Bill would remove AG lawyers from state agency duties

Lawyers from the Mississippi Attorney General’s Office would no longer be assigned to state agencies, if one state lawmaker gets his wish.

Rep. Mark Baker, R-Brandon, an attorney, has drafted a bill that would end more than 60 attorneys from the AG’s office having assigned duties with state agencies under the AG’s supervision. Baker’s bill hadn’t been assigned to a committee as of late last week and its text hadn’t been released by Friday afternoon.

“I think state agencies should be hiring their own lawyers and I think the Attorney General’s Office should be the Attorney General’s Office,” Baker said. “I think we should look at why staff attorneys at the Department of Marine Resources (for example) have to be an employee of the attorney general.”

Baker said the attorneys would be transferred to the state agencies they’ve been representing and would answer to the heads of those agencies.

“The goal is not to terminate anybody,” Baker said. “The goal is to realign the relative duties, obligations and allegiances.”

Sun Herald
1/26/13