Attorney General Opinion Summaries

The following are opinion summaries that pertain to libraries.  Among the topics addressed are public, school and law libraries, public records, the handicapped, employment of librarians, and the Texas State Library.  These summaries are quoted verbatim from the Attorney General's opinion document.

Attorney General Opinions:

Open Record Letter Opinions (OR):


Attorney General Opinion Summaries

O - 520 (1939)
The provisions of Article 1683 relating to certificates of qualification, apply only to those who have received county librarians' certificates prior to the passage of the amendment of such article.
O - 690 (1939)
The Commissioners Court is without authority to make appropriations of public money to any library controlled and operated by private individuals however worthy the cause may be.
O - 696 (1939)
The Commissioners Court is not authorized to pay for library books purchased under the provisions of Articles 1677-1696, inclusive, out of the public building and improvement funds.
O - 1316 (1939)
The Commissioners Court of Galveston County may contract with the Rosenberg library for library privileges in the manner prescribed by Article 1694 provided there are no restrictions in the will of Mr. Henry Rosenberg prohibiting the same.
O - 1636 (1939)
When an incorporated city does not have and never had a public free library, the inhabitants of such city who are residents of the county have the privileges of using the county library under Articles 1678 and 1688, and the property within the corporate limits of such city is included in computing the amounts to be set aside out of the county general tax fund for the maintenance of the county free library system.

It is not necessary, under Articles 1677-1696, for an incorporated city which does not have and has never had a public free library to contract with the county for participation in the county free library system or to make cash contributions for such participation before the inhabitants can enjoy the benefits of the system.
O - 2538 (1940)
As the tax levy for county purposes cannot exceed twenty-five cents on the one hundred dollar valuation, if Llano County should levy five cents for a county library, said amount would come from the twenty-five cent levy allowed for the general fund of the county, which would leave twenty cents on the one hundred dollar valuation for the general fund.
O - 2744 (1940)
The Commissioners Court has no authority to appoint a county librarian who does not have a certificate from the State Board of Examiners; but should such an ineligible person be appointed, he would not legally be entitled to the salary attached to said office. Furthermore, where there is no qualified county librarian in charge of the county free library, the Commissioners Court has no authority to appoint an assistant librarian to serve in the capacity of county librarian.
O - 3055 (1941)
The Commissioners Court has authority to expend funds in establishing, maintaining, and operating a "book-mobile library" as a branch or subdivision of an established county free library located at the county seat.
O - 3409 (1941)
As members of the Texas State Library are not employed, either directly or indirectly, in any public school, college, or university, such members do not come within the provisions of the Teacher Retirement Act, and said act cannot be amended to extend to such persons.
O - 3890 (1941)
The costs incurred in the purchase or establishment of a "bookmobile library," as discussed in Opinion No. O-3055, and the expenses incurred in maintaining and operating the same cannot be paid out of the permanent improvement fund, but must be paid out of the general fund of the county.
O - 3956 (1941)
Under the provisions of H.B. 1080, Acts 1941, 47th Leg., the Commissioners Court is given broad powers in establishing and maintaining a law library and if in their discretion it is necessary, they are authorized to hire a librarian to be compensated out of the "County Law Library Fund."
Provisions for the establishment and maintenance of county law libraries are now found in Sections 323.021-.025, Local Government Code.
0 - 3957 (1941)
Under the terms of H.B. 1080, Acts 1941, 47th Leg., probate matters are to be considered among the cases on which the sum of one dollar shall be taxed as cost for the establishment and maintenance of a County Law Library. (Assuming, of course, that the Commissioners Court has first entered its order for that purpose.)
See note for O-3956 (1941).
O - 4439 (1942)
Article 1702d is unconstitutional. Therefore, the question must be answered in the negative, and Nueces County may not legally collect the fee of $1.00 in each civil and criminal case and deposit it to the County Law Library Fund to be used in the manner provided for in Article 1702d.
O - 5347 (1943)
Finding no authority and law for the expenditure in question, it is the opinion of this department that the Commissioners Court is not authorized to expend county funds for the purchase of the Annual Pocket Parts to Vernon's Annotated Civil Statutes as a necessary expense in the proper and legal conduct of the office of district clerk.
See note for O-3956.
O - 5511 (1943)
The district and county clerks of Navarro County can not legitimately tax as costs in criminal and civil cases a One Dollar ($1.00) library fee as provided for in Article 1702b-2, supra.
See note for O-3956.
O - 5688 (1943)
Any one of the Courts of Civil Appeals can expend for books for its library during each of the next two biennial years the sum of $500.00, together with any portion of the $500.00 appropriated for "equipment, maintenance and contingent items" not used for said purposes.
O - 5842 (1944)
A special tax cannot be voted by the people of a county for the original or additional county library support. A constitutional amendment would be required to authorize the assessment of a tax for library purposes where the said tax would be additional to the twenty-five cents per hundred dollars valuation.
O - 6094 (1944)
The Commissioners Court may contract for library privileges from some already established library upon its own initiative and without a petition of the majority of the voters of the county.
O - 6243 (1944)
This opinion concerns the authority of the Commissioners Court to enter into contracts with three libraries in Gregg County operated by three incorporated cities providing for the payment of an agreed sum from county funds for the partial support of said libraries.
O - 6441 (1945)
The Commissioners Court may construct a branch library building and pay for same out of the Permanent Improvement Fund. The amount that can be used in such construction is within the discretion of the Commissioners Court but is subject to the provisions of the county budget.
O - 7118 (1946)
A county cannot issue bonds for the purpose of erecting a building to house a free county library.
Superseded by statutory changes now found in Subchapter C, Sections 323.051 and 323.052, Local Government Code.
If the Legislature had authorized the issuance of bonds for the erection of the building to house a county library, same would have to be paid out of the constitutional fund commonly known as the Permanent Improvement Fund. There is no other county fund out of which this type improvement could legally be financed.
O - 7319 (1946)
The County Commissioners Court has the authority to issue Time Warrants for certain permanent improvements, including county park improvements and county airport, but not a library and museum building or a youth center.
O - 7539 (1946)
The Commissioners Court of Bexar County may establish a county law library under the provisions of Articles 1697-1702; Article 1702a-1, which applies to counties having five or more District Courts, is not an exclusive method to establish a county law library for Bexar county, but may only be used upon a proper order of the Commissioners Court.
The establishment and maintenance of the county law library must be paid out of monies appropriated by the Commissioners Court from the general fund as provided by Article 1698.
Superseded by statutory changes now found in Section 323.023, Local Government Code.
V - 397 (1947)
It is the statutory duty of the Commissioners Court to operate the county library, and this duty may not lawfully be delegated to any citizens committee or board. The operation of such library is regulated by statute, and local rules of such board are without authority of law.
V - 435 (1947)
The State Treasury Department is authorized to have photographic reproductions of its records prepared, defraying the cost of this work from the contingent expense appropriation of the State Treasury Department.
The State Treasury Department is not authorized to destroy its original records following their photographic reproductions, but it is authorized to transfer the records which have been replaced by photographic reproductions to the State Librarian. The State Librarian is authorized to destroy or further transfer such records.
V - 953 (1949)
A county cannot donate public money to an incorporated public free library. The county is authorized to contract for library privileges from an already established library and pay for the same out of the General Fund of the county.
V - 1071 (1950)
Regarding types of proceedings subject to the County Law Library fee assessed in civil cases: guardianships and other cases in probate court, insanity, and restoration proceedings are civil cases within the meaning of Article 1702e. . .
A habeas corpus proceeding may be either a criminal case or a civil case depending on the facts of each instance. If in the proceeding it appears that the restraint is not because of some supposed violation of criminal law, then the proceeding must be classed as a civil case.
W - 181 (1957)
Under certain assumptions, the Commissioners Court has the authority to purchase a law library from the legal representative of a deceased District Judge.
WW - 950 (1960)
The Legislature in Article 678m-2, expressed its intention that the Building referred to above should be known as the "State Archives and Library Building" but did not require that such title should be put in permanent form on that Building.
WW - 1423 (1962)
The properties owned by the El Paso County Medical Society furnished by it voluntarily to the public as a public library, but to which the public has access only at the sufferance of the Society as its invitees, are not exempt from ad valorem taxes as a public library under Article 7150, subd. 8, as "public property used for public purposes" within contemplation of Article VIII, Sec. 2 of the Texas Constitution.
WW - 1456 (1962)
Section 3, Article 5441a, does not authorize the destruction of newspapers in print, purchased pursuant to Section 3, Article 5441, even though a microfilm copy of the newspaper is to be preserved and even if the consent of the State Auditor to the destruction of the newspapers is obtained, unless such newspapers are adjudged to be valueless.
Article 5441b authorizes the destruction of the newspapers which are over 10 years old, if the procedures of the statute are complied with.
WW - 1494 (1962)
Article 1678, applies to the whole of Hood County, there being no free public library in any incorporated area in the said county.
A petition for the establishment of a county free library may be signed by any qualified voter, and a sufficient petition makes it incumbent upon the commissioners court to establish such a library as soon after its presentation as may be practicable.
Article 1679, authorizes the Commissioners Court to set aside tax funds to maintain a county free library, and the statute vests discretion in the said court as to the amount set aside.
C - 673 (1966)
Subject to the approval of a new or revised State Plan allowing direct monetary grants to local public library units, the Texas State Library and Historical Commission may make direct monetary grants to local public library units under Title I of the Library Services and Construction Act of 1964, Public Law 88-269, as amended.
M - 828 (1971)
Pursuant to Article 6144g, the Texas Fine Arts Commission may publish a newsletter in which is printed the entire text of a pending Senate bill relating to the fine arts, and solicit the comments of the newsletter's readers on such bill.
However, the Commission may not comment that the bill is supported by certain interest groups, the Commission's Chairman may not give his personal opinion regarding the merits, if any, of the bill, and a list of members of the House and the Senate may not be printed in the newsletter.
M - 1114 (1972)
It is our opinion that Article 1137r, Vernon's Penal Code (prohibiting the reproduction for sale of sound recordings without the original owner's consent), is valid and is not in conflict with Article I, Sec. 8, Cl. 8, United States Constitution, or the Copyright Clause, and the implementing federal statutes, 17 USC §§1-215, the Copyright Act.
M - 1173 (1972)
The State matching contributions for O.A.S.I. and employee's retirement contributions for employees of the State Law Library required to be matched by the provisions of Section 3 of Article V of the current General Appropriation Act may be transferred into the State Law Library fund, because such deductions and matching contributions constitute a cost of maintaining, operating and keeping up to date the State Law Library.
This opinion has been overruled by Opinion H-947 where they conflict.
M - 1199 (1972)
Forty-five riders contained in the 1971 General Appropriation Act are considered and passed upon as to validity. See this Opinion for specific riders.
H - 91 (1973)
Under the authority of Article 1696a, county commissioners may hold a bond election for the purpose not only of building buildings but also for acquiring books for library purposes.
H - 140 (1973)
The Library and Historical Commission may, under the Library Systems Act, enter into contracts with the governing bodies of major resource centers, if necessary to establish and develop a network of library systems to serve collectively the entire population of the state. If the operation and maintenance of a communications "service" by the Commission meets such criteria, the contracting libraries may pay for the service with funds appropriated for grants-in-aid.
H - 353 (1974)
The Department of Public Welfare may contract with the Texas Library and Historical Commission for the storage and preservation of the file.
H - 467 (1974)
A city's library board which acts solely in an advisory capacity and has no rule-making or quasi-judicial power is not required to comply with the mandates of the Open Meetings Act regarding public notice and open meetings.
H - 550 (1975)
The Texas State Library need not obtain the consent of the Systems Division of the State Auditor's Office in order to purchase a computer, but it must comply with subsection (a) of Article V, Section 37 of the General Appropriations Act before making the expenditure. The Library has fully complied with the provisions of Article V, Section 37 as soon as the Governor has made the requisite determination pursuant to subsection (a), since subsection (b) therein is invalid. The rider to the Library and Historical Commission appropriation does not apply to funds received by the Texas State Library which are solely federal in origin.
ORD - 100 (1975)
Information which would reveal the identity of a library patron in connection with the object of his or her attention is exempted from disclosure by Section 3(a)(1) as information deemed confidential by constitutional law.
However, we do not believe that this constitutional protection extends beyond the identification of an individual patron with the object of his or her attention. Thus, we do not believe the fact that a person has used the library, owes or has paid a fine is confidential information.
This opinion has been overruled by statutory changes; see Section 552.124, Government Code.
H - 689 (1975)
System operation grants and incentive grants can be awarded to community libraries where the proper, prerequisite circumstances exist.
H - 690 (1975)
The Library and Historical Commission may reject the initial and any subsequent annual plan submitted by a major resource center.
When there has been a rejection of a submitted plan, the Commission may revoke the library's status as a major resource center or withhold funds from the library until the plan is acceptably redrawn.
Libraries lying within a system where the plan by the major resource center is rejected, may receive direct grants from the Commission or may be transferred to other systems or a new major resource center may be designated.
H - 725 (1975)
The county law library fee provided by Article 1702i may be taxed as costs, within the meaning of Article 1702i, in all probate proceedings except an action brought for the purpose of confining a person of unsound mind or a habitual drunkard.
H - 907 (1976)
Article 6574b, V.T.C.S., has no application to records in the custody of the county clerk or clerk of a county court, and does not bar transfer of those records to regional historical resource depositories as authorized by Article 5442b, V.T.C.S. Regional historical resource depositories have no legal obligation to return court records to the clerk of the original court or other courts for the use of private attorneys, absent a court order requiring the return of such records, so long as microfilm records of the documents sought are available from the clerk of the originating court.
H - 917 (1976)
Non-current personnel files transferred to the State Archives for permanent preservation retain the same status as they had before transfer under the Texas Open Records Act, Article 6252-17a and are public except insofar as disclosure would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy. The right of privacy is personal to the individual and lapses upon his death, rendering his personnel file public except insofar as its disclosure would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of the personal privacy of living individuals.
H - 947 (1977)
Article 5, section 3 of the 1973 Appropriations Act did not authorize the transfer of General Revenue Funds to the Department of Public Welfare's Commodity Distribution Fund. Such a transfer may be made pursuant to the requirements of the Retirement System where the transferred funds are used to pay the State's contributions to OASI, retirement and insurance for employees paid from appropriations from the General Fund.
H - 1041 (1977)
State agencies may not refuse to employ a qualified handicapped person on the basis of his handicap. A handicapped employee who utilizes a private automobile and driver on state business is limited to sixteen cents per mile reimbursement. State agencies do not presently have authority to develop a special system of reimbursement for travel by handicapped employees; under current law the system is provided by the Comptroller under Article 6823a and the General Appropriations Acts.
Superseded in part by other laws, including Sections 21.001-.124, Labor Code.
H - 1062 (1977)
The County Law Library Fund established by Article 1702h may not be used for the construction or general renovation of a county law library building.
H - 1246 (1978)
A county may maintain branches of its law library in various locations within the county for the convenience of litigants, and may loan law library materials to other libraries servicing such litigants, so long as a complete law library is operated in a place at the county seat convenient and accessible to the judges of the county as well as to litigants.
H - 1305 (1978)
Professional librarians at the University of Texas, as state employees are entitled only to the vacation leave and holidays provided by the Appropriations Act.
MW - 9 (1979)
Under Article 1792h, the County Law Library Fund may be expended only for library purposes and for the needs of judges and litigants. The fund may not be used to buy books [already] owned by the county [which had been purchased with general funds].
See note O-3956 (1941).
MW - 163 (1980)
The Secretary of State should as a general matter charge the fees set by statute for furnishing copies of documents in this office rather than using the fee schedule prepared by the Board of Control pursuant to the Open Records Act. Article 3913, V.T.C.S., establishes the fees for certified copies of documents. [Refer to Opinion for other comments.]
MW - 211 (1980)
Article 5441d, V.T.C.S., requires the Records Preservation Officer described therein to store at least one copy or "preservation duplicate" of any record determined to be "essential" by the originating agency.
ORD - 259 (1980)
It is therefore our decision that the city of Port Neches need not disclose a pledge agreement relating to a gift from a private donor until the entire amount of the gift is paid, or not later than February 1, 1981. When full payment has been tendered, the city should disclose the requested information.
MW - 323 (1981)
Article V, Section 4 of the current General Appropriations Act does not prohibit an agency from publishing, in its monthly newsletter, stories which contain neutral, factual reports of the formal votes of members of the legislature and/or verbal comments which may be made by legislators in open forum. As a general rule, Article V, Section 5 does not prohibit an agency from publishing the name(s) of agency officials or employees in its newsletter for attribution or to facilitate the reader's understanding of a story. That section does embrace the use of legislators' names in print. Article V, Section 66(c) applies to units of government which publish periodicals on a monthly basis.
MW - 399 (1981)
Dallas County Law Library funds may be used to implement a computer information system.
JM - 33 (1983)
The legislature may not, consistent with Article I, Sections 3a and 4, of the Texas Constitution, require consideration to be given to matters of sex, race, color, creed, or national origin in making appointments to the State Library and Archives Commission, but is not prohibited from requiring that consideration be given to geographical distribution.
JM - 183 (1984)
An advisory council to a major resource system of libraries is not a "governmental body" for purposes of the Open Meetings Act, and is therefore not subject to its provisions.
JM - 229 (1984)
Exceptions 3(a)(1) and 3(a)(2) of the Texas Open Records Act, Article 6252-17a, V.T.C.S., apply to some of the information found in the medical records of the personnel files of the Texas National Guard for the years 1903-1913. Absent express or necessarily implied authority to open confidential information to the public, a custodian of public records may not adopt a policy in contravention of a third party's right of privacy. Nevertheless, the custodian may, after a significant number of years, reasonably presume that the privacy interest protected by Sections 3(a)(1) and 3(a)(2) has lapsed because of the death of the protected person. The confidentiality accorded to information in medical records by Section 5.08 of Article 4495b in connection with the statutory law aspect of Section 3(a)(1) does not lapse upon the death of the protected person. Unless required by other law to retain them, a custodian of public records has discretion over whether to preserve non-current records of the sort in question.
The Open Records Act has been superseded by the Public Information Act, Chapter 552, Government Code.
JM - 252 (1984)
Article 5436a, V.T.C.S., does not authorize the State Library and Archives Commission to make cash grants to county and municipal libraries exclusively from general revenue funds.
JM - 256 (1984)
Article 5435, V.T.C.S., does not authorize the Texas State Library and Archives Commission to transfer federal funds to state eleemosynary institutions for library services.
JM - 725 (1987)
A county officer, department or institution may purchase its own supplies subject to the limitations imposed by Section 3 of Article 2368a.5, V.T.C.S., and subject to commissioners court approval. Before a county may purchase one or more items under a contract that will require an expenditure exceeding $5,000, the commissioners court must comply with the competitive bidding requirements of this act. The $5,000 limitation applies to purchases by the county from the same supplier. Section 3 prohibits the intentional circumvention of the $5,000 limitation by separate, sequential and/or component purchases by the same county officers, departments, or institutions.
JM - 921 (1988)
Regional library systems established pursuant to the Library Systems Act may have as members only public libraries as defined in Section 441.122(9), (12) of the Government Code. Regional library systems may contract with non-public libraries for the purchase or sale of specialized resources and services. Gov't Code, §441.128(d).
Superseded by changes now found in Sections 441.1271 and 441.131, Government Code.
ORD - 489 (1988)
Section 3(a)(1) of the Texas Open Records Act, Article 6252-17a, V.T.C.S., does not protect from required disclosure the Texas Department of Highways and Public Transportation's Texas Highways magazine subscriber mailing list, either for recipients or for non-recipients. No statute expressly authorizes the department to charge more for its subscriber list than the "actual costs" authorized in Section 9 of the Open Records Act.
See note JM-229 (1984).
JM - 1013 (1989)
Records created or received by the governor's office in carrying out its statutory duties fall within the definition of "public records" in Section 441.031(5) of the Texas Government Code and the definition of "public records" in Section 2(2) of the Texas Open Records Act, Article 6252-17a, V.T.C.S.
Such records also constitute "governmental records" within the meaning of Sections 37.01(1)(A) and 37.10(a)(3) of the Texas Penal Code. Section 37.10(a)(3) prohibits, among other things, the intentional, unauthorized removal of governmental records. Whether the removal of specific gubernatorial records from the custody of the state at the end of a gubernatorial administration violates Section 37.10 depends on proof of the elements of the criminal offense described in Section 37.10.
Similarly, violation of Section 12 of the Open Records Act, which prohibits the unauthorized removal of public records, depends on the facts in a given case.
Section 441.002(g)(8) of the Government Code authorizes the Texas State Library and Archives Commission to demand physical custody of public records that a state official has determined are not in current use. Section 441.002(i) provides that the attorney general shall resolve disputes regarding the proper custody of records subject to Section 441.002(g)(8).
JM - 1095 (1989)
It was within the power of the City of Seguin and the County of Guadalupe in 1975 to revise and ratify a pre-existing 1964 agreement between them regarding library services. Even if the original 1964 agreement between them was originally invalid as ultra vires, ratification in 1975 was effective because the Interlocal Cooperation Act authorizing such agreements had become law. After such ratification, the agreement was not subject to unilateral rescission and cancellation by the county.
LO 90-010 (1990)
The query questioned whether a district clerk may serve as a county law librarian.
The common law doctrine of incompatibility prevents one person from holding two positions if the duties are inconsistent, in conflict, or one is subordinate to the other. We are aware of no way in which the positions of district clerk and county law librarian would be incompatible.
ORD - 590 (1991)
Information identifying donors or pledgors, and amounts of donations and pledges, including outstanding pledges, to a public university is not within an exception to the Texas Open Records Act.
DM - 40 (1991)
As federal law does not authorize the EEOC to require that records be sealed, neither does it authorize the EEOC to require the deletion of information from personnel files in contravention of state law.
The Open Records Act, §5, and the Government Code, §441.035(e), which provide for the destruction of certain state records upon application to the director and the librarian of the State Archives and Library Commission, may provide a mechanism for deletion of certain records in compliance with state law while permitting the inclusion of record expungement as a remedy in voluntary EEOC settlements.
DM - 67 (1991)
Any funds the sheriff receives that are attributable to the operation of the commissary are to be used for the benefit of inmates in accordance with Sec. 351.0415. . .
DM - 69 (1991)
The City of El Paso may refuse to issue a building permit or certificate of occupancy to the El Paso Independent School District for failing to comply with municipal building code requirements on handicapped accessibility, notwithstanding the fact that the school district is in compliance with the accessibility standards and specifications adopted pursuant to State Purchasing and General Services Act, Article 7, Texas Civil Statutes, Article 601b, or has obtained a waiver from such compliance under that Act, §7.02(e).
ORD - 600 (1992)
The Open Records Act, §3(a)(17)(B), adopted by House Bill 729 of the 72nd Legislative Session and effective May 8, 1991, excepts from disclosure the home addresses, home telephone number, or social security numbers of employees of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. . . The result of a personality test given. . .to an employee is excepted from public disclosure. . . The score on an intelligence test given to an employee is excepted from public disclosure.... The W-4 forms. . .are excepted from disclosure. . . TexFlex forms. . . are excepted from public disclosure. . . Forms authorizing the direct deposit of the employee's paycheck. . .are excepted from disclosure. Please refer to the decision for additional topics covered.
DM - 88 (1992)
Texas Civil Statutes, Article 601f, a statute pertaining to the payment of goods and services contracted for by state agencies and political subdivisions, applies to construction contracts.
LO - 92-7 (1992)
The "records management and preservation" fee established by Senate Bill 770, Acts 1991, 72nd Legislature, Chapter 587, at 2104, may be collected by the county clerk at his discretion. Any fees collected should be deposited with the county treasurer in a separate account, which is subject to audit. The commissioners court is responsible for allocating county funds, but it may expend funds collected under the "records management and preservation" fee only "for specific records management and automation projects."
DM - 139 (1992)
A justice of the peace may maintain the criminal docket in the justice court electronically in addition to or in lieu of printed paper media. . .
ORD - 606 (1992)
The Open Records Act, Texas Civil Statutes, Article 6252-17a, requires a governmental body to release to a requestor a copy of the actual requested record, with any confidential or nondisclosable information excised. Unless the parties agree otherwise, the act does not permit a governmental body to provide a requestor with a newly generated document on which only the disclosable information has been consolidated and retyped.
LO - 92-77 (1993)
The "records management and preservation fee" imposed by the Local Government Code, §118.011(b) may be used only for those "records management and preservation" projects performed in the office of the county clerk. If the records management and preservation fee is imposed upon any documents filed in the county clerk's office, it must be imposed on all of them. The county clerk may not impose the fee on certain documents while exempting its collection on others. The county clerk may not impose differing amounts on different documents.
DM - 183 (1993)
. . . the commissioners court is authorized to regulate smoking within and on county property.
LO - 93-43 (1993)
Under the Local Government Code, Chapter 323, subchapter B, it is permissible for a county to use the county law library fund to purchase statutes and reporters to be located in the chambers of district and county courts and thereafter maintain them, provided that the materials are convenient and readily accessible to litigants. If the materials were purchased with general funds of the county, the county law library fund cannot be used to maintain them unless the commissioners court transfers the materials to the county law library collection. It is for the commissioners court to decide in its discretion whether to use the county law library fund for this purpose.
LO - 94-22 (1994)
A city council may enact a municipal ordinance making the failure to return overdue library books a class C misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to $200.
LO - 94-42 (1994)
The Local Government Code, §323.023(a), authorizes a clerk to collect a charge for the law library fund in civil cases filed in probate court if the commissioners court has set such a charge.
LO - 95-077 (1995)
The Texas State Library and Archives Commission is not authorized by the Government Code, §441.009, or any other federal or state statute or regulation, to deny a federally funded Major Urban Resource Library grant to a municipal library merely because the library has failed to provide library services to nonresidents in compliance with commission's grant guidelines.
DM - 394 (1996)
The City of College Station may, without violating Article III, Section 52 of the Texas Constitution, spend public funds on the George Bush Library to be established by Texas A&M University only if there is a city purpose for the expenditure, if the city receives adequate consideration for the expenditure, and if sufficient controls are attached to the transaction to ensure that the public purpose will be carried out. Hotel-motel occupancy taxes raised by the city under chapter 351 of the Tax Code may be spent only for the purposes expressly set out in Section 351.101 of the code. No showing has been made that the tax funds proposed for allocation to the George Bush Library will be used for any purpose stated in Section 351.101.
LO 98-104 (1998)
Section 323.024 of the Local Government Code authorizes the commissioners court to vest management of the county law library in a committee selected by the county bar association, but does not require the commissioners court to do so. The county law library fund established by section 323.023 of the Local Government Code, may be used only for library purposes. The fund may not be used to pay the salary, in whole or in part, of a deputy sheriff who escorts a prisoner from the jail to the county law library.
Section 552.124 of the Government Code requires withholding the names, addresses, and other information specifically identifying library patrons. Computer sign-up forms contain the names of library patrons. It is concluded that the library must withhold the submitted information pursuant to section 552.124 of the Government Code.
Discusses the release of information in an account or a voucher or contract regarding or relating to the 20 largest debtors to the Houston Public Library, their names, the amount they owe, and how many items remain outstanding. City must withhold portions of record which serve to identify a person who requested, obtained, or used a library material or service under Government Code 552.124. The city must release information in records pertaining to the amounts owed to the library and how many items remain outstanding with regard to the twenty largets debtors.
The Montgomery County Memorial Library System received a request for the names and mailing addresses of all library card holders over the age of eighteen. Section 552.124 of the Government Code requires withholding the names, addresses, and other information specifically identifying library patrons. The submitted list contains the names and addresses of library patrons. The library must withhold the information.
GA-0228 (2004)
Nothing in the E-Sign Act, 15 United States Code Chpater 96, or the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (the "UETA"), chapter 43 of the Texas Business and Commerce Code, requires a county clerk to accept real estate filings for recording, containing printed images of signatures or a printed image of a notary seal, of an electronic record of a real estate transaction.
GA-0277 (2004)
Deals with executive session of the San Jacinto County Commissioners Court, the county clerk's role in those meetings, and the proper custodian of the tape recordings of the executive sessions; discusses the authority of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission to determine the custodian of county records.
Relating to the provision in section 552.027 of the Government Code that alleviates the burden of providing copies of commercially available books, publications, and resource materials to any member of the public. This includes public library books that are available for public use. The library staff will not be required to do research or make coipes of books for members of the public. NOTE: As of August 2006 and in the last three years, The Attorney General has issued 41 Informal Letter Rulings on this particular section of the Government Code. Although individual circumstances are different in each question, the interpretations are all the same.
El Paso Independent School District received a request for copies of allegations, grievances, and complaints pertaining to two named district employees. Evaluations are considered public information, except under certain circumstances. Other information requested may be withheld. The district must withhold the social security numbers.
OR2005-10675 (2005)
Regarding whether certain information in the bids for library services by the Austin Public Library requires public disclosure under chapter 522 of the Government Code.
OR2005-11564 (2005)
Regarding the release of certain information in the bid process for a library collection by the Lockhart Independent School District is required by The Public Information Act.
GA-0397 (2006)
Regarding the exemption from tuition and other fees (including use of library facilities ) for students enrolled in the fire sciences courses.
OR2006-01711 (2006)
Whether the Texas State Library is required to make information available for public disclosure pertaining to the Texas Reading Initiative under former Governor George Bush.
OR2006-03106 (2006)
Whether certain information pertaining to an investigation of thefts at the city of Laredo's Public Library is subject to required public disclosure.
GA-0428 (2006)
Whether an individual employed as a part-time instructor at a community college may be compensated for simultaneous service as a member of the board of a municipal utility district.
OR2006-05130 (2006)
Whether information pertaining to the City of Irving and the University of Dallas' bid for the proposed George W. Bush Presidential Library are subject to required public disclosure.
OR2006-06831 (2006)
Whether certain information regarding arrest reports involving patrons of the Fort Worth Public Library are subject to required public disclosure.
OR2006-07665 (2006)
Whether certain information about an individual (including criminal trespass warnings from Dallas County libraries) is subject to public disclosure under the Public Information Act.
GA-0446 (2006)
Conflict of interest disclosure requirements for local government officers and persons who contract with local governmental entities.
OR2006-08757 (2006)
Whether certain information pertaining to financial expenses of a specified library exhibit at the Texas A&M University System is subject to required public disclosure under the Public Information Act.
OR2006-11422 (2006)
Whether contents of email communications from the Harris County attorney's office and the county's library are subject to required public disclosure under the Public Information Act.
OR2007-01800 (2007)
Whether information regarding names of members of the Montgomery County Memorial Library System's “reconsideration committee” is subject to public disclosure under the Public Information Act.
OR2007-02992 (2007)
Whether several categories of information pertaining to specified cases and the Texas Department of Corrections is subject to required public disclosure under the Public Information Act.
OR2007-06257 (2007)
All of the information that is in a governmental body's physical possession constitutes public information subject to the Public Information Act. This includes non-print media.
OR2007-13119 (2007)
Whether the North Texas Regional Library System's request for bids, submitted in response to a request for proposal for print materials is subject to required public disclosure under the Public Information Act.
OR2008-05391 (2008)
Whether information pertaining to a specified collection at the University's Center for American History (including lists of those who have researched the collection) is subject to required public disclosure under the Public Information Act.
GA-0626 (2008)
Authority of a multi-jurisdictional library district to assess and collect ad valorem taxes.
GA-0641 (2008)
Regarding the proper formula under section 21.402 of the Education Code determining the required contributions by a school district to the Teacher Retirement System for compensation that exceeds the statutory minimum.
Concerning the request to the Dallas Public Library for contract information between the library and vendors providing scanning services under the Public Information Act.
OR2009-04033 (2009)
Concerning the request to the University of Texas at Arlington for responses to a specific request for proposals; the release of such information would implicate the proprietary interests of the YPB Library Services.
OR2009-12765 (2009)
Concerning the request to the Dallas Public Library for information pertaining to letters sent to individuals who owe fines to the library.
OR2009-12873 (2009)
Whether certain information that is commercially available to everyone, is subject to required public disclosure under the Public Information Act; includes discussion of resources such as dictionaries, encyclopedias, and other typical library materials.
GA - 0725(2009)
Whether property held in a tax increment financing reinvestment zone in Huntsville, TX., and owned by a member of the city council, can be reserved and excluded from tax increment financing if the proceeds from some future sale of the property is designated to be used for the renovation or construction of the public library in memory of a relative of the council member.
GA - 0727(2009)
Whether the Texas State Library and Archives Commission may require a state agency to create and maintain written minutes of the agency's public meetings.
KP - 0091(2016)
Whether a county can provide financial assistance to a non-profit without violating Article 3, Section 52 of the Texas Constitution.

Open Record Letter Opinion Summaries

OR2010-03690 (2010) Whether security video footage from the Bryan Public Library can be excepted from disclosure under the Public Information Act.
OR2010-05646 (2010) Whether library records from the El Paso Public Library that serve to identify a person are excepted from required disclosure under the Public Information Act.
OR2010-07346 (2010) Whether the Navasota ISD can withhold information regarding the district's application for the US Dept. of Education's "Improving literacy through school libraries" grant.
OR2010-17429 (2010)

OR2013-07662 (2013)
Whether the Texas State Library and Archives is required to disclose “latest update on Travis Bible”, including information on commercial value and bidding

OR2013-10910 (2013)
Whether the Dallas Independent School District is required to disclose information concerning a library media specialist

OR2013-15805 (2013)
Whether the City of Houston is required to disclose security footage from the Carnegie Library

OR2013-19174 (2013)
Whether City of Duncanville is required to disclose a personnel file, information submitted pursuant to a discrimination complaint and documents pertaining to the promotion of a named individual to Library Director

Whether the Texas State Library can withhold information requested regarding legislation that a former member of the legislature considered.
OR2011-03468 (2011)
Whether records showing the date and time that computer reservations were made at the Austin Public Library are required public disclosure under the Public Information Act.
OR2011-11112 (2011)
Whether the City of Friendswood can disclose video footage from an incident at the Friendswood Public Library involving the requestor's child.
OR2011-12963 (2011)
Whether the Texas State Library and Archives Commission is required to disclose information from former Governor George W. Bush’s administration’s executive clemency files.
OR2011-16707 (2011)
Whether the City of Austin is required to disclose camera recordings from one of the city’s branch libraries.
OR2011-18840 (2011)
Whether the La Vernia Independent School District is required to disclose information pertaining to the financial activity of the La Vernia Junior High Library Fund.
OR2012-01069 (2012)
Whether the Tom Green County Attorney’s Office is required to disclose e-mails between the Audio Visual Librarian for the Tom Green County Library and a patron.
OR2012-03080 (2012)
Whether the La Joya Independent School District is required to disclose written correspondence between the district and the City of La Joya regarding the construction and proposed site of a new municipal library.
OR2012-04822 (2012)
Whether Tom Green County is required to disclose correspondence/information referenced in correspondence related to the building of a new library and pertaining to individuals who provided funding for the new library.
OR2012-08191 (2012)
Whether the Texas State Library and Archives Commission is required to disclose an inventory of manuscripts, imprints, and ephemera from a person’s estate.
OR2012-10520 (2012)
Whether the City of Corpus Christi is required to disclose the responses to the city’s RFP for library books and recordings.
OR2012-10779 (2012)
Whether the City of Austin is required to disclose the contract for purchase of, or RFP related to software that tracks internet usage and security cameras; a schematic of locations of security cameras at the Austin Public Library System; information pertaining to security personnel; and a security training manual or manual of operations.
OR2012-13437 and OR2012-10851 (2012)
Whether the University of Texas at Austin is required to disclose RFP responses submitted for selection of a vendor to provide Web-Scale Discover Services.
OR2012-19523 (2012)
Whether the City of Houston is required to disclosed RFP responses for Live Homework Assistance for the Houston Public Library Department.
OR2012-20597 (2012)
Whether the University of Houston is required to disclose reviews and grades concerning an RFP for library serial and periodical subscription services.
OR2012-20624 (2012)
Whether the City of Fort Worth is required to disclose records related to proposals for RFID implementation in Fort Worth libraries.
OR2013-07662 (2013)
Whether the Texas State Library and Archives is required to disclose “latest update on Travis Bible”, including information on commercial value and bidding.
OR2013-07890 (2013)
Whether the City of Roanoke is required to disclose the name and address of certain residents of the Town of Trophy Club who paid $10 for library access.
OR2013-10910 (2013)
Whether the Dallas Independent School District is required to disclose information concerning a library media specialist.
OR2013-13307 (2013)
Whether the City of Houston is required to disclose records, including library fines related to specified individuals.
OR2013-15805 (2013)
Whether the City of Houston is required to disclose security footage from the Carnegie Library.
OR2013-17978 (2013)
Whether Weatherford College is required to disclose a copy of a library audit and information related to how the college addressed issues brought up by the audit.
OR2013-19174 (2013)
Whether City of Duncanville is required to disclose a personnel file, information submitted pursuant to a discrimination complaint and documents pertaining to the promotion of a named individual to Library Director.
OR2013-21127 (2013)
Whether the City of Arlington is required to disclose information regarding City’s RFP for upgrading the Radio Frequency Identification System for the Arlington Public Library.


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Page last modified: July 26, 2016