News Article | June 29, 2023
AG Opinions and Requests
Attorney General Opinions
JS-0001: Discusses the authority of a county commissioners court to contract for the collection of forfeited commercial bail bonds under Code of Criminal Procedure article 103.0031(h) (RQ-0490-KP). The opinion concludes that the Code of Criminal Procedure article 103.0031 generally permits a county or a municipality to enter into a third-party collection contract to recover money owed on certain items in criminal cases, including forfeited bonds. The reference to a nonexistent "section" in Code of Criminal Procedure article 103.0031(h), providing that "[t]his section does not apply to commercial bail bonds," is a scrivener's error that creates an absurdity, such that a court would likely construe its exception to refer to article 103.0031. A court would likely conclude that attorney sureties execute "commercial bail bonds" to the extent they sell their bonding services for a fee or commission. As such, article 103.0031(h) would prohibit a commissioners court from entering into a third-party contract for collection services on forfeited attorney surety bail bonds. Instead, forfeited attorney surety bonds would be collected by district and county attorneys, clerks of district and county courts, sheriffs, constables and justices of the peace pursuant to Code of Criminal Procedure article 103.003(a).
JS-0002: Considers questions related to the ownership of the Texas Revolution and Texas Civil War centennial markers and what state agency, if any, is responsible for the preservation and maintenance of the markers (RQ-0491-KP). The opinion provides that Article III, sections 51 and 52 of the Texas Constitution prohibits a state agency from making an outright grant of state property. A state agency's conveyance of state property must be authorized by the Legislature. To the extent ownership of the historical markers commemorating the centennial of the Republic of Texas and the Civil War has not been lawfully transferred to another party, the markers remain the property of the State of Texas. Pursuant to Government Code section 2165.001, the Texas Facilities Commission is the custodian of state property and responsible for the proper care and protection of such property. And under Government Code sections 2166.501 and 2166.502, the Facilities Commission has responsibility for certain monuments and memorials. As a result of those duties, a court would likely conclude the Texas Facilities Commission is charged with maintaining the historical markers commemorating the centennial of the Republic of Texas and the Civil War.
JS-0003: Considers the authority of school districts or educators to choose what disciplinary action to impose on a student because of race, ethnicity, sex or gender of the student (RQ-0492-KP). The opinion concludes that Texas Equal Rights Amendment of the Texas Constitution provides that "[e]quality under the law shall not be denied or abridged because of sex, race, color, creed, or national origin." In applying this provision, the Texas Supreme Court will not uphold a state action based on sex, race, color, creed or national origin unless it is narrowly tailored to serve a compelling governmental interest. Thus, any race-based student disciplinary decision by an educator or school district, whether motivated by guidance from the Office for Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Education or otherwise, violates state law unless it meets this standard. A court would likely conclude that avoiding a disparate impact cannot serve as a compelling governmental interest that justifies making a race-based student disciplinary decision.
Requests for Attorney General Opinion
RQ-0511-KP: Burnet County Attorney Eduardo Arredondo. Whether a county commissioners court may cede authority to the county judge to hire a county commissioner's spouse for a position that reports directly to the county judge; and related questions involving Government Code chapter 573.