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Jim Guidry Commentaries
State of Texas
Texas Attorney General's Office
Tuesday, April 18, 2017
The Texas Attorney General's Office on Monday issued several legal opinions regarding state law, including whether Texas election judges are required to take the oath of office prescribed by Texas Constitution Article XVI, Section 1.
According to the Attorney General's Office, a court "is likely to conclude that election judges, alternate election judges, and early-voting clerks are public officers and must take the constitutional oath of office under article XVI, section 1 of the Texas Constitution in addition to the statutory election officer's oath."
"The fact that an election judge, alternate election judge, or early-voting clerk may not have taken the constitutional oath is unlikely to affect the validity of a prior election," stated the opinion.
The opinion was requested by El Paso County Attorney Jo Anne Bernal.
The Attorney General's Office issued an opinion regarding the type of bond required for a county attorney who performs the functions of both a county and district attorney.
According to the Attorney General's Office, "the Legislature delegated no portion of the Lee County Attorney's statutory and constitutional duties to a district attorney and instead kept such duties with the Lee County Attorney."
"Because the county attorney bond covers all such duties, a court would likely conclude that a separate district attorney bond is unnecessary," stated the opinion. "Thus, the Lee County Attorney must execute only a county attorney bond. A court would likely conclude that while the official bond required of the county attorney does not follow to his or her assistant prosecutors, the county attorney may require his or her assistant prosecutors to post a bond at his or her discretion."
The opinion was requested by Lee County Attorney Martin Placke.
The Attorney General's Office also issued an opinion regarding the effect of a conviction in another state, and a subsequent restoration of rights by another state, on an individual's ability to run for or hold public office in Texas.
According to the Attorney General's Office, "under the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the United States Constitution, the State of Texas must recognize an Arkansas court's valid order dismissing a felony charge and releasing an individual from the penalties and disabilities of that charge in Arkansas."
"An individual for whom the penalties and disabilities have been removed by an Arkansas court is not prohibited by Election Code subsection 141.001(a)(4) from holding public office in Texas," stated the opinion.
The opinion was requested by Bowie County Criminal District Attorney Jerry Rochelle.
The Attorney General's Office issued an opinion regarding the authority to appoint associate judges to preside over proceedings for court-ordered mental health services pursuant to the Health and Safety Code.
According to the Attorney General's Office, "a court would likely conclude that the statutory or constitutional county court judge with jurisdiction over mental illness matters has authority to appoint the associate judge under subsection 574.0085(a) of the Health and Safety Code."
The opinion was requested by Bexar County Criminal District Attorney Nicholas "Nico" LaHood.
The Attorney General's Office also issued an opinion regarding whether certain funds received by the Texas Health Service Authority are public funds under the Public Funds Investment Act.
According to the Attorney General's Office, "a court would likely conclude that funds received by the Texas Health Services Authority as a result of the dissolution of the Texas Health Insurance Risk Pool are public funds under the Public Funds Investment Act."
The opinion was requested by Texas Health Service Board Chair David Fleeger.
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