Attorney General: The Basics

The attorney general is chosen via statewide election and serves four-year terms with no term limits.  The constitutional qualifications to serve as attorney general are low: 18 years of age, U.S. citizen, resident of Texas for 12 months.  In 2016, the Attorney General was compensated $153,750/year.

As the state’s chief legal advisor, the attorney general is responsible for various functions, including:

  • representing the state in courts
  • filing lawsuits on behalf of the state (usually questioning the constitutionality of federal actions under the principle of federalism)
  • issuing advisory opinions on legal matters to the governor, legislature, and state agencies within the bureaucracy
  • enforcing state anti-trust and consumer protection laws
  • investigating and prosecuting criminal activities, including crimes of human trafficking, internet crimes against children, and election fraud
  • assisting local law enforcement in prosecutions and appeals
  • enforcing open government (i.e., sunset) laws
  • collecting unpaid child support
  • collecting delinquent state taxes