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Home / Member Services / Legislative / Legislative News / Attorney General Opinions and Requests 4-27-2012

Attorney General Opinions and Requests 4-27-2012

TAC has highlighted county-related Attorney General Opinions and Requests issued since March 19.

Requests for Attorney General Opinions

RQ-1048-GA: Honorable Jeff Wentworth, Chair, Senate Select Committee on Open Government, Texas State Senate, Whether Bexar County and VIA Metropolitan Transit may use sales tax proceeds to fund a proposed streetcar project in San Antonio.

RQ-1049-GA: Honorable David A. Castillo, 52nd Judicial District Attorney, Coryell County, Status of unused funds of a county's crime victims' office.

RQ-1051-GA: The Honorable Burt R. Solomons, Chair, Redistricting, Texas House of Representatives, Transfer of a tax lien pursuant to section 32.06, Tax Code, and the items that may be included within that transfer.

RQ-1052-GA: The Honorable Jeri Yenne, Brazoria County Criminal District Attorney, Operation of golf carts in a "master planned community."

RQ-1054-GA: Mr. Mark R. Vickery, P.G., Executive Director, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, Whether a state agency's demand for restitution based upon an unadjudicated claim for breach of a grant contract constitute a "debt" to the state for purposes of section 403.055, Government Code.

RQ-1055-GA: The Honorable David K. Walker, Montgomery County Attorney; Whether an individual may be prosecuted for an alleged assaultive offense that occurred in 1998 when the person was thirteen years of age, and in which the victim died in 2011.

RQ-1056-GA: The Honorable Rodney Ellis, Chair, Committee on Government Organization; Changes to eminent domain law enacted by Senate Bill 18, Eighty-Second Legislature.

Attorney General Opinions

GA-0915: The Honorable Lucinda A. Vickers, Atascosa County Attorney, Whether a county clerk must allow the public to copy records with a sheet-feed scanner. Summary: Under Texas law, the public has a right to access and copy records maintained by county clerks. Texas courts have held that this right is subject to a county clerk's reasonable rules and regulations. A county clerk's rules regarding the public's access to and copying of records would be valid if the rules did not go beyond the statutes providing for access to and copying of records.

GA-0916: Ms. Jeanna Willhelm, Winkler County Auditor, Whether a county treasurer, county auditor, or a county human resources officer is responsible for the performance of various duties involving disbursement and endorsement. Summary: By enactment of Local Government Code sections 113.041 and 113.042, the Legislature has designated the county treasurer as the official to perform the disbursement of county funds and to endorse payments to county payees, and the commissioners court may not reassign those duties elsewhere. Pursuant to Local Government Code subsection 113.008(d), the county treasurer must reconcile all balances and transactions for each treasury account. No exception is made for those accounts where the county treasurer has signed the signature card. Nothing in Senate Bill 373 or Code of Criminal Procedure article 103.004 requires that the county treasurer issue a receipt for funds deposited by other county officers on the same day they are taken to the bank.

GA-0917: Mr. Steven C. McCraw, Director, Texas Department of Public Safety, Authority of the Department of Public Safety to contract with a county tax assessor-collector to perform its duties relating to the issuance of driver's licenses and personal identification certificates. Summary: The Department of Public Safety lacks statutory authority to contract with a county tax assessor-collector to perform its duties relating to the issuance of driver's licenses and personal identification certificates. Similarly, counties lack statutory authorization to participate in such a program.

GA-0918: The Honorable Joe C. Pickett, Chair, House Committee on Defense and Veterans' Affairs, Proration of homestead property tax exemption under section 11.131 of the Tax Code for a fully disabled veteran who died during 2011; and application of that exemption to the surviving spouse of a veteran who dies during 2011. Summary: Effective January 1, 2012, subsection 11.131(c) of the Tax Code provides a residence homestead tax exemption to the surviving spouse of a fully disabled veteran who at the time of death qualified for an exemption under subsection 11.131(b) of the Tax Code. The fact that the disabled veteran died in 2011, prior to the effective date of subsection 11.131(c), does not deprive the surviving spouse of the exemption for the 2012 tax year. The homestead tax exemption in subsection 11.131(b) of the Tax Code for a fully disabled veteran who died in 2011 continues for the remainder of the 2011 tax year.

GA-0920: The Honorable Mark A. Marshall, McCulloch County Attorney, Approval of expenditures from asset forfeiture fund of a district attorney. Summary: Expenditures may be made from the 198th Judicial District district attorney's asset forfeiture fund after those expenditures are approved by a regional review committee under section 24.377 of the Texas Government Code. County commissioners courts and a regional review committee are among the entities that may approve expenditures from a district attorney's asset forfeiture fund. Cash could constitute seized and forfeited property under section 24.377 of the Texas Government Code.