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Florida Legal Research: Executive Branch

Guide for researching legal resources specifically related to Florida.

Executive Branch: Basics

Each branch has its quirks, and researching information in the executive branch may be the trickiest of all.  A wide variety of information is available, though it changes frequently due to changes in the administration, the law, and the rules.  Additionally, the search engines hosted by the sites themselves are not as robust as those available through sites such as Westlaw or Lexis.  Still, the sites listed below can offer some useful resources.

The Governor

Executive Orders

Searchable through Westlaw, but also available at the following links:

Task Groups

From time to time, the Governor may call for a task force to convene for the purposes of researching and making recommendations for handling a specific issue.  The amount of information available relevant to the activities of each task force can vary.  Nonetheless, the reports and recommendations produced by these entities may be used in subsequent decisions by the legislative or executive branches.  The best place to find information about task forces is at the Governor's official website:

Administrative Agencies

Agency Listings

Each agency maintains its own website, each organized in a different manner.  Once again, the type and amount of information available differs by agency., Find an Agency:

Florida Department of State, State Agency Listing:


Administrative Procedures Act

The Administrative Procedures Act, or APA, is the general act that sets the foundation for the most basic activities of Florida administrative agencies.  The procedures which agencies must follow when adopting rules are specified by the act, as are the procedures for challenging agency decisions.  The APA can be found in Chapter 120, Florida Statutes. 

Official Executive Branch Publications

Florida Administrative Weekly:

Under the APA, agencies are required to make official notice to the public of certain actions.  Florida Administrative Weekly is the venue for these public notices.  Depending on what the agencies are up to, an issue of the FAW will contain:

  • Notices of development proposed rules (including any related workshops for development of those rules)
  • Text of proposed rules
  • Notices of any changes, corrections and withdrawals
  • Emergency rules
  • Petitions and dispositions regarding rule variances or waivers
  • Notices of meetings, workshops, and public hearings
  • Notices of petitions an dispositions regarding declaratory statements
  • Notices of petitions and dispositions regarding the validity of rule
  • Notices of petitions and dispositions regarding non-rule policy challenges
  • Announcements and objection reports of the Joint Administrative Procedures Committee
  • Notices regarding bids, proposals, and purchasing
  • Miscellaneous items, including final agency orders

Florida Administrative Code:

The Florida Administrative Code, or FAC, is comprised of all of the rules enacted by Florida administrative agencies.  The online version is available at the link above, and print versions are available at libraries.  While the website listed above offers keyword searches of rules, the most robust search capabilities are offered by subscription databases such as Westlaw and Lexis.

Florida Administrative Law Reports

Many, but not all, of the state agencies have their administrative law opinions and orders published in the Florida Administrative Law Reports, or FALR.  The site allows subscribers to do full-text searches.

Attorney General’s Office Opinions:

Agencies and local governments may seek legal advice from the Attorney General in the form of AGO opinions.  Formal opinions will be issued, assigned a number, and compiled into the Annual Report of the Attorney General.  Opinions are searchable via Westlaw, though the site itself offers some search capabilities. 

Division of Administrative Hearings:

The Division of Administrative Hearings, or DOAH, handles many of the quasi-judicial functions for the state’s administrative agencies.  Both the APA and individual enabling statutes for agency functions delineate the functions of DOAH and the types of cases that are handled by Administrative Law Judges, or ALJ’s. 

At the DOAH website, cases may be located under the “Case Search” link by the case number, if known.  Searches are possible using party names, date ranges, or agency.  The site makes many of the officially filed documents related to each docket available in pdf format.  The site also allows for keyword searches.  Westlaw and Lexis offer some coverage of agency and DOAH decisions.