Table 4.21

Attorneys General: Prosecutorial and Advisory Duties


  Authority in local prosecutions: Reviews legislation (a): Reviews legislation (b):
FIPS State or other
jurisdiction
Authority to
initiate local
prosecutions
May intervene in
local
prosecutions
May assist local
prosecutor
May supersede
local prosecutor
To state
executive
officials
To
legislators
To local
prosecutors
On the
constitutionality
of bills or
ordinances
Prior to
passage
Before
signing
01Alabama*AA,DA,DA

02Alaska(c)(c)(c)(c)

04ArizonaA,D,FA,DA,D,FD,F

✓(x)(u)(u)
05ArkansasDD

✓(aa)

06California*A,B,C,D,E,FA,B,C,D,E,FA,B,C,D,E,FA,B,C,D,E,F,G

(v)(v)
08Colorado*A, FAD,FA

09Connecticut

(e)(e)
10DelawareA (f)(f)(f)(f)

(g)(g)
12Florida*FD

13Georgia*B,D,F,GA,D

15HawaiiA,B,C,D,EA,B,C,D,EA,B,C,D,EA,B,C,D,E

✓(h)
16IdahoB,D,FB,D,FB,D

17Illinois*D,FD,GDG

(i)(i)
18IndianaFD

19Iowa*D,FD,FD,FD,E,F

(j)(j)
20Kansas*B,C,D,FB,C,D,F,GDB,C,D,F,G

21KentuckyB,C,D,FGB,C,D,F,GDB

22Louisiana*D,E,GD,E,GD,E,GE,G

23Maine*AAAA

24MarylandB,D,FDD

25MassachusettsAAA,DA

✓(k)(l)
26MichiganAAAA

27MinnesotaB,D,FB,D,GA,B,D,GB

✓(k)(l)(l)
28Mississippi*A,D,FD,FA,D,FD,F

29Missouri*B,F,GFB,FG

(l)(l)
30Montana*DED,EE

✓(m)
31Nebraska*A,DA,DA,D,E,F

32Nevada*A,B,D,E,FA,B,D,E,FA,B,D,E,FA,B,D,E,F

33New Hampshire*A,E (y)A,E (y)A,D,EA,E

(n)(n)
34New Jersey*A,B,C,DA,B,C,DA,B,C,DA,B,C,D

35New Mexico*B,D,E,FD,E,FA,B,D,E,FD,E,F,G

36New York*B,FB,D,FDB

✓(k)
37North CarolinaFDD

38North DakotaD,E,F,GA,D,E,GA,D,E,F,GA,D,E,G

39OhioD, FDDF

(m)
40Oklahoma*A,B,C,D,E,F,GA,B,C,D,E,F,GA,B,C,D,E,F,GA,B,C,D,E,F,G

41OregonB,D,FB,DB,DB

42PennsylvaniaA,D,FD,F,GD,FG

44Rhode Island*AAAA

45South Carolina*A,D,E,FA,B,C,D,E,FA,D,EA,E

(q)✓(w)✓(w)
46South Dakota*A,B,D,E,F (p)D,GA,B,D,ED,F

47Tennessee*D,F,GD,GD,FF,G

48TexasFD,FD

(z)

(z)(z)(z)
49UtahA,B,D,E,F,GE,GD,EE

✓(q)✓(l)✓(l)
50VermontAAAG

51VirginiaB,FB,D,FB,D,FB

53Washington*B,D,GB,D,GB,D,GB,D,G

(o)(o)
54West Virginia*(r)

55WisconsinB,C,D,FB,C,DDB

(e)(e)
56Wyoming*B,D,FB,DB,DG

✓(h)
11Dist. of Columbia*FDDF

(s)
60American Samoa*A (t)(t)(t)(t)

(t)(e)(l)(l)
66Guam*AAAA

(l)B
69CNMI* **A (t)(t)(t)(t)

72Puerto Rico*A(t)(t)(t)

78U.S. Virgin Islands*A (t)(t)(t)(t)


Source:

The Council of State Governments' survey of attorneys general offices, 2022.

Key:

* Information from The Council of State Governments’ survey of attorneys general offices and review of state websites, 2021.
** Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands.
A — On own initiative.
B — On request of governor.
C — On request of legislature.
D — On request of local prosecutor.
E — When in state’s interest.
F — Under certain statutes for specific crimes.
G — On authorization of court or other body.
✓ — Has authority in area.
✕ — Does not have authority in area.

Footnotes:

(a)

Also issues advisory opinions to: Alabama- Designated heads of state departments, agencies, boards, and commissions; local public officials; and political subdivisions. Hawaii- Judges/judiciary as requested. Kansas- to counsel for local units of government. Montana- county and city attorneys, city commissioners. Wisconsin- corporation counsel.

(b)

Also reviews legislation: Alabama- when requested by the governor. Alaska- after passage. Arizona- at the request of the legislature. Kansas- upon request of Legislator, no formal authority.

(c)

The attorney general functions as the local prosecutor.

(d)

To legislative leadership.

(e)

Informally reviews bills or does so upon request.

(f)

The attorney general functions as the local prosecutor.

(g)

Discretion to informally review upon request of legislative or executive branch, but reviews are not legal advice nor formal action.

(h)

On the constitutionality of bills only, not ordinances.

(i)

Review and track legislation that relates to the Office of Attorney General and the office mission.

(j)

No requirements for review.

(k)

To legislature as a whole not individual legislators.

(l)

Only when requested by governor or legislature.

(m)

To either the House of Representatives or the Senate, when so requested by resolution or passed by membership; To law directors of townships that have adopted limited self-government under R.C. Chapter 504.

(n)

Provides information when requested by the Legislature. Testifies for or against bills on the Attorney General’s own initiative.

(o)

May review legislation at request of clients or legislature.

(p)

Certain statutes provide for concurrent jurisdiction with local prosecutors.

(q)

Only when requested by legislature.

(r)

Can be involved in local at request of local prosecutors. If requested by local authority, can participate in criminal prosecutions.

(s)

The office of attorney general prosecutes local crimes to an extent. The office’s Legal Counsel Division may issue legal advice to the office’s prosecutorial arm. Otherwise, the office does not usually advise the OUSA, the district’s other local prosecutor.

(t)

The attorney general functions as the local prosecutor.

(u)

Reviews enacted legislation only when there is a compelling need.

(v)

May review legislation at any time but does not have a de jure role in approval of bills as to form or constitutionality; California has a separate Legislative Counsel to advise the legislature on bills.

(w)

Has concurrent jurisdiction with states’ attorneys. Only when requested by governor or legislature.

(x)

At the request of one or members of the Arizona Legislature, the Arizona Attorney General is required to investigate any ordinance, regulation, order or other official action adopted or taken by the governing body of a county, city or town that the member alleges violates state law or the Arizona Constitution.

(y)

Attorney general has statewide prosecutorial authority in any court. No request or order is required for the AG to initiate a prosecution. The Attorney General has authority to intervene, no request or order is required, but does not do so except in an extreme circumstance.

(z)

The attorney general’s office may issue an opinion on a question affecting the public interest or concerning the official duties of the requesting person. The opinion is a written interpretation of existing law. Authorized requestors are: the governor, head of a department of state government, the head or board or 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, the chair of the governing board of a river authority and a district or county attorney

(aa)

Also issues advisory opinions to County boards of election commissioners.