Attorney General Ken Paxton has provided a legal opinion in response to Goliad County Attorney Rob Baiamonte’s request for advice regarding a county judge’s authority to make and terminate a local disaster declaration. The record-breaking border crossings of illegal aliens has affected several Texas cities to the point they warrant a disaster declaration. In May 2021, Governor Abbott also declared a disaster for counties near the border related to the border crossings that included Goliad County. The local disaster declaration is generally consistent with the Governor’s action.
The Attorney General’s opinion explains the county judge’s authority to declare a local disaster, and the proper role of the commissioner’s court in the extension, termination, or approval of funding for a declared local disaster.
In addition to providing legal opinions to authorized requestors, the Office of Attorney General Ken Paxton also provides disaster counsel to government bodies throughout the State in connection with any disaster, whether local or statewide. An appropriate requestor (a county judge, county commissioner, mayor, or the designated emergency management director of a political subdivision subject to a declared state of disaster) may contact disaster counsel through https://www.texasattorneygeneral.gov/disaster-counsel-legal-advice.
Read the opinion letter here.