The Board recognizes that individuals and associations other than the requesters use advisory opinions for guidance. Such use should be tempered by the understanding that occasionally the Board’s interpretation of a statute may change over time due to court rulings, legislative action, or other factors. The Board attempts to note when an advisory opinion no longer states the Board’s position by including an annotation that precedes each obsolete opinion.
Individuals wishing to obtain guidance from past advisory opinions are encouraged to discuss their particular facts with Board staff to assist them in evaluating the current authority of an opinion.
An advisory opinion may be requested by or on behalf of an individual or association who wishes to use the opinion to guide the individual's or the association's own conduct. All requests must be in writing. The request should arrive in the Board office at least three weeks before a Board meeting to ensure that the staff, Attorney General's office, and the Board have the time necessary to research the issues raised and to draft the opinion.
A request for an advisory opinion and the opinion itself are non-public data unless the requester consents to the publication of the requester's identity.
An advisory opinion provides a statement of the Board’s position on the law as applied to real or hypothetical facts provided by the requester. The requester is not bound by the opinion, but the
opinion is binding on the Board in any subsequent Board proceeding concerning the individual or association on whose behalf the request was made. Reliance on an advisory opinion by the requester is a defense in a judicial proceeding that involves the subject matter of the opinion and is brought against the person making or covered by the request unless:
1) the Board has amended or revoked the opinion before the initiation of the Board or judicial proceeding, has notified the individual or association making or on whose behalf the request was made of its action, and has allowed at least 30 days for the individual or association to do anything that might be necessary to comply with the amended or revoked opinion;
2) the request has omitted or misstated material facts; or
3) the person or association making the request or on whose behalf the request was made has not acted in good faith in reliance on the opinion.
For information about advisory opinions call Gary Goldsmith at 651-539-1190 or 800-657-3889.