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Researching Texas Law: Administrative Rulemaking & Agency Procedure

Assists users in researching Texas agency rulemaking and regulatory issues.

The Texas Attorney General

The Texas Attorney General (the AG) is the state's chief law enforcement officer. As such, the office is responsible for providing, upon request, the state's official interpretation of a state statute or regulation. The interpretations, called opinions, are not technically legally binding, but they are highly persuasive and are generally considered to be authoritative until and unless they are overruled by legislative or court action.

The laws governing the Attorney General's office are located in Texas Government Code chapter 402. The office is an executive agency and is thus under the control of the governor's office, but the position of Attorney General itself is an elected office. There is no requirement that the Governor and the Attorney General be members of the same political party.

Attorney General Opinions

Attorney General opinions are the AG's official interpretation of a state law or regulation. Opinions are usually preceded by a request for an opinion. Only authorized persons - members of the Texas legislature, Texas state and local government officials, and some others - may submit a request. Requests from members of the public are not accepted. Occasionally the AG will issue an opinion on their own initiative, usually in response to a significant legal or social controversy that may benefit from the office's guidance.

Finding AG opinions

The best source for locating AG opinions is the Attorney General's official opinion website. It offers the full text of opinions from 1939-present. The opinions are indexed by author & subject and may also be keyword searched. The office also provides copies of the opinion request letters here.

Public Information Requests

The Attorney General's office is responsible for enforcing Texas's public information and government transparency laws, the Open Meetings Act (Tex. Gov. Code chapter 551) and the Public Information Act (Tex. Gov. Code chapter 552). The office does this in three ways:

  • Staff attorneys with the office's Open Records Division review and issue guidance on whether requested information must be disclosed, and to what extent. These guidance memos, called Open Records Letter Rulings, are published online here.
  • On occasion, the Attorney General, not a staff attorney, may issue an opinion in response to a novel or important open records question. These opinions are called Open Records Decisions and are available online here.
  • The Open Records Division provides guidance to the public about the public information laws and how to request information. The Division publishes two annual handbooks, one for the Open Meetings Act and one for the Public Information Act, and maintains a comprehensive website with forms, copies of the public information laws, and other useful material.