed before Sept. 1, 2021, under Section 46.02(a) of the Penal Code as it existed before that date. A court could conclude that an order of expunction under Article 55.01(a)(1)(C) may include the judgment of conviction for such an offense.
KP-0404: Whether Article V, Section 1-a, of the Texas Constitution prohibits a candidate from running for state judicial office if the candidate is 74 years old on the date of the election but turns 75 before the term begins (RQ-0430-KP). Under Section 1-a(1) of Article V of the Texas Constitution, a judge serving a four-year term who will reach the age of 75 before the end of the current term must retire at the end of the term of office. Long-standing judicial precedent holds that the judge may neither run for nor serve subsequent terms as an elected judge in Texas.
KP-0405: Proper method for distribution of the Coronavirus Relief Fund in a jurisdiction with a population under 500,000, but within a county with a population over 500,000 (RQ-0431-KP). In the 2020 Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF), the U.S. Congress appropriated $150 billion to assist states, territories, tribal governments, and certain local governments in funding necessary but unbudgeted expenditures the governments incurred because of the COVID-19 public health emergency. Texas cities and counties with populations exceeding 500,000 were eligible for a direct payment of CRF money from the U.S. Treasury. The CRF did not expressly require a direct recipient to redistribute its relief funds to local governments within its jurisdiction and did not establish a methodology by which to redistribute its such funds. Accordingly, we cannot conclude a particular direct recipient’s redistribution methodology is contrary to law.
Request for Attorney General Opinion
RQ-0451-KP: The Honorable Robert H. Trapp, San Jacinto County District Attorney. Use of CARES Act funds to increase salaries of employees in a sheriff's department in the middle of the budget year.
RQ-0452-KP: The Honorable Martin Plackle, Lee County Attorney. Whether a magistrate has authority to modify a bond set by a magistrate in a different county where the accused was arrested.
RQ-0454-KP: The Honorable Matt Krause, Chair, Committee on General Investigating, Texas House of Representatives. Whether the federal government has failed to uphold its obligations to protect Texas from invasion under Article IV, Section 4 of the U.S. Constitution, and whether Texas has the sovereign power to defend itself from invasion.