Recent Texas Attorney General Opinions of Interest to Cities

Note:  Included opinions are from July 11, 2013 through August 13, 2013.

Opinion No. GA-1017 (Juvenile Court Records):  Family Code Subsection 58.0071(b) authorizes the custodian of physical records and files in a juvenile case to destroy hardcopy, original paper records and files at any time if the custodian electronically duplicates and stores the information in the records and files. Family Code Subsection 58.0071(c) authorizes a juvenile board, law enforcement agency, or prosecuting attorney to permanently destroy paper-based and electronic records and files of closed juvenile cases subject to the restrictions of Subsections 58.0071(d) and (e).

Opinion No. GA-1016 (Nepotism):  Government Code Subsection 573.062(a)(2)(B) requires that an individual be continuously employed for six months prior to the election of a school district trustee to whom the individual is related in a prohibited degree in order for the nepotism continuous employment exception to apply. Under the terms of the statute, the continuous-employment period begins the first day the employee is employed by the school district. The continuous-employment period ends the date the public official to whom the employee is related in a prohibited degree assumes office.

Opinion No. GA-1015 (Property Tax Exemption):  The Comptroller’s interpretation of Tax Code Section 11.161, that a cattle feedlot is engaged in the “production of farm or ranch products,” is reasonable and does not contravene any statute.  Accordingly, a court would likely uphold the Comptroller’s interpretation of Section 11.161. 

Opinion No. GA-1014 (County Roads):  In counties operating under the County Road Department System, the county commissioners court has discretion, subject to judicial review, under Section 81.032 of the Local Government Code to determine whether and under what conditions to accept monetary donations from private entities.  While a county commissioners court may not delegate its decision-making power over improving public roads, it has the authority to accept donations subject to conditions so long as the conditions are reasonable and not inconsistent with other law.  In deciding whether to accept any specific donation, the commissioners court should carefully evaluate all factors relevant to the improvement of any particular road.

Opinion No. GA-1013 (County Roads):  Transportation Code Sections 251.003 and 251.016 authorize a commissioners court to require permits for the construction within the county right-of-way of access points to county roads.  Section 251.017 authorizes a commissioners court to set a reasonable fee for such permits.