Senate Bill 1363 — Creation of a new Office of Administrative Hearings

Senate Bill 1363 — Creation of a new Office of Administrative Hearings

by
Wayne Hoffman
March 5, 2020

Bill description: SB 1363 would create a new Office of Administrative Hearings.

Rating: -3

Does it create, expand, or enlarge any agency, board, program, function, or activity of government? Conversely, does it eliminate or curtail the size or scope of government?

This bill would create a new Office of Administrative Hearings which would conduct hearings in contested cases that arise from agency actions. It would also create a new Chief Administrative Hearing Officer position and would create an advisory council to the Office of Administrative Hearings. In all, these additions are viewed as three separate legislative actions that add to the size of government.

(-3)

It is arguable that some existing agency functions — that of holding hearings in contested matters — would transfer to the new office, and therefore would be a reduction of agency power, scope, and function.

(+1)

Does it increase barriers to entry into the market? Examples include occupational licensure, the minimum wage, and restrictions on home businesses. Conversely, does it remove barriers to entry into the market?

This legislation would limit who could serve as the chief administrative hearing officer, including the imposition of a minimum age (30) and requiring that the office holder be a member of the state bar within a year of appointment, have a license to practice law or have held a judicial appointment for five continuous years preceding the appointment.

(-1)

Analyst's note: It is easy to understand what this legislation is attempting to do: create an “independent” agency that would resolve administrative rule enforcement disputes. However, this bill appears to be designed to create not just a minor office, but one with significant policy oversight, e.g., page 8 lines 37-46 which allow for the formation of “specialized subject matter divisions within the office of administrative hearings” and for the hiring of independent contractors. It is debatable whether government is capable of creating and maintaining “independent” oversight for the long haul. A better approach would be to reduce the number of regulations for which state government has oversight, and not expand the size of government to administer the appeals process. 

This rating was updated on 3/05 to reflect amendments made to the bill.

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