Agencies as State Not Local Entities

The State Administrative Procedure Act applies only to State entities.  It does not apply to local agencies.  For e.g., Rev. Code Wash. (ARCW) § 42.17.020 defines a Sate Agency to include every State office, department, division, bureau, board, commission, or other State agencies.  However, State agencies do not include local agencies that are not concerned with statewide programs or that are not part of a statewide system[i].

Courts in West Virginia have held that the Administrative Procedure Act was designed to regulate the administrative proceedings of only the State agencies.  See, Southwestern Community Action Council v. Huntington Human Relations Comm’n, 179 W. Va. 573, 575 (W. Va. 1988).  The provisions of State Administrative Procedure Act are applicable only to state agencies and not to local boards or commissions[ii].  In Lafave v. Atlanta, 258 Ga. 631, 632 (Ga. 1988), the court held that the State Administrative Procedure Act does not apply to proceedings of Board of Zoning Adjustment, which is created under local law.

Government entities established by municipalities or counties[iii], licensing boards appointed by mayor, commissions created by special statute[iv], local housing authorities[v], inter-county agencies created by special act[vi] are all local entities and not State agencies.

To determine whether an organization is agency or instrumentality of State government, its character, relations, and functions must be examined.  League General Ins. Co. v. Michigan Catastrophic Claims Ass’n, 435 Mich. 338, 345 (Mich. 1990).  The level of State control over the agency should be looked into.  In determining whether an entity is a State agency, the courts focus on whether the function and life of the particular agency is dependent on the State in its management and control, and whether, it depends solely and entirely upon the financial subsistence it receives from the State[vii].

[i] Riggins v. Hous. Auth. of Seattle, 87 Wn.2d 97, 100-101 (Wash. 1976)

[ii] In re Maple Tree Place, 156 Vt. 494, 497 (Vt. 1991)

[iii] Idaho Historic Pres. Council v. City Council of Boise, 134 Idaho 651 (Idaho 2000)

[iv] Saxon Coffee Shop, Inc. v. Boston Licensing Bd., 380 Mass. 919, 923 (Mass. 1980)

[v] Clark v. Alexander, 85 F.3d 146 (4th Cir. Va. 1996)

[vi] Rubinstein v. Sarasota County Public Hospital Bd., 498 So. 2d 1012 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 2d Dist. 1986)

[vii] Cohen v. Board of Trustees of University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, 240 N.J. Super. 188 (Ch.Div. 1989)


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