AG Opinions

What is an AG Opinion?

The attorney general shall "[g]ive his or her opinion in writing, when required, without fee, upon all questions of law submitted to him or her by the legislature, either house thereof or the senate or assembly committee on organization, or by the head of any department of state government." -- Wis. Stat. § 165.015


Quill and Ink By statute, the Attorney General must, when asked, provide the legislature and designated Wisconsin state government officials with an opinion on legal questions. The Attorney General may also give formal legal opinions to district attorneys and county corporation counsel under certain circumstances. Wis. Stat. § 165.25(3) and 59.42(1)(c). Please see 77 Op. Att’y Gen. Preface (1988) for a more detailed explanation of the criteria for requesting a formal opinion.


Opinions of the Attorney General (OAG) typically provide guidance when confusion exists about the meaning of a statute and Wisconsin appellate courts have not yet definitively answered the question. Wisconsin courts do not have any obligation to follow an interpretation provided by an OAG, but they often do. As the Wisconsin Court of Appeals has written, "Well-reasoned attorney general's opinions have persuasive value when a court later addresses the meaning of the same statute."


Throughout the years, the Attorney General has answered a wide range of questions. Sometimes an inquiry concerns the constitutionality of proposed legislation. Other times, the question might concern the scope of a government agency's authority. Whatever the issue, the Attorney General has an obligation to offer the highest quality analysis without regard to any political or partisan favor or consequences that might follow.


For additional opinions, please follow this link to the AG Opinion Archive.

Attorney General Opinions

Dec 8 2017

Today, Attorney General Brad Schimel issued an opinion concerning the validity of Wis. Admin. Code s. SPS 361.05(1), as amended by Wis. Admin. Code s. SPS 362.0903. The Department of Safety and Professional Services requested the opinion. 


Nov 6 2017

Attorney General Brad Schimel issued a formal opinion to Governor Scott Walker regarding the State of Wisconsin Group Insurance Board’s authority to offer self-insured group insurance plans to municipal employers.

Sep 1 2017

Attorney General Brad Schimel issued a formal opinion to Wisconsin Department of Corrections Secretary Jon E. Litscher regarding Wis. Stat. § 301.46(2m)(am), a statute governing law enforcement bulletins for sex offenders with multiple convictions.

Sep 1 2017

Attorney General Brad Schimel issued a formal opinion to Shawano County Corporation Counsel Tony Kordus concerning whether a county board is legally authorized to appropriate money to a private nonprofit food pantry.

May 10 2016

Attorney General Brad Schimel issued a formal opinion regarding the application of 2011 Wisconsin Act 21 to the issuance of high capacity groundwater well withdrawal permits by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

Nov 12 2015

Attorney General Brad D. Schimel issued a formal opinion to Assembly Committee on Organization Chairperson Robin Vos concerning an individual’s right, a police officer’s authority, and a healthcare provider’s duty under the emergency detention statute.

Sep 8 2015

Attorney General Brad Schimel issued a formal opinion concerning long-term care districts. Schimel concluded that the jurisdiction of all long-term care districts is governed by Wis. Stat. § 46.2895(2).