Bill Summary for S 693 (2023-2024)

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Summary date: 

Apr 13 2023

Bill Information:

View NCGA Bill Details2023-2024 Session
Senate Bill 693 (Public) Filed Thursday, April 6, 2023
Intro. by Moffitt.

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Bill summary

Expands the definition of person aggrieved under the Administrative Procedures Act (APA) to add being affected by the adoption of a temporary or permanent rule as additional grounds for aggrievement under the rule. (Currently, just affected by administrative decision is grounds for aggrievement.)  Amends GS 150B-21.1 (APA procedure for adopting a temporary rule) and GS 150B-21.2 (APA procedure for adopting a permanent rule) to permit a person aggrieved by the rule to file a petition for a contested case within 30 days of the rule’s effective date or amendment. (Currently, the APA contested case provisions apply to agency decisions, not agency rulemaking.)

Places further limits on agency authority to adopt certain environmental rules in GS 150B-19.3 by also barring agencies authorized to enforce State and federal environmental laws from adopting a temporary or permanent rule for the protection of the environment's natural resources if a specific State statute or federal law or regulation does not exist pertaining to and regulating the same subject matter unless adoption of the rule is required by State statue, federal law, or federal regulation. 

Amends the APA’s procedure for amending a temporary rule as follows. Adds 30-day deadline for agency to supplement its statement of need upon a finding by the Rules Review Commission (Commission) that the statement is inadequate. Requires the agency to comply with Part I of Article 2 of the APA (general provisions pertaining to rules) in addition to GS 150B-21.9 (Commission review). Makes technical and organizational changes. Sets a 30-day deadline on an agency filing for a declaratory ruling when a rule is returned to the agency. Provides a process for the holder of a temporary permit to submit revised plans when the Commission returns a proposed permanent rule intended to replace a temporary rule. Bars the agency from proposing a temporary rule of substantially the same subject matter for a period of 24 months if the Commission objects to the rule unless adoption of the rule is required by law or there are changed conditions supporting the adoption of the rule which the agency must point to in a statement to the Commission. Prohibits agency from rulemaking on substantially the same subject matter for 24 months once its proposal for a permanent rule has been published in the NC register unless further rulemaking is required by law. Current law requires a temporary rule to expire on the earliest of a list of potential occurrences. The act adds to those occurrences to now include 12 months after the effective date of the temporary rule. Makes conforming and organizational changes.

Amends the APA procedure for adopting a permanent rule as follows. Requires the agency to comply with Article 2 of the APA (pertaining to rules) in addition to GS 150B-19.1 (requirements for agencies in the rulemaking process). Requires agency to hold hearing on rulemaking at least 15 but not more than 60 days after publishing notice of hearing (currently, just at least 15 days after publication requirement). Requires the Commission to return a rule to the agency if 12 months have elapsed without approval; allows an agency to propose a permanent rule with substantially the same subject matter following its return, but the new proposed rule must comply with the requirements for adopting a permanent rule and the standards and timetable for review by Commission before adopting the rule.

Amends APA provisions on the effective date of rules (GS 150B-21.3) to give persons up to seven days after the Commission approves the rule to object in writing (currently, just have until the following day). Deletes provisions authorizing the agency to adopt the rule as a temporary rule if 10 written objections are filed and the rule is subject to legislative disapproval. Changes the person the agency must notify if it intends for other related rules adopted along with a rule under objection to become effective from the Commission to the Codifier of Rules (Codifier). Makes conforming change.

Amends APA provisions on the fiscal and regulatory impact analysis of rules (GS 150B-21.4) to require an agency to issue a fiscal note on any rule that would impact a unit of local government (currently, just required to do so when it would affect the expenditures or revenue). Also requires a fiscal note if the agency proposed a temporary or permanent rule that regulates the same subject matter as an existing permanent or temporary rule and when the agency has general authority but the proposed rule seeks to establish more specific regulations than those already established and results in substantial economic impact. Makes technical change.

Requires Commission to object if it finds the temporary or proposed rule does not conform to its standards set forth in GS 150B-21.9. Expands scope of when Commission is allowed to review the entire rule when just proposed amendments are before it to include temporary rules as well as permanent rules. Sets 30-day deadline for an agency to file for a declaratory judgment when a permanent rule is returned to it by the Commission. Makes conforming changes to GS 150B-21.9. Deletes language creating a presumption of adoption upon the rule’s entry in NCAC. Amends the procedure pertaining to the return of a rule, to provide that a rule the Commission has objected to remains under review by the Commission until the agency satisfies the Commission's objection or submits a written response indicating that the agency has decided not to change the rule. Requires the Commission to return the rule to agency if the agency does not submit a revised rule to satisfy the Commission's objection within the specified time limit or submits a response that the agency has decided not to change the rule. Expands the powers of an administrative law judge under GS 150B-33 by allowing the judge to construe, implement, invalidate, or enforce any decision, or any agreement or settlement agreement, between a person aggrieved and an agency.

Retroactively effective December 31, 2021, and applies to temporary rules and permanent rules proposed or adopted on or after that date.

Sets forth provisions requiring the return of certain proposed temporary and permanent rules to the agency submitted to the Commission on or before the day immediately prior to the effective date of the act.