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Library: Policy

DHS:2-25-3. Legal opinions

Revised 6-24-19

(a) Formal legal opinions.Formal legal opinions are written opinions issued by Oklahoma Department of Human Services (DHS) Legal Services (LS) at the General Counsel's direction.Such opinions are sought to:

(1) define the legality of a contemplated action or inaction; or

(2) interpret federal and state regulatory or statutory law, or DHS rules and regulations.

(b) Process to obtain a legal opinion.Legal opinions may be requested by the DHS Director, the Chief of Staff, or executive-level leadership.DHS LS is responsible for providing any legal opinion to the individual requesting the opinion and is not responsible for ensuring the legal opinion is disseminated to any other staff.

(1) Requests for LS legal opinions are directed to the General Counsel, in writing for assignment, and a copy of the assignment is forwarded to the person making the request.All requests must contain:

(A) a precise statement of the issues(s) to be addressed, and a complete statement of all relevant facts;

(B) relevant documents, citations to and or copies of applicable federal or state statutes and regulations, DHS rules and regulations, and prior legal opinions, when known; and

(C) the name and phone number of a program contact person who can provide additional information.

(2) The General Counsel assigns each request to an attorney for disposition.The General Counsel and the assigned attorney determine if the request warrants a formal legal opinion.When the request does not warrant a formal legal opinion, the assigned attorney responds within 20-calendar days in writing or verbally, depending on the requestor's needs or circumstances.

(3) Responses to formal legal opinions are completed within 45-calendar days of assignment.Response time may be shortened in exigent circumstances or lengthened with the General Counsel's approval.When additional time is approved, the requestor is notified of the new completion date by the assigned attorney.

(4) LS legal opinions are advisory only.However, in the event a requestor contemplates action contrary to the formal opinion, both the Director and General Counsel must be advised in writing of the formal opinion and its determinations as well as the contrary action.

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