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SB 88: "An Act relating to the office of administrative hearings; relating to the types of proceedings handled by the office of administrative hearings; relating to the entities that may use the services of the office of administrative hearings; relating to the duties of the chief administrative law judge, including the power to hire professional staff; relating to the qualifications and powers of administrative law judges, including subpoena power; relating to the compensation of the chief administrative law judge; relating to complaints against administrative law judges and hearing officers; relating to reimbursement for costs incurred by the office of administrative hearings; relating to procedures for requesting and conducting proceedings of the office of administrative hearings; and providing for an effective date."

00                             SENATE BILL NO. 88                                                                          
01 "An Act relating to the office of administrative hearings; relating to the types of                                     
02 proceedings handled by the office of administrative hearings; relating to the entities that                             
03 may use the services of the office of administrative hearings; relating to the duties of the                            
04 chief administrative law judge, including the power to hire professional staff; relating to                             
05 the qualifications and powers of administrative law judges, including subpoena power;                                   
06 relating to the compensation of the chief administrative law judge; relating to                                         
07 complaints against administrative law judges and hearing officers; relating to                                          
08 reimbursement for costs incurred by the office of administrative hearings; relating to                                  
09 procedures for requesting and conducting proceedings of the office of administrative                                    
10 hearings; and providing for an effective date."                                                                         
11 BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF ALASKA:                                                                
12    * Section 1. AS 18.80.120(b) is amended to read:                                                                   
01 (b)  The commission shall request the chief administrative law judge to                                                 
02 appoint, under AS 44.64.020, an administrative law judge employed or retained by the                                    
03 office of administrative hearings to preside over a hearing conducted under this                                        
04 section. AS 44.64.040 and 44.64.050 [AS 44.64.040 - 44.64.055], 44.64.070 -                                         
05 44.64.200, and the procedures in AS 44.62.330 - 44.62.630 (Administrative Procedure                                     
06       Act) apply to the hearing except as otherwise provided in this chapter.                                           
07    * Sec. 2. AS 39.25.120(c)(20) is amended to read:                                                                  
08                 (20)  the chief administrative law judge, [AND] administrative law                                  
09       judges, and professional staff of the office of administrative hearings;                                      
10    * Sec. 3. AS 44.64.010(d) is amended to read:                                                                      
11 (d)  The chief administrative law judge shall receive a monthly salary that is                                          
12 equal to a step in [NOT LESS THAN STEP A NOR MORE THAN STEP F,] Range                                               
13 27 [,] of the salary schedule in AS 39.27.011(a) [FOR JUNEAU, ALASKA]. The                                              
14       chief administrative law judge is in the partially exempt service.                                                
15    * Sec. 4. AS 44.64.020 is amended to read:                                                                         
16 Sec. 44.64.020. Powers and duties of chief administrative law judge. (a)                                              
17       The chief administrative law judge shall                                                                        
18                 (1)  supervise the office;                                                                              
19                 (2)  employ administrative staff, who shall be in the classified service;                               
20 (3)  employ administrative law judges and professional staff, who                                                   
21       shall be in the partially exempt service;                                                                         
22 (4)  preside over administrative hearings and other proceedings                                                     
23 handled by the office or, based on [UPON] the qualifications and expertise of the                                   
24 administrative law judges, assign administrative law judges to preside over hearings                                    
25 or other proceedings handled by the office, and protect, support, and enhance the                                   
26       decisional independence of the administrative law judges;                                                         
27 (5)  establish and implement performance standards, including                                                           
28 provision for timeliness, and peer review programs for administrative law judges                                        
29       employed or retained by the office;                                                                               
30 (6)  make available and facilitate training and continuing education                                                    
31 programs and services in administrative procedure, administrative adjudication,                                         
01 substantive law, alternative [ALTERNATE] dispute resolution, and technical matters                                  
02       for administrative law judges and other administrative adjudicators;                                              
03 (7)  survey administrative hearing participants and use other methods to                                                
04 monitor the quality of administrative hearings held by the office and other [STATE]                                     
05 agencies, and submit to the governor and the legislature on January 31 of each year the                                 
06 results of the survey along with a report that includes a description of the activities of                              
07 the office and recommendations for statutory changes that may be needed in relation                                     
08       to the administrative hearings held by the office or other [STATE] agencies;                                      
09 (8)  review and comment on regulations proposed by [STATE]                                                              
10       agencies to govern procedures in administrative hearings;                                                         
11 (9)  enter into contracts as necessary to carry out the functions of the                                                
12       office;                                                                                                           
13 (10)  annually prepare and submit to the commissioner of                                                                
14 administration a budget for the office for the next fiscal year that must [SHALL]                                   
15 include and separately identify funding for training and continuing education; a copy                                   
16 of the budget submitted to the commissioner under this paragraph shall also be                                          
17 submitted to the finance committee [FINANCE COMMITTEE] of each house of the                                         
18       legislature;                                                                                                      
19 (11)  after consulting with affected agencies, adopt regulations under                                                  
20 AS 44.62 (Administrative Procedure Act) to carry out the duties of the office and                                       
21       implement this chapter;                                                                                           
22 (12)  receive and review applications from individuals seeking                                                          
23 appointments to the Workers' Compensation Appeals Commission and submit the                                             
24 names of individuals to the governor for appointment as provided in AS 23.30.007(d);                                    
25       and                                                                                                               
26 (13)  appoint a chair pro tempore for the Workers' Compensation                                                         
27       Appeals Commission as provided in AS 23.30.007(m).                                                                
28 (b)  In carrying out the responsibilities of the office, the chief administrative                                       
29       law judge shall seek to accomplish the following goals:                                                           
30 (1)  provide for the delivery of high quality adjudication and                                                      
31 alternative dispute resolution services in a timely, efficient, and cost-effective                                  
01       manner;                                                                                                           
02                 (2)  ensure respect for the privacy and dignity of the individuals whose                                
03       cases are being adjudicated and protect them from threats, intimidation, and                                      
04       harassment;                                                                                                       
05                 (3)  foster open and clearly explained agency decisions and improve                                     
06       public access to the process of administrative adjudication;                                                      
07                 (4)  guarantee protection of all parties' due process rights, increase the                              
08       public parties' perception of fairness in administrative adjudication, and foster                                 
09       acceptance of final administrative decisions by the public and affected parties;                                  
10 (5)  protect the integrity of the process of administrative adjudication                                                
11       and decisional independence of administrative adjudicators; and                                                   
12                 (6)  increase consistency in administrative procedures and decisions.                                   
13    * Sec. 5. AS 44.64.030(b) is amended to read:                                                                      
14 (b)  An agency or entity may request the office to conduct an administrative                                        
15 hearing, arbitration, or alternative dispute resolution [OTHER PROCEEDING] of                                   
16 the requesting [THAT] agency or entity or to conduct several administrative                                     
17 hearings, arbitrations, or alternative dispute resolutions [OTHER                                               
18 PROCEEDINGS] under statutes or ordinances not listed in (a) of this section. The                                    
19 office may provide the service after entering into a written agreement with the                                         
20 requesting agency or entity describing the services to be provided and procedures,                          
21 which must be consistent with applicable law, to be applied and providing for                                       
22 reimbursement by the requesting agency or entity to the office of the costs incurred                            
23       by the office in providing the services.                                                                          
24    * Sec. 6. AS 44.64.030(c) is amended to read:                                                                      
25 (c)  To the extent otherwise permitted by law, the agency or entity may                                             
26 delegate to the administrative law judge assigned to conduct the hearing on behalf of                                   
27 the agency or entity the authority to make a final agency or entity decision in the                             
28       matter. The final decision may be appealed to the superior court by any party.                                    
29    * Sec. 7. AS 44.64.040(a) is amended to read:                                                                      
30 (a)  An administrative law judge must be admitted to practice law in this state                                         
31 and must have been admitted to practice in this state for at least four [TWO] years                                 
01 before being employed or retained with the office, except that, if the duties of an                                 
02 administrative law judge who is employed or retained by the office will include                                     
03 conducting a proceeding under AS 43.05.405 - 43.05.499, the administrative law                                      
04 judge must be admitted to practice law in this state and must have been admitted                                    
05 to practice in this state or another state for four years before being employed or                                  
06 retained with the office. The chief administrative law judge shall establish additional                             
07 qualifications for administrative law judges employed or retained by the office and for                                 
08 those administrative law judges that may be assigned to particular types of cases. An                                   
09 administrative law judge is in the partially exempt service. Notwithstanding                                            
10 AS 39.25.120(b), full-time administrative law judges employed by the office are                                         
11       subject to the personnel rules adopted under AS 39.25.150(7), (15), and (16).                                     
12    * Sec. 8. AS 44.64.040(b) is amended to read:                                                                      
13 (b)  An administrative law judge employed or retained by the office may, in                                             
14 conducting an administrative hearing or other proceeding for an agency or entity,                               
15 exercise the powers authorized by law for exercise by that agency or entity in the                                  
16 performance of its duties in connection with the hearing or other proceeding. An                                    
17       administrative law judge may                                                                                      
18 (1)  engage in alternative dispute resolution under regulations adopted                                                 
19 by the chief administrative law judge that is in addition to any alternative                                        
20 [ALTERNATE] dispute resolution procedure used by an agency or entity before the                                     
21       case is referred to the office;                                                                                   
22 (2)  order a party, a party's attorney, or another authorized                                                           
23 representative of a party to pay reasonable expenses, including attorney fees, incurred                                 
24 by another party as a result of actions done in bad faith or as a result of tactics used                                
25       frivolously or solely intended to cause unnecessary delay;                                                        
26 (3)  perform other necessary and appropriate acts in the performance of                                                 
27       official duties.                                                                                                  
28    * Sec. 9. AS 44.64.040(c) is amended to read:                                                                      
29 (c)  An administrative law judge employed by the office must devote full time                                           
30 to the duties of the office unless serving [APPOINTED TO A POSITION THAT IS]                                        
31 less than full time [FULL-TIME]. An administrative law judge employed by the                                        
01       office may not perform duties inconsistent with the duties and responsibilities of an                             
02       administrative law judge.                                                                                         
03    * Sec. 10. AS 44.64.050(c) is amended to read:                                                                     
04 (c)  Except as provided in (e) of this section, the chief administrative law judge                                      
05 shall receive and consider all complaints against administrative law judges or hearing                                  
06 officers employed or retained by the office or another agency alleging violations of (a)                                
07 of this section or of the code of hearing officer conduct. The chief administrative law                                 
08 judge shall deliver the complaint to the attorney general when the chief administrative                                 
09       law judge determines that                                                                                         
10                 (1)  the complaint alleges a violation that occurred                                                
11 (A)  not more than three years before the complaint was                                                             
12            filed; or                                                                                                
13 (B)  in connection with an adjudication or other proceeding,                                                        
14 and the complaint was filed not more than two years after conclusion of                                             
15 the adjudication or other proceeding, including resolution of all appeals;                                          
16            and                                                                                                      
17                 (2)  the conduct alleged, if true, would constitute a violation of                                  
18                      (A) [(1)  SUBSECTION] (a) of this section; or                                                  
19 (B) [(2)]  the code and would warrant disciplinary action under                                                     
20            the regulations adopted under (b) of this section.                                                           
21    * Sec. 11. AS 44.64.060(a) is amended to read:                                                                     
22 (a)  The chief administrative law judge shall, by regulation, establish                                                 
23 procedures for administrative hearings conducted by the office. Each administrative                                     
24 hearing under the jurisdiction of the office or that has been transferred to the office by                              
25 an agency or entity shall be conducted in accordance with statutes or ordinances that                           
26 apply to that hearing, including, if applicable, AS 44.62 (Administrative Procedure                                     
27 Act). In case of conflict between this section and another applicable statute or                                    
28 ordinance establishing procedures for administrative hearings, the other statute or                             
29 ordinance prevails. However, except as otherwise provided in AS 44.64.030(b), to                                
30 the extent regulations adopted by an agency for the conduct of an administrative                                        
31 hearing conflict with regulations adopted by the chief administrative law judge under                                   
01 this subsection, the regulations adopted by the chief administrative law judge control                                  
02       to the maximum extent possible without conflicting with applicable statutes.                                      
03    * Sec. 12. AS 44.64.060(b) is amended to read:                                                                     
04 (b)  When an agency receives a request for a hearing that is subject to                                                 
05 AS 44.64.030, the agency shall, within 10 days and in writing, deny the request for                                     
06 reasons provided by law or grant the request and refer the case to the office with a                                
07 copy of the request for a hearing, the names, addresses, electronic mail addresses,                                 
08 and telephone numbers of all parties and their representatives, and the document                                    
09 containing the decision or other matter under review. The agency shall                                              
10 immediately give notice of the denial or referral to the requesters and the office. If the                              
11 request is denied, the denial may be appealed to the office or [SUPERIOR COURT]                                     
12 as provided by other law. If the request is granted, the agency shall, within 20 [15]                               
13 days after receiving the request, compile and transmit to the office a copy of the                                      
14 [REQUEST FOR A HEARING, THE NAMES, ADDRESSES, AND TELEPHONE                                                             
15 NUMBERS OF ALL PARTIES AND THEIR REPRESENTATIVES, AND THE                                                               
16 AGENCY'S DECISION, IF ANY, TOGETHER WITH THE] record relied on to                                                       
17 support the decision or other matter. Any information provided to the office that is                                
18 confidential by law shall be identified by the agency as confidential and shall be kept                                 
19       confidential by the office.                                                                                       
20    * Sec. 13. AS 44.64.060(d) is amended to read:                                                                     
21 (d)  An administrative law judge employed or retained by the office shall,                                              
22 within 120 days after the date the agency received the request for a hearing, prepare a                                 
23 proposed decision, unless another [TIME] period is provided by law or agreed to by                                      
24 the parties and the chief administrative law judge. With the approval of the chief                                  
25 administrative law judge, an administrative law judge may stay a proceeding to                                      
26 allow related criminal prosecutions or civil litigation to proceed first. The                                       
27 running of the 120-day deadline under this subsection is suspended during a stay                                    
28 [THE ADMINISTRATIVE LAW JUDGE SHALL IMMEDIATELY SUBMIT THE                                                              
29       PROPOSED DECISION TO THE AGENCY].                                                                                 
30    * Sec. 14. AS 44.64.060(e) is amended to read:                                                                     
31 (e)  A proposed decision in an administrative hearing must [SHALL] be in a                                          
01 form that may be adopted as the final decision by the agency with authority to make                                     
02 the final decision. The proposed decision is a public record, except as otherwise                                       
03 provided by statute. A copy of the proposed decision shall be served by the office on                                   
04 each party in the case or on the attorneys representing those parties in the hearing.                                   
05 Unless the office has established a shorter [TIME] period or, for good cause and with                               
06 the consent of all parties to the hearing, a longer period, or unless another statute                           
07 has established a different [TIME] period, within 30 days after the proposed decision                                   
08 is served, a party may file with the office [AGENCY] a proposal for action under (1) -                              
09 (5) of this subsection. The administrative law judge may permit a party to reply to                                 
10 a proposal for action and shall, within 15 days after the final date for submission                               
11 of proposals for action, transmit the proposed decision and any proposals for                                       
12 action and replies to the final decision maker or return the matter to the                                          
13 administrative law judge to prepare a revised proposed decision under (d) of this                                   
14 section. The agency with authority to make a final decision in the case retains the                             
15 [AGENCY] discretion in the final disposition of the case and shall, within 45 days                                      
16 after the date the office transmits to the agency the proposed decision or revised                                  
17 proposed decision [IS SERVED] or at the next regularly scheduled meeting that                                           
18 occurs at least 45 days after the office transmits to the agency the proposed decision                              
19 or the revised proposed decision [PROPOSED DECISION IS SERVED], do one or                                           
20       more of the following:                                                                                            
21                 (1)  adopt the proposed decision as the final agency decision;                                          
22 (2)  return the case to the administrative law judge to take additional                                                 
23 evidence or make additional findings or for other specific proceedings, in which case                                   
24 the administrative law judge shall complete the additional work and return the revised                                  
25 proposed decision to the agency within 45 days after the original decision was                                          
26 returned under this paragraph or within another period prescribed in the order                                      
27       returning the case to the administrative law judge;                                                           
28 (3)  exercise its discretion by revising the proposed enforcement action,                                               
29 determination of best interests, order, award, remedy, sanction, penalty, or other                                      
30       disposition of the case, and adopt the proposed decision as revised;                                              
31 (4)  in writing, reject, modify, or amend a factual finding in the                                                      
01       proposed decision by specifying the affected finding and identifying the testimony and                            
02       other evidence relied on by the agency for the rejection, modification, or amendment                              
03       of the finding, and issue a final agency decision;                                                                
04 (5)  in writing, reject, modify, or amend an interpretation or application                                              
05 in the proposed decision of a statute or regulation directly governing the agency's                                     
06 actions by specifying the reasons for the rejection, modification, or amendment, and                                    
07       issue a final agency decision.                                                                                    
08    * Sec. 15. AS 44.64.060(f) is amended to read:                                                                     
09            (f)  If a final decision is not issued timely in accordance with (e) of this section,                        
10 the administrative law judge's proposed decision or, if the proposed decision has                                   
11 been revised under (e) of this section, the administrative law judge's revised                                      
12       proposed decision, is the final agency decision.                                                              
13    * Sec. 16. AS 44.64.060 is amended by adding new subsections to read:                                              
14 (g)  Except as otherwise provided by statute, agency regulation, or an                                                  
15 ordinance in an administrative hearing subject to AS 44.64.060(a), an administrative                                    
16 law judge may, for good cause shown, issue a subpoena to compel the attendance and                                      
17       testimony of witnesses and the production of documents and records.                                               
18 (h)  After a final agency decision has been issued under (e) of this section, the                                       
19 maker of the final decision may reopen a proceeding for a reason provided in Rule                                       
20 60(b), Alaska Rules of Civil Procedure. This subsection does not supersede or modify                                    
21       authority to reopen a proceeding as otherwise provided by law.                                                    
22    * Sec. 17. AS 44.64.080(c) is amended to read:                                                                     
23 (c)  After an administrative hearing is referred by an agency to the office for                                         
24 hearing, the agency may not take further adjudicatory action in the case, except for                                
25 agency staff acting as a party litigant and the official or body with authority to                              
26 render a final decision taking action under AS 44.64.060(e) [OR TO RENDER A                                         
27 FINAL DECISION AS PROVIDED BY LAW]. This subsection does not otherwise                                                  
28       limit the agency's authority to take action affecting a party to the case.                                        
29    * Sec. 18. AS 44.64.200(1) is amended to read:                                                                     
30 (1)  "administrative hearing" means a quasi-judicial hearing before an                                                  
31 agency or entity; it does not include an informal conference or review held by an                                   
01       agency or entity before a [FINAL] decision is issued or a rate-making proceeding or                           
02       other nonadjudicative public hearing;                                                                             
03    * Sec. 19. AS 44.64.200 is amended by adding new paragraphs to read:                                               
04                 (6)  "entity" means a municipality, school district, or other                                           
05       governmental entity;                                                                                              
06                 (7)  "other proceeding" means an arbitration or alternative dispute                                     
07       resolution conducted under AS 44.64.030(b);                                                                       
08                 (8)  "school district" means a borough school district, a city school                                   
09       district, or a regional educational attendance area under AS 14.                                                  
10    * Sec. 20. AS 44.64.055 is repealed.                                                                               
11    * Sec. 21. The uncodified law of the State of Alaska is amended by adding a new section to                         
12 read:                                                                                                                   
13 APPLICABILITY. (a) The change in compensation made by AS 44.64.010(d), as                                               
14 amended by sec. 3 of this Act, applies only to an individual who is appointed on or after the                           
15 effective date of sec. 3 of this Act.                                                                                   
16 (b)  The four-year admission requirement in AS 44.64.040(a), as amended by sec. 7 of                                    
17 this Act, applies to an individual whose employment or retention as an administrative law                               
18 judge by the office of administrative hearings established under AS 44.64.010 begins on or                              
19 after the effective date of sec. 7 of this Act.                                                                         
20 (c)  AS 44.64.050(c), as amended by sec. 10 of this Act, applies to a complaint against                                 
21 an administrative law judge or hearing officer received on or after the effective date of sec. 10                       
22 of this Act.                                                                                                            
23       (d)  In this section,                                                                                             
24            (1)  "administrative law judge" has the meaning given in AS 44.64.200;                                       
25            (2)  "hearing officer" has the meaning given in AS 44.64.200.                                                
26    * Sec. 22. Section 10 of this Act takes effect July 1, 2020.