What We Do

The Office of Legislative Counsel has operated in state government for more than a century to assist the Legislature, the Governor, and other state officers by providing nonpartisan legal services supporting the legislative process.


Beginning in the 1970s, at the request of the Legislature, the OLC began to implement computer capabilities to support the process of drafting and printing legislation. Since then, the office has delivered an array of technology services to improve the efficiency of additional business processes and expand public access to legislative information.

Legislative Counsel Bureau

Attorneys in the office, with the assistance of highly trained support staff:

  • Draft bills, constitutional amendments, resolutions, and proposed amendments to those measures
  • Render legal opinions on issues of constitutionality, statutory interpretation, and other legal matters
  • Provide counsel to the Members and committees of the Legislature
  • Represent the Senate and Assembly in litigation
  • Prepare contracts for services to the Senate and Assembly
  • Provide various legal services to the Governor
  • Assist in the preparation of an initiative measure when requested to do so by 25 or more electors
  • Assist judges in the drafting of legislation

Other legislative support services provided by the office include the following:

  • During each legislative session, the office's Indexing Unit prepares an index of pending bills (the Legislative Index), and tables identifying sections of existing law affected by pending measures.
  • At the end of each legislative session, the Indexing Unit compiles and indexes the state publication of the session laws, including the "Summary Digest of Statutes Enacted"; produces a compilation, for the bills that were enacted into law, of the Legislative Counsel's Digests; prepares an analysis and index of the bills; and publishes a table of the sections of law affected by the bills.
  • Preparation and publication for various state agencies of specific code compilations.






Legislative Data Center

The Office of Legislative Counsel operates the Legislative Data Center, which provides Technology Services to the Legislature and processes legislative measures. In addition, since 1994 the Legislative Counsel has maintained an internet site for public information on legislation, which includes information regarding pending legislation and existing law.

Administrative Branch

The OLC’s Administrative Branch supports OLC legislative lawyers, Data Center technical staff, other employees, and agency management with a variety of business services. The services include:

  • Accounting and budgeting
  • Business services, courier services, and facilities management
  • Communications
  • Equal employment opportunity
  • Human resources and wellness
  • Legal files handling
  • Legal support
  • Professional development and training
  • Reprographics
  • Security


Workplace Conduct Unit

Consistent with the Legislature’s “Policy on Appropriate Workplace Conduct: Creating a Culture of Respect, Civility and Diversity,” the OLC established the Workplace Conduct Unit (WCU) on February 1, 2019, as an independent unit reporting directly to the Legislative Counsel. The WCU employs qualified, trained investigators, who are fair and respectful of complainants, witnesses, and respondents.  The investigators conduct prompt, independent, and objective investigations of allegations of inappropriate workplace conduct by legislative employees, legislative Members, or third parties, based on a person’s protected class.

Our role in The legislative process


Bill drafting

A Member of the Legislature sends a policy idea for a bill to the OLC.

The idea is thoroughly researched by OLC legal staff before being drafted into a bill and returned to the Member.


Legislative Digest

During the First Reading the bill is introduced, where it is numbered and assigned to a bill committee.

To aid in discussions regarding the bill, the OLC provides a digest, which accompanies the bill throughout the process and summarizes the changes the bill would make to current law.


Amendment Drafting

During the floor debates the bill may need proposed amendments created for it.

All amendments must be submitted to the OLC for drafting.


Signed into Law

The bill is given to the Governor to veto or sign. If signed, the bill will be chaptered into law.

The OLC maintains Leginfo, a public site regarding information on pending legislation and existing law.

life cycle of legislation


House of Origin




Second House




Bill is

Legal Services

The Legislative Counsel and the staff maintain an attorney-client relationship with each Member of the Legislature and the Governor with respect to the office's provision of legal services. Other persons may discuss drafting problems or other legal issues regarding legislation with the Legislative Counsel and staff under designated circumstances, or when authorized to do so by a Member of the Legislature.

Lawyers walking in front of the capitol

As one of its principal functions, the Office of the Legislative Counsel prepares a legislative draft for virtually every legislative proposal that is considered by the Legislature, including bills, constitutional amendments, resolutions, and amendments to those measures. Requests from Members of the Legislature or their staff are each referred to a Legislative Counsel attorney having expertise in the affected subject matter, who typically drafts the appropriate wording, determines how best to integrate the proposal into existing law, identifies potential constitutional or other legal problems that may be raised by the proposal, and works with the requester's office to resolve those problems. The office also prepares the Legislative Counsel's Digest, which is printed on the first page of each bill and contains a brief summary of the effect of the bill. In addition, when the Governor submits an executive reorganization plan to the Legislature, the office prepares the plan in statutory format.

The law provides that "neither the Legislative Counsel nor any employee of the bureau shall oppose or urge legislation." This requirement of nonpartisanship, together with the confidentiality assured by the attorney-client relationship, enable the Office of Legislative Counsel to provide legal services, including the preparation of legislation, to each of the 120 Members of the Legislature and the Governor without regard to partisan political considerations.

Another major function of the office is the preparation of legal opinions in response to requests presented by a Member of the Legislature or the Governor. These opinions typically address the interpretation or constitutionality of provisions of existing law, or of pending legislative proposals, and cover a wide range of subject areas of the law. In addition to these formal opinions, attorneys of the Office of Legislative Counsel routinely provide informal legal guidance to Members or legislative staff in the course of committee deliberations and in the context of individual consultation.

In addition, the Office of Legislative Counsel prepares for the Governor an enrolled bill report for each bill that the Legislature sends to the Governor for approval. The enrolled bill report is an analysis that identifies, for example, conflicts between the bill and other bills passed in the same legislative session. A copy of the analysis is delivered to the author of the bill, as required by the Joint Rules of the Legislature. OLC attorneys also prepare contracts authorizing the provision of services to the Legislature, and represent the Senate or Assembly in various litigation matters.


Technology Services

The Office of Legislative Counsel provides information processing services to the Legislature through the operation of the Legislative Data Center. This information technology branch maintains databases of information on pending legislation and existing law, and supports the use of those databases by the office's Legal Division, the Members of the Legislature, and the Legislative Analyst’s Office. In addition, the Legislative Data Center maintains the website for public information on legislation.

Through the Legislative Data Center, a technical staff of systems analysts, programmers, systems software and networking specialists, operations personnel, and trainers is available to serve the Legislature. The Data Center is responsible for complex statewide Wide Area, Local Area, and Wireless Networks with over 500 servers, a mainframe computer, over 3,000 personal computers and wireless devices, sophisticated storage management systems, and a customer support center providing service 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Employee working at a computer

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