AG Opinions and Requests

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

September 16, 2022

Legislative News

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Attorney General Opinions

KP-0411: Whether a legislator or a member of the public may inspect or obtain copies of anonymous voted ballots (RQ-0424-KP). Anonymous voted ballots are election records under the Election Code, and the Legislature has established procedures aimed at both preserving those records and granting public access to them. Section 66.058 of the Election Code requires the anonymous ballots to be held in a locked ballot box during a 22-month preservation period, with entry only as authorized by the Election Code. Section 1.012 establishes these ballots as public information and requires the election records custodian to make the ballots available to the public. By expressly requiring the custodian to provide public access to such records, the Legislature authorized entry into the locked ballot box for such purpose during the 22-month period. Thus, members of the public and legislators may inspect or obtain copies of anonymous voted ballots during the 22-month preservation period. Personally identifiable information contained in election records that could tie a voter's identity to their specific voting selections is confidential and excepted from public disclosure. Any confidential information on an anonymous voted ballot must be redacted for purposes of disclosure to protect the constitutional right to a secret ballot. The Election Code authorizes the Secretary of State and election records custodians to establish procedures to accomplish the dual priorities of ballot preservation and public access to anonymous voted ballots.

Request for Attorney General Opinion

RQ-0469-KP: Hale County Attorney, Plainview. Whether the city's employment of an attorney who is the son-in-law of the city manager constitutes a conflict of interest under chapter 176 of the Local Government Code or the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct.

RQ-0470-KP: Hood County Attorney, Granbury. Authority to determine software systems for county departments.

RQ-0471-KP: Rusk County and District Attorney. Required mental state under Local Government Code section 111.012, which creates a criminal offense for an officer, employee or official of a county government who refuses to comply with applicable budget preparation requirements.

RQ-0472-KP: Cameron County District Attorney, Brownsville. Commencement of the terms of city council positions after an election under Texas Constitution article XI, section 11 and the validity of the election in particular circumstances.

RQ-0473-KP: Denton County Criminal District Attorney. Authority of a school district to contract with a vendor for security services, including facial recognition services, under chapter 503 of the Business and Commerce Code, which regulates the use or capture of biometric identifiers for commercial purposes.

RQ-0474-KP: Wheeler County Auditor. Authority of a county to use tax revenue to pay a supplement to a hospital district in the county.

RQ-0475-KP: Montgomery County Attorney. Authority of a county under Transportation Code chapter 251 to abandon or rename a public road not included in the county maintenance system.

RQ-0476-KP: Tarrant County Auditor, Fort Worth. Authority of a magistrate appointed by a judge or group of judges under Government Code chapter 54 to simultaneously serve as staff legal counsel for the appointing judge or judges and for the other appointed magistrates.

RQ-0477-KP: Hardin County Attorney. Whether a commissioner of an emergency services district may also serve as a volunteer firefighter for the emergency services district.