Administrative Law Handbook

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  • REV 10/13

    ADMINISTRATIVE LAW HANDBOOK 2014

  • P O S T O F F I C E B O X 1 2 5 4 8 , A U S T I N , T E X A S 7 8 7 1 1 - 2 5 4 8 T E L : ( 5 1 2 ) 4 6 3 - 2 1 0 0 W W W . T E X A S A T T O R N E Y G E N E R A L . G O V

    An Equal Employment Opportunity Employer Printed on Recycled Paper

    To State Agency and Local Government Officials, Administrators, Counsels and Staff: Public officers and agencies work hard to serve Texans. In support of the multiple duties required of state and local entities, my office has prepared the 2014 Administrative Law Handbook as a reference tool and guide to three important state statutes. As the 83rd Legislature has now drawn to a close, this 2014 edition provides legislative and judicial updates concerning the Administrative Procedure Act, the Texas Public Information Act and the Texas Open Meetings Act. The Administrative Procedure Act provides practice and procedure standards for the rules, rates and orders of state agencies that affect the lives of Texas residents in significant ways. The Public Information Act and Open Meetings Act are open government laws that apply to state and local governmental entities and contain important protections for the public. This Handbook is intended as an aid to understanding the basic protections and requirements of these laws. It is not intended as a substitute for legal advice, but it will explain the fundamental principles of each statute. More detailed guidance on the Public Information Act and Open Meetings Act is also prepared by my office, and these publications are available on the attorney generals website at www.texasattorneygeneral.gov. We are committed to giving state and local agencies the best possible legal advice and support, and I hope the 2014 Administrative Law Handbook will be a helpful resource to accomplish that goal. Please feel free to contact my office whenever you need legal assistance. Sincerely, Greg Abbott Attorney General of Texas

    http://www.texasattorneygeneral.gov/

  • 2014 Administrative Law Handbook Office of the Attorney General

    2014 Administrative Law Handbook Overview

    Overview ................................................................................................................................... 1 The Administrative Law Handbook .......................................................................................... 1 Laws Governing Actions of State Boards, Commissions and Agencies ................................. 1

    Enabling Statutes ................................................................................................................ 2 The Administrative Procedure Act ..................................................................................... 2 The Texas Open Meetings Act ........................................................................................... 3 The Texas Public Information Act ...................................................................................... 3

    Adjudication .............................................................................................................................. 4 Procedural Requirements Governing Contested Cases ............................................................. 4

    Initiating a Contested Case ................................................................................................. 4 Stale Charges ...................................................................................................................... 5 The Licensees Opportunity to Respond............................................................................. 5 Agreed Orders ..................................................................................................................... 6 Notice of Hearing ................................................................................................................ 6 The State Office of Administrative Hearings ..................................................................... 8 Discovery in Contested Cases ........................................................................................... 10 The Contested Case Hearing ............................................................................................. 12 Default Judgments ............................................................................................................ 12 Evidence 13 Ex Parte Communications ................................................................................................ 13 Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law ........................................................................ 14 Proposal for Decision ........................................................................................................ 14 Changing an ALJs Proposed Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law ........................ 15 Final Order ........................................................................................................................ 16 Motion for Rehearing and Judicial Review of Contested Cases ....................................... 16 Substantial Evidence Review Versus De Novo Review ................................................... 18 Figure 1: Complaint Form ............................................................................................... 20 Figure 2: Acknowledgement of Complaint Letter ........................................................... 21 Figure 3: Notification of Complaint ................................................................................ 22 Figure 4: Request to Third Party for Information ............................................................ 23 Figure 5: Informal Conference Procedures ...................................................................... 24 Figure 6: Offer of Informal Conference ........................................................................... 25 Figure 7: Allegations........................................................................................................ 26 Figure 8: Notification of No Action Decision ................................................................. 27 Figure 9: Proposed Agreed Order Cover Letter ............................................................... 28 Figure 10: Final Agreed Order ......................................................................................... 29 Figure 11: Proposed Voluntary Surrender of License Cover Letter ................................ 31 Figure 12: Affidavit Voluntary Surrender of License ................................................... 32 Figure 13: Final Order Revocation on Voluntary Surrender of License ...................... 33 Figure 14: Notice of Hearing ........................................................................................... 34 Figure 15: Notice of Complaint ....................................................................................... 35 Figure 16: Commission for Deposition............................................................................ 36

  • 2014 Administrative Law Handbook Office of the Attorney General

    Figure 17: Affidavit of Records Custodian ...................................................................... 37 Figure 18: Proposal for Decision ..................................................................................... 38 Figure 19: Final Order ..................................................................................................... 40 Figure 20: Receipt of Motion for Rehearing .................................................................... 41 Figure 21: Board Action on Motion for Rehearing ......................................................... 42 Figure 22: Affidavit Certifying Administrative Record .................................................. 43

    Judicial Enforcement Remedies .............................................................................................. 44 Responding to Violations of Agency Statutes, Rules and Orders ......................................... 44

    Legal Basis for Enforcement Actions by the Attorney General ....................................... 44 Figure 23: Cease and Desist Order .................................................................................. 46

    Rulemaking ............................................................................................................................. 47 Overview ................................................................................................................................. 47

    Sources of Rules ............................................................................................................... 48 Negotiated Rulemaking .................................................................................................... 49 Texas Register and Texas Administrative Code ............................................................... 50 Public Notice of Proposed Rules ...................................................................................... 51 Contents of the Notice of Proposed Rule .......................................................................... 52 Filing the Notice ............................................................................................................... 54 Comments on Proposed Rules .......................................................................................... 54 Responding to Comments ................................................................................................. 55 Agency Order Adopting a Rule ........................................................................................ 56 Internet Access to Rules.................................................................................................... 57 Emergency