Sheriff Says AG's Opinion Makes No Difference

It's an issue we've heard a lot about over the past several months: Smith County's receiving surplus property in exchange for housing federal inmates.

Now, the Texas Attorney General has issued an opinion saying Sheriff J.B. Smith cannot sign the contracts for the program.

Former County Commissioner Frank Sawyer requested the opinion. It now means only the Commissioners Court has the authority to sign those contracts.

Sheriff Smith says that just means less work for him.

"We'll abide by anything," he said. "We've never purposely tried to violate the law. It's-- we find this humorous, if you really want to know the truth. It's become a very humorous thing to us, but it's made out to be something pretty serious."

Sheriff Smith says it doesn't matter who signs the contracts. It doesn't change the way the program operates.

Julie Tam, reporting.