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The Attorney General Opinion Process
The Attorney General Opinion Process
By Greg Abbott
Attorney General of Texas
One of my primary duties as the Attorney General is to render Attorney General Opinions. These are written interpretations
of existing law. This task is part of my responsibility as legal counsel for the State of Texas. Attorney General Opinions
interpret specific points of existing law and address legal issues that are ambiguous or unclear. They do not deal with
questions of fact. Opinions cannot create new law, nor can they change undesirable aspects of a law. Only the state
legislature can create or change Texas laws. An Attorney General Opinion does not reflect the Attorney General's personal
opinion or view on a particular matter, nor is it a "ruling." It is strictly an unbiased interpretation of existing law.
Although an Attorney General Opinion is advisory, it carries the weight and force of law unless or until it is modified or
overruled by a statute, a judicial decision, or a subsequent Attorney General Opinion. While an Attorney General Opinion is
deemed to correctly state the law, ultimate determination of a law's applicability, meaning or constitutionality is left to
Opinions may only be issued to certain state and local officials as prescribed by state law. These officials are called
authorized requestors and are listed in Sections 402.042 and 402.043 of the Texas Government Code. The Attorney General is
prohibited from providing a legal opinion to private individuals or to public officials not specified by statute. If you are
not authorized to request an Attorney General Opinion, but feel one is warranted to clarify a part of the law, you may wish
to contact an authorized requestor to see if he or she would be willing to make a request on your behalf.
Once an official, valid opinion request is made, the Attorney General must interpret existing law in accordance with all
applicable statutes, judicial decision and the Texas and United States Constitutions. This process involves extensive legal
research by the Opinions Committee, a group of lawyers on my staff.
In addition to researching the law, the Committee solicits legal briefs from groups that are likely to be affected
by the opinion. Comments from the general public are also welcomed.
The majority of Opinions are issued within 180 days of the request, but the amount of time will vary due to the amount of
research involved and the number of legal briefs received. All Attorney General Opinions are posted on our Web site at
www.oag.state.tx.us, usually within 24 hours after they are issued. Pending opinion requests are also posted.
You can search opinions dating back to 1939 in the Opinions Section of our Web site. You can also use our Web site to
register for automated e-mail notification of new opinions. For more information about the Opinions process, read the
Opinions Section of our Web site or call (800) 252-8011.
POINTS TO REMEMBER
ATTORNEY GENERAL OPINIONS
You can sign up for automated e-mail notification of opinions in the E-mail Subscription Section of our Web site at: www.oag.state.tx.us
Authorized requestors include:
• the governor
• the head of a department of state government
• the head or board of a penal institution, the head or board of an eleemosynary institution
• the head of a state board, a regent or trustee of a state educational institution
• the chair of committee of the Texas Legislature
• a county auditor authorized by law
• the chairman of the governing board of a river authority
• a district or county attorney
Information on this and other topics is available on the Attorney General's Web site at www.oag.state.tx.us.