Texas Attorney General Opinion: JC-484 Page: 1 of 8
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0 OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL - STATE OF TEXAS
March 27, 2002
The Honorable J.E. "Buster" Brown Opinion No. JC-0484
Chair, Natural Resources Committee
Texas State Senate Re: Whether the Texas Council on Environmental
P.O. Box 12068 Technology may award a grant to one of its
Austin, Texas 78711-2068 members or to a university that employs a member,
and related question (RQ-0444-JC)
Dear Senator Brown:
Under the common law, if an officer of a governmental body has an interest in a contract
before the body, the governmental body may not enter the contract. See Tex. Att'y Gen. Op. No.
JC-0437 (2001) at 4. You question whether conflict-of-interest rules preclude the Texas Council on
Environmental Technology (the Council) from awarding a grant to a member of the Council, as an
individual, or to a university that employs a member.' Because we conclude that a grant is subject
to the strict common-law rule, we determine that a conflict of interest precludes the Council from
making a grant to either a member or to a university that employs the member.
You further ask whether a conflict can "be resolved either by the member recusing himself
from the vote on the award of that grant or by some other means." Request Letter, supra, at 2.
Because the grant is subject to the strict common-law rule, the conflict may not be resolved by
The Seventy-seventh Legislature added a new chapter 387 to the Health and Safety Code,
which creates the Council to "establish and administer a new technology research and development
program." TEX. HEALTH & SAFETY CODE ANN. 387.003(a) (Vernon Supp. 2002); see also Act of
May 24, 2001, 77th Leg., R.S., ch. 967, 1(b), sec. 387.003(a), 2001 Tex. Sess. Law Serv. 1970,
1984. The Council "consists of [eleven] members appointed by the governor to represent the
academic and nonprofit communities." TEX. HEALTH & SAFETY CODE ANN. 387.002(a) (Vernon
Supp. 2002). Council members "serve six-year staggered terms." Id. The Council must, in
'Letter from Honorable J.E. "Buster" Brown, Texas State Senate, to Honorable John Comyn, Texas Attorney
General, at 2 (Oct. 3, 2001) (on file with Opinion Committee) [hereinafter Request Letter].
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Texas. Attorney-General's Office. Texas Attorney General Opinion: JC-484, text, 2002; (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth274794/m1/1/: accessed November 20, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.