Recent Texas Attorney General Opinions of Interest to Cities

Note:  Included opinions are from August 11, 2020 through September 14, 2020.

KP-0333 (Building Permits): Subsection 3000.002(a)(1) of the Government Code prohibits a governmental entity from adopting or enforcing a rule that prohibits or limits, directly or indirectly, the use or installation of a building product or material in the construction of a residential or commercial building if the building product or material is approved for use by a national model code published within the last three code cycles.

An ordinance that conditions receipt of a building permit on architectural control committee approval could conflict with Subsection 3000.002(a)(1) to the extent that the architectural control committee prohibits or limits the use of certain building products or materials approved for use by a national model code.

Chapter 212, Subchapter F of the Local Government Code does not apply to the City of Horseshoe Bay, and the city may not file suit to enforce restrictive covenants under the specific grant of authority in that subchapter. However, as a home-rule municipality, the city may possess authority to enforce restrictive covenants through other means, as long as the law does not prohibit enforcement of the types of covenants at issue.

KP-0332 (Firearms): Penal Code Section 46.03 prohibits a person from carrying a firearm on certain premises, including the premises of any government court without written regulations or authorization from the court. Penal Code Subsection 46.15(a)(1) exempts peace officers from Section 46.03. Under Code of Criminal Procedure Subarticle 2.12(5), an investigator of a district attorney, criminal district attorney, or county attorney is not required to be licensed under Occupations Code Chapter 1701 to be a peace officer. Accordingly, a court would likely conclude that a prosecuting attorney’s investigator is not prohibited by Penal Code Section 46.03 from carrying a firearm into a government court.

KP-0331 (Motorcycles): Chapters 501 and 502 of the Transportation Code govern the titling and registration of motor vehicles, including motorcycles. Depending on its design and characteristics, a vehicle may be a motorcycle under Transportation Code Subsection 521.001(a)(6-1), Section 541.201, or Section 501.008, each with its own specified seating requirements.

A vehicle that is a motorcycle under Sections 521.001 and 501.008 of the Transportation Code may have a seat other than a saddle as specified in those statutes. To qualify as a motorcycle under Section 541.201, a vehicle must be equipped with a rider’s saddle, which is a seat designed similarly to a horse saddle to be straddled by the rider. Whether a particular vehicle qualifies as a motorcycle under Sections 501.008, 521.001, or 541.201, or some other vehicle regulated in the Transportation Code, would depend on the particular facts, which cannot be resolved in the opinion process.

KP-0329 (Appraisal Districts): Section 6.054 of the Tax Code prohibits an individual who is an officer of a taxing unit that participates in an appraisal district from being employed by the appraisal district. The position of school board trustee is an office within the scope of Section 6.054. Thus, an employee of an appraisal district may not serve as a trustee of an independent school district that is a participating taxing entity in the appraisal district.