TPA Hotline

Laws require notice of election in creation of district

Q: More than 100 qualified voters in our county signed a petition to create another emergency services district that includes their land.
Our county commissioners court approved the creation of the new district at a regular meeting and then a public hearing was conducted to get input from taxpayers. 
In short, enough support was shown and county officials acted as required according to the process outlined in Health and Safety Code Chapter 775 (EMERGENCY SERVICES DISTRICTS) — until now.

Newspaper publisher ponders run for local elected office

Q: What potential issues lay ahead for me if I run for a local public office? If elected, I would prefer to continue in my roles as a weekly newspaper publisher, editor, photographer, ad salesperson, circulation manager, web poster and floor sweeper; also civic club member, band booster, church member, etc.

Notices of impounded estray are important to ranchers missing cattle

Q: Our county sheriff caught and penned a few head of cattle that broke fence and then merely posted what he considered a “notice of estray” on his social media page. I told him those notices are supposed to be published in a newspaper of general circulation in the county, etc. He said he doesn’t have to. I am familiar with the publication law so what I am looking for is a Texas Attorney General opinion that backs up what I am telling the sheriff. Can you help?

Publishers can set conditions for publishing submitted articles

Q: A prominent member of the community submitted something labeled as a “news report” on a controversial local topic. He asked us to publish it in the news section of our next edition under his byline. It’s not straight reportage — obviously an opinion piece — it’s way too long and we’ve learned it is the work of a ghostwriter who lives in town. My tendency would be not to run it for the aforementioned reasons. Any thoughts?

Guidelines for barcode placement available online

Q: If I file a public information request for a copy of a contract from a local governmental body, and they deny my request and then seek a Texas Attorney General opinion as to the validity of their denial, would the local governmental body have to provide a copy of the contract to the Attorney General as part of the process?
 A: Let’s check the Texas Attorney General’s 2018 Public Information Handbook, Section VI, titled, “Attorney General Determines Whether Information Is Subject to an Exception.”