Legal Counsel Divisions
legal counsel divisions:General Counsel Division Legal Technical Support Open Records Opinion Committee Public Finance
The six legal counsel divisions perform a wide array of tasks for the agency. These include providing legal advice to other areas of the agency, demographic analysis, issuing legal opinions, acting as a liason to other areas of government, issuing written decisions related to access to public information and reviewing public bonds.
The General Counsel Division provides legal research and advice to the Attorney General, his staff and other divisions of the office regarding a wide variety of constitutional and statutory issues. The Division drafts and reviews agency administrative rules, procedures and policies. The Division also drafts, reviews, and negotiates contracts and agreements on behalf of the agency; coordinates the approval process for outside counsel contracts and invoices for all state agencies; and consults with and advises state agencies on contract matters as attorneys for the state and legal advisors to the state's contract management team. The General Counsel Division provides required legal sufficiency reviews of Comprehensive Development Agreements required by the Transportation Code. The Public Information Coordinator's Office, which is part of the Division, handles all public information requests received by the Agency; oversees the Agency's responses to each request; and provides Public Information Act training.
The Legal Technical Support Division serves the agency's legal divisions through its expertise in demographic and socio-economic analysis, geographic information systems analysis and financial and statistical analysis. It provides support through products ranging from narrative reports, maps, multimedia presentations and graphic displays, to the development of computer applications and database interfaces.
Litigation Technical Support has played an integral role in the agency's involvement with Census 2000.
The Open Records Division issues written decisions related to access to public information under Chapter 552 of the Government Code. The division also provides legal advice and research to the Legislative and Executive branches of state government and coordinates and participates in regional and statewide conferences on access to public information. The division operates a hotline to provide general information and to facilitate the resolution of disputes between governmental bodies and private citizens as issues arise regarding open meetings and open records laws.
The Opinion Committee researches and drafts legal opinions in response to questions of law posed by persons authorized by statute to request formal Attorney General opinions. Officials authorized to seek Attorney General opinions are:
- 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
- a committee of a house of the Texas Legislature
- a county auditor authorized by law, and
- the chairman of the governing board of a river authority.
More information about opinions:
The Public Finance Division reviews and approves all bonds and similar obligations issued by state agencies, cities, counties, school districts, municipal utility districts, hospital districts, institutions of higher education and all other governmental entities or instrumentalities of the State, plus certain nonprofit corporations created to act on behalf of political subdivisions.
All Bond Counsel Letters reflect positions taken by the Public Finance Division of the Office of the Attorney General in carrying out its statutory responsibility to review all public securities issued by any agency, district, municipal corporation or political subdivision of this state or by any nonprofit corporation acting for or on behalf of these entities. (See Chapter 1202 of the Government Code.) Please note that positions taken in some Letters have been revised by later ones. All substantive Letters since November, 1987, are included here, while only selected Letters before that date are included.