Recent Texas Attorney General Opinions of Interest to Cities

Note:  Included opinions are from February 11, 2020 through March 10, 2020.

KP-0293 (Pawnshops): The Pawnshop Act generally vests the legislature with exclusive authority regarding the operation of pawnshops. The legislature included a pawnbroker’s purchase of personal property, without condition of future redemption by the seller, within the scope of pawnshop operations preempted by the Act.

As part of its exclusive governance, the Pawnshop Act creates procedures for pawnshops to record the sale of personal property and cooperate with law enforcement to prevent transactions in stolen property. A city therefore has no authority to create its own procedures for that purpose.

A city does have authority to reduce the amount of time pawnbrokers must retain purchased goods to a period of less than 20 days.

KP-0290 (Historic Structures): A nonprofit lessee applicant may generally qualify for and obtain a state tax credit for certified rehabilitation of certified historic structures pursuant to Chapter 171, Subchapter S, of the Tax Code, but the qualifying costs and expenses must be borne directly by the applicant. An applicant’s status as a nonprofit tax-exempt entity and a lessee does not generally disqualify the applicant from eligibility for the tax credit pursuant to Sections 171.901(4) and 171.903, provided the applicant meets certain requirements, including the length of time remaining on the lease when the rehabilitation is completed.