“I just want them to follow what they wrote,” said Hood, who met with the media Monday to explain official opinions written by his office detailing that the Budget Transparency and Simplification Act passed during the 2016 legislative session does not provide as much money for the state budget as the legislative leaders said it would when it passed.
Official opinions issued by the office of the Attorney General do not carry the weight of law, but protect public officials who adhere to the rulings from liability in court proceedings.
Current state Fiscal Officer Kevin Upchurch, who is responsible for disbursing funds to state agencies based on the budget passed by the Legislature, has said he would adhere to the AG’s opinions. But Upchurch is retiring July 1 – at the start of a new fiscal year – and his replacement has not yet been named by Gov. Phil Bryant. Bryant has only said he would take into account the attorney general’s opinion when trying to determine the complexities of the new law.