Bill Description: House Bill 629 establishes the Office of Administrative Hearings to oversee disputes involving state regulations.
Does it create, expand, or enlarge any agency, board, program, function, or activity of government?
House Bill 629 grows government by establishing the Office of Administrative Hearings as a self-governing agency. This agency would be charged with mediating disputes over state agencies’ administrative rules. Normally, state agencies contract to neutral, private third parties to mediate disputes over administrative rules. This legislation, however, creates a new agency to procure and manage hearing officers to act as third party mediators, replacing each agency’s work to secure mediators. Hearing officers may be internal, appointed by the Chief Administrative Hearing Officer, or they may be outside contractors.
This expands the size of government and removes the benefit of having a neutral third party to mediate disputes, putting complainants at a disadvantage.
The fiscal note for this legislation, discusses $699,740 in general fund spending on “preliminary activities” that would take place before the office hears its first case on January 1, 2023. this spending will be recovered by fiscal year 2025. This fiscal note does not detail the expense of establishing the office, nor funding a new full-time position at the agency. It is unclear if these costs would come from dedicated/general funds or if they are covered by administrative fees.
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