Recent Texas Attorney General Opinions of Interest to Cities

Note:  Included opinions are from January 11, 2023 through February 10, 2023.

KP-425 (Eight Liners): Penal Code section 47.06 criminalizes possession of a gambling device. Subsection 47.01(4)’s definition of gambling device includes specified contrivances that afford a player an opportunity to obtain anything of value, the award of which is determined solely or partially by chance. It is unlikely a court would conclude that subsection 47.01(4) excludes an amusement machine where the amount awarded from play is partially determined by chance.

Because it involves the resolution of fact questions, we do not opine on whether a particular amusement machine constitutes a gambling device.

KP-428 (Conflicts): Chapter 176 of the Local Government Code requires disclosure when a local government entity contracts or considers contracting with a vendor with whom a local government officer of the entity has a specified employment, business, or family relationship. Chapter 176 likely applies when a law firm contracts with a city and the law firm employs the son-in-law of the city manager. The chapter does not prohibit a contract in such circumstances, but it requires the officer to file a conflict-of-interest statement and the vendor to file a conflict-of-interest questionnaire.

Whether a lawyer or law firm’s employment in particular circumstances would constitute a conflict-of-interest under the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct involves fact-intensive questions that cannot be resolved in an Attorney General opinion.