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Offered January 16, 1996
A BILL to amend and reenact 9-6.14:4.1 and 9-6.14:14.1 of the Code of Virginia and to amend the Code of Virginia by adding in Article 2 of Chapter 4.3 of Title 23 a section numbered 23-38.44:4, relating to the Virginia Student Assistance Authorities.
Patron-- Griffith
Referred to Committee on Education

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of Virginia:

1. That 9-6.14:4.1 and 9-6.14:14.1 of the Code of Virginia are amended and reenacted and that the Code of Virginia is amended by adding a section numbered 23-38.44:4 as follows:

9-6.14:4.1. Exemptions and exclusions.

A. Although required to comply with 9-6.18 of the Virginia Register Act ( 9-6.15 et seq.), the following agencies are exempted from the provisions of this chapter, except to the extent that they are specifically made subject to 9-6.14:14.1, 9-6.14:21 and 9-6.14:22:

1. The General Assembly.

2. Courts, any agency of the Supreme Court, and any agency which by the Constitution is expressly granted any of the powers of a court of record.

3. The Department of Game and Inland Fisheries in promulgating regulations regarding the management of wildlife and for all case decisions rendered pursuant to any provisions of Chapters 2 ( 29.1-200 et seq.), 3 ( 29.1-300 et seq.), 4 ( 29.1-400 et seq.), 5 ( 29.1-500 et seq.), and 7 ( 29.1-700 et seq.) of Title 29.1.

4. The Virginia Housing Development Authority.

5. Municipal corporations, counties, and all local, regional or multijurisdictional authorities created under this Code, including those with federal authorities, except for those created under Chapter 27 ( 15.1-1228 et seq.) of Title 15.1.

6. Educational institutions operated by the Commonwealth provided that, with respect to 9-6.14:22, such educational institutions shall be exempt from the publication requirements only with respect to regulations which pertain to (i) their academic affairs; (ii) the selection, tenure, promotion and disciplining of faculty and employees; (iii) the selection of students; and (iv) rules of conduct and disciplining of students.

7. The Milk Commission in promulgating regulations regarding (i) producers' license and base, (ii) classification and allocation of milk, computation of sales and shrinkage, and (iii) class prices for producers' milk, time and method of payment, butterfat testing and differential.

8. The Virginia Resources Authority.

9. Agencies expressly exempted by any other provision of this Code.

10. The Virginia Voluntary Formulary Board in formulating recommendations regarding amendments to the Formulary pursuant to 32.1-81.

11. The Council on Information Management.

12. The Department of General Services in promulgating standards for the inspection of buildings for asbestos pursuant to 2.1-526.14.

13, 14. [Repealed.]

15. The State Council of Higher Education for Virginia, in developing, issuing, and revising guidelines pursuant to 23-9.6:2.

16. The Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services in adopting regulations pursuant to subsection B of 3.1-726.

17. The Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services and the Board of Agriculture and Consumer Services in promulgating regulations pursuant to subsections B and C of 3.1-106.4, subsection B of 3.1-126.12:1, 3.1-271.1, subsections B and C of 3.1-828.4, and subsection A of 3.1-884.21:1.

18. The Board of Medicine when specifying therapeutic pharmaceutical agents for the treatment of certain conditions of the human eye and its adnexa by certified optometrists pursuant to 54.1-2957.2.

19. The Board of Medicine, in consultation with the Board of Pharmacy, when promulgating amendments to the Physician's Assistant Formulary established pursuant to 54.1-2952.1.

20. The Boards of Medicine and Nursing in promulgating amendments to the Nurse Practitioner Formulary established pursuant to 54.1-2957.01.

21. The Virginia War Memorial Foundation.

22. The Virginia Medicaid Prior Authorization Advisory Committee in making recommendations to the Board of Medical Assistance Services regarding prior authorization for prescription drug coverage pursuant to Article 4 ( 32.1-331.12 et seq.) of Chapter 10 of Title 32.1.

23. The State Board of Education, in developing, issuing, and revising guidelines pursuant to 22.1-280.3.

24. The Virginia Student Assistance Authorities.

B. Agency action relating to the following subjects is exempted from the provisions of this chapter:

1. Money or damage claims against the Commonwealth or agencies thereof.

2. The award or denial of state contracts, as well as decisions regarding compliance therewith.

3. The location, design, specifications or construction of public buildings or other facilities.

4. Grants of state or federal funds or property.

5. The chartering of corporations.

6. Customary military, naval or police functions.

7. The selection, tenure, dismissal, direction or control of any officer or employee of an agency of the Commonwealth.

8. The conduct of elections or eligibility to vote.

9. Inmates of prisons or other such facilities or parolees therefrom.

10. The custody of persons in, or sought to be placed in, mental, penal or other state institutions as well as the treatment, supervision, or discharge of such persons.

11. Traffic signs, markers or control devices.

12. Instructions for application or renewal of a license, certificate, or registration required by law.

13. Content of, or rules for the conduct of, any examination required by law.

14. The administration of a pool or pools authorized by Article 7.1 ( 2.1-234.9:1 et seq.) of Chapter 14 of Title 2.1.

15. Any rules for the conduct of specific lottery games, so long as such rules are not inconsistent with duly adopted regulations of the State Lottery Board, and provided that such regulations are published and posted.

16. Orders condemning or closing any shellfish, finfish, or crustacea growing area and the shellfish, finfish or crustacea located thereon pursuant to Article 2 ( 28.2-803 et seq.) of Chapter 8, Title 28.2.

17. Any operating procedures for review of child deaths developed by the State Child Fatality Review Team pursuant to 32.1-283.1.

C. The following agency actions otherwise subject to this chapter and 9-6.18 of the Virginia Register Act are excluded from the operation of Article 2 ( 9-6.14:7.1 et seq.) of this chapter:

1. Agency orders or regulations fixing rates or prices.

2. Regulations which establish or prescribe agency organization, internal practice or procedures, including delegations of authority.

3. Regulations which consist only of changes in style or form or corrections of technical errors. Each promulgating agency shall review all references to sections of the Code of Virginia within their regulations each time a new supplement or replacement volume to the Code of Virginia is published to ensure the accuracy of each section or section subdivision identification listed.

4. Regulations which:

(a) Are necessary to conform to changes in Virginia statutory law or the appropriation act where no agency discretion is involved;

(b) Are required by order of any state or federal court of competent jurisdiction where no agency discretion is involved; or

(c) Are necessary to meet the requirements of federal law or regulations, provided such regulations do not differ materially from those required by federal law or regulation, and the Registrar has so determined in writing; notice of the proposed adoption of these regulations and the Registrar's above determination shall be published in the Virginia Register not less than thirty days prior to the effective date thereof.

5. Regulations which an agency finds are necessitated by an emergency situation. For the purposes of this subdivision, "emergency situation" means (i) a situation involving an imminent threat to public health or safety or (ii) a situation in which Virginia statutory law or the appropriation act or federal law or federal regulation requires that a regulation shall be effective in 280 days or less from enactment of the law or the appropriation act or the effective date of the federal regulation, and the regulation is not exempt under the provisions of subdivision C 4 of this section. In such cases, the agency shall state in writing the nature of the emergency and of the necessity for such action and may adopt such regulations with the prior approval of the Governor. Such regulations shall be limited to no more than twelve months in duration. During the twelve-month period, an agency may issue additional emergency regulations as needed addressing the subject matter of the initial emergency regulation, but any such additional emergency regulations shall not be effective beyond the twelve-month period from the effective date of the initial emergency regulation. If the agency wishes to continue regulating the subject matter governed by the emergency regulation beyond the twelve-month limitation, a regulation to replace the emergency regulation shall be promulgated in accordance with Article 2 ( 9-6.14:7.1 et seq.) of this chapter. The Notice of Intended Regulatory Action to promulgate a replacement regulation shall be published within sixty days of the effective date of the emergency regulation, and the proposed replacement regulation shall be published within 180 days after the effective date of the emergency regulation.

6. [Repealed.]

7. Preliminary program permit fees of the Department of Environmental Quality assessed pursuant to subsection C of 10.1-1322.2.

8. Regulations of the Pesticide Control Board adopted pursuant to subsection B of 3.1-249.51 or clause (v) or (vi) of subsection C of 3.1-249.53 after having been considered at two or more Board meetings and one public hearing.

Whenever regulations are adopted under this subsection C, the agency shall state as part thereof that it will receive, consider and respond to petitions by any interested person at any time with respect to reconsideration or revision. The effective date of regulations adopted under this subsection shall be in accordance with the provisions of 9-6.14:9.3, except in the case of emergency regulations, which shall become effective as provided in subsection A of 9-6.14:9.

D. The following agency actions otherwise subject to this chapter are excluded from the operation of Article 3 ( 9-6.14:11 et seq.) of this chapter:

1. The assessment of taxes or penalties under the tax laws.

2. The award or denial of claims for workers' compensation.

3. The grant or denial of public assistance.

4. Temporary injunctive or summary orders authorized by law.

5. The determination of claims for unemployment compensation or special unemployment.

6. The award or denial of individual student loans by the Virginia Education Loan Authority.

7. The determination of applications for guaranty of individual student loans or the determination of default claims by the State Education Assistance Authority.

E. The Marine Resources Commission, otherwise subject to this chapter and 9-6.18 of the Virginia Register Act, is excluded from the operation of subsection C of this section and of Article 2 ( 9-6.14:7.1 et seq.) of this chapter; however, the authorization for any general permit or guidelines for activity undertaken pursuant to Title 62.1 by the Marine Resources Commission shall be in accordance with the provisions of this chapter.

F. A regulation for which an exemption is claimed under this section and which is placed before a board or commission for consideration shall be provided at least two days in advance of the board or commission meeting to members of the public that request a copy of that regulation. A copy of that regulation shall be made available to the public attending such meeting.

G. The Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission shall conduct a review periodically of exemptions and exclusions authorized by this section. The purpose of this review shall be to assess whether there are any exemptions or exclusions which should be discontinued or modified.

H. Minor changes to regulations being published in the Virginia Administrative Code under the Virginia Register Act, Chapter 1.2 ( 9-6.15 et seq.) of this title, made by the Virginia Code Commission pursuant to 9-77.10:1 shall be exempt from the provisions of this chapter.

9-6.14:14.1. Hearing officers.

A. In all hearings conducted in accordance with 9-6.14:12, the hearing shall be presided over by a hearing officer selected from a list prepared by the Executive Secretary of the Supreme Court and maintained in the Office of the Executive Secretary of the Supreme Court. Parties to proceedings conducted pursuant to 9-6.14:11 may agree at the outset of the proceeding to have a hearing officer preside at the proceeding, such agreement to be revoked only by mutual consent. The Executive Secretary shall have the power to promulgate rules necessary for the administration of the hearing officer system.

All hearing officers shall meet the following minimum standards:

1. Active membership in good standing in the Virginia State Bar;

2. Active practice of law for at least five years; and

3. Completion of a course of training approved by the Executive Secretary of the Supreme Court. In order to comply with the demonstrated requirements of the agency requesting a hearing officer, the Executive Secretary may require additional training before a hearing officer will be assigned to a proceeding before that agency.

These requirements must be met prior to being included on the list of hearing officers. All attorneys on the list as of July 1, 1986, shall satisfy these requirements by January 1, 1987, to remain on the list.

B. On request from the head of an agency, the Executive Secretary will name a hearing officer from the list, selected on a rotation system administered by the Executive Secretary. Lists reflecting geographic preference and specialized training or knowledge shall be maintained by the Executive Secretary if an agency demonstrates the need.

C. A hearing officer shall voluntarily disqualify himself and withdraw from any case in which he cannot accord a fair and impartial hearing or consideration, or when required by the applicable rules governing the practice of law in the Commonwealth. Any party may request the disqualification of a hearing officer by filing an affidavit, prior to the taking of evidence at a hearing, stating with particularity the grounds upon which it is claimed that a fair and impartial hearing cannot be accorded, or the applicable rule of practice requiring disqualification.

The issue shall be determined not less than ten days prior to the hearing by the Executive Secretary of the Supreme Court.

D. Any hearing officer empowered by the agency to provide a recommendation or conclusion in a case decision matter shall render that recommendation or conclusion within ninety days from the date of the case decision proceeding or from a later date agreed to by the named party and the agency. If the hearing officer does not render a decision within ninety days, then the named party to the case decision may provide written notice to the hearing officer and the Executive Secretary of the Supreme Court that a decision is due. If no decision is made within thirty days from receipt by the hearing officer of the notice, then the Executive Secretary of the Supreme Court shall remove the hearing officer from the hearing officer list and report the hearing officer to the Virginia State Bar for possible disciplinary action, unless good cause is shown for the delay.

E. The Executive Secretary shall remove hearing officers from the list, upon a showing of cause after notice in writing and a hearing. When there is a failure by a hearing officer to render a decision as required by subsection D, the burden shall be on the hearing officer to show good cause for the delay. Decisions to remove a hearing officer may be reviewed by a request to the Executive Secretary for reconsideration, followed by judicial review in accordance with the Administrative Process Act ( 9-6.14:1 et seq.).

F. This section shall not apply to hearings conducted by (i) any commission or board where all of the members, or a quorum, are present; (ii) the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, the Virginia Workers' Compensation Commission, the State Corporation Commission, the Virginia Employment Commission, the State Education Assistance Authority Virginia Student Assistance Authorities, or the Department of Motor Vehicles under Title 46.2 ( 46.2-100 et seq.), 58.1-2409, or Chapter 27 ( 58.1-2700 et seq.) of Title 58.1; or (iii) any panel of a health regulatory board convened pursuant to 54.1-2400. All employees hired after July 1, 1986, pursuant to 65.2-201 and 65.2-203 (formerly 65.1-11 and 65.1-12) by the Virginia Workers' Compensation Commission to conduct hearings pursuant to its basic laws shall meet the minimum qualifications set forth in subsection A of this section. Agency employees who are not licensed to practice law in this Commonwealth, and are presiding as hearing officers in proceedings pursuant to (ii) above shall participate in periodic training courses.

G. Notwithstanding the exemptions of subsection A of 9-6.14:4.1, this article shall apply to hearing officers conducting hearings of the kind described in 9-6.14:12 for the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, the Virginia Housing Development Authority, the Milk Commission and the Virginia Resources Authority pursuant to their basic laws.

23-38.44:4. Exemption from Administrative Process Act. The Authorities shall be exempt from provisions of the Administrative Process Act ( 9-6.14:1 et seq.) as provided in 9-6.14:4.1.