Texas Attorney General Opinion: JC-177 Page: 1 of 5
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OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL - STATE OF TEXAS
February 7, 2000
The Honorable Eddie Lucio, Jr. Opinion No. JC-0177
Chair, Committee on Border Affairs
Texas State Senate Re: Whether the term "national park" as used in article
P.O. Box 12068 2.122, Code of Criminal Procedure, refers to any and
Austin, Texas 78711-2068 all units of National Park System (RQ-0101-JC)
Dear Senator Lucio:
You ask this office the effect of certain legislation you authored which was passed during
the 76th Legislature. In particular, your concern is whether Senate Bill 965' grants to law
enforcement officers of the National Park Service powers of arrest, search, and seizure with respect
to state law offenses committed within the boundaries of any and all units of the National Park
System located in the State of Texas. We conclude that, while the language of Senate Bill 965 is
somewhat unclear and may be susceptible of the Park Service's interpretation that the bill "does not
apply to all units of the national parks system in Texas," Letter from David A. Watts, Deputy
Associate Solicitor, Division of Parks and Wildlife, Office of the Solicitor, United States Department
of the Interior, to Elizabeth Robinson, Chair, Opinion Committee, Office of the Attorney General
(Oct. 14, 1999) (on file with Opinion Committee) [hereinafter "Interior Letter"), the legislative
history of the statute indicates that the measure was intended to apply to all such units. Accordingly,
we read Senate Bill 965 as a grant of authority to law enforcement officers of the National Park
Service to make arrests and to have powers of search and seizure with respect to state law offenses
within the boundaries of any and all units of the National Park System located in Texas, however
such units may be described.
Senate Bill 965 amended article 2.122 of the Code of Criminal Procedure by adding
subsection (d), which reads:
A commissioned law enforcement officer of the National Park
Service is not a peace officer under the laws of this state, except that
the officer has the powers of arrest, search, and seizure as to any
offense under the laws of this state committed within the boundaries
of a national park or national recreation area. In this subsection,
"national park or national recreation area" means a national park or
'Act of May 22, 1999, 76th Leg., R.S., ch. 628, 1, 1999 Tex. Gen. Laws 3186, 3187 (codified at TEX. CODE
CiuM. PROC. ANN. art. 2.122(d)).
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Texas. Attorney-General's Office. Texas Attorney General Opinion: JC-177, text, 2000; (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth274486/m1/1/: accessed November 19, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.