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Construction of Statutes Granting Powers

Statutes granting power to administrative agencies are strictly construed to permit only those powers given expressly or by necessary implication[i].  An agency or board created by the legislature has powers which are expressly or impliedly conferred on it by statute. Such statutes are generally strictly construed to prevent the exercise of power which is not expressly granted[ii].  In Mayland v. Flitner, 2001 WY 69 (Wyo. 2001), the court held that a statute will be strictly construed when determining the authority granted to an agency.  The court further held that any agency decision that falls outside the limits of the statutory guidelines expressed by the legislature is contrary to law and cannot stand. However in C. C. T. Equipment Co. v. Hertz Corp., 256 N.C. 277 (N.C. 1962), the court held that powers should be liberally construed to carry out the statutory responsibilities of the agency.  When the administrative agency is concerned with protecting the public health and welfare, the delegation of authority to the agency should be liberally construed[iii].

[i] In re Bridgeport, 128 B.R. 688, 701 (Bankr. D. Conn. 1991)

[ii] Browne v. Milwaukee Bd. of Sch. Dirs., 83 Wis. 2d 316, 333 (Wis. 1978)

[iii] Columbia v. Board of Health & Environmental Control, 292 S.C. 199 (S.C. 1987)

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