A consent decree is a judge’s order based on an agreement between parties in a lawsuit, enforceable by contempt charges and modified only by court order. In some cases, state and local governments can mount a formidable defense against consent decrees if they force plaintiffs to prove their case in court. The Attorney General should also be required to present a report to the State Legislature on every consent decree currently affecting state or local government operations, with budgetary and policy implications clearly addressed for each decree.