Recent Texas Attorney General Opinions of Interest to Cities

Note:  Included opinions are from December 11, 2019 through January 10, 2020.

KP-0284 (Dangerous Dogs): The plain language of Section 822.002 of the Health and Safety Code does not require an affiant of a sworn complaint alleging that a dog caused death or serious injury to a person to have personal knowledge of that event, and a court is unlikely to imply such a requirement.

If a court finds that a dog caused death or serious bodily injury to a person, the fact that the dog’s attack was unprovoked is not an element a court must find before ordering a dog destroyed under Section 822.003.

The legislature’s imposition of a ten-day deadline by which a court must conduct a hearing under Section 822.003 is not an unlawful statutory restriction on the court’s inherent authority to control its docket. The plain language of Section 822.003 requires that the case be called and a hearing conducted within the ten-day statutory deadline, but it does not set a deadline by which the court must rule or otherwise limit the court’s authority to continue a hearing once called. No provision in Chapter 822 deprives a court of jurisdiction if the hearing required by Subsection 822.003(a) is held outside of the ten-day period, but a party could seek mandamus to compel a hearing if a court does not hold a hearing within that period.

KP-0281 (Hotel Occupancy Tax): A court would likely conclude that Subsection 351.101(a)(1) of the Tax Code does not limit the use of hotel occupancy tax revenue in the context of visitor information centers to only those owned or leased by a municipality. An expenditure of municipal hotel occupancy tax revenue pursuant to Subsection 351.101(a) to repair a visitor information center must directly benefit the building or portion of the building used to distribute or disseminate information to tourists in order to satisfy Subsection 351.101(b)’s requirement that the expenditure directly enhance and promote tourism and the convention and hotel Industry.