TO MODIFY THE PROCEDURES CONCERNING FINAL ADMINISTRATIVE DECISIONS IN CONTESTED CASES HEARD BY THE OFFICE OF ADMINISTRATIVE HEARINGS.
Amends GS 150B-36 to provide that an agency will be deemed to have adopted an administrative law judge’s recommended decision or order as the agency’s final decision if no party files exceptions to the judge’s recommended decision or order within 15 days. Further provides that if the agency does not adopt the administrative law judge’s recommended decision or order as its own, it must make a written final decision or order, and that the findings of fact and conclusions of law made by the administrative law judge are binding on the agency in making its final decision if they are supported by substantial evidence admissible under GS 150B-29(a), 150B-30, or 150B-31 in view of the entire record. Requires the agency to state specific reasons for not adopting the administrative law judge’s findings of fact, and states that any new findings of fact made by the agency must be supported by substantial evidence (was, a preponderance of the evidence). Amends GS 150B-51 to provide that when a court reviews a final decision in which an administrative law judge made a recommended decision that was not adopted by the applicable appointing authority, the court must determine whether the authority failed to adhere to findings of fact and conclusions of law by the administrative law judge that were supported by substantial evidence admissible under GS 150B-29(a), 150B-30, or 150B-31 in view of the entire record, and if so the court must reverse the appointing authority’s decision or remand the case to the authority to enter a decision in accordance with the evidence in the official record.
Amends GS 150B-44 to decrease the number of days agencies subject to Article 3 of Chapter 150B that are not boards or commissions have to make final decisions from 60 to 45, extendable by up to 30 days (was, 60 days) for good cause shown. Provides that agencies subject to Article 3 that are boards or commissions have 45 days from the day they receive the official record in a contested case (was, 60 days) or 45 days after their next regularly scheduled meeting (was, 60 days), whichever is longer, to make a final decision, extendable by up to 30 days for good cause shown (was, 60 days). Allows a person adversely affected by the failure of an agency subject to Article 3A of Chapter 150B to make a final decision within 75 days (was, 120 days) of the close of the contested case hearing to seek a court order compelling action by the agency or administrative law judge.
Effective when the act becomes law and applies to contested cases commenced on or after that date.
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