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Meaning of “Agency” under State Administrative Procedure Acts

In 1961, the Revised Model State Administrative Procedure Act was issued and it was revised again in 1981.  The 1981 revised model act was intended to apply to all state agencies and all proceedings which are not expressly exempted. Additionally, the revised model act provides that it creates procedural rights and imposes only procedural duties[i].

According to the 1981 revised model act, an agency means a board, commission, department, officer, or other administrative unit of the state.  This includes agency head, and some members of the agency head, agency employees or other persons directly or indirectly act on behalf of or under the agency head[ii].

However, agency does not include a political subdivision of the state or any of the administrative units of a political subdivision.  The 1981 revised model act also provides that an administrative unit otherwise qualifying as an agency must be treated as a separate agency even if the unit is located within or subordinate to another agency, to the extent it purports to exercise authority subject to any provision of the Act[iii].

In some states, an agency have statewide jurisdiction[iv].  Whereas, some other states define agency in terms of particular state programs.

[i] Model State Administrative Procedure Act (1981) § 1-103(b).

[ii] Model State Administrative Procedure Act (1981) § 1-102(1).

[iii] Id

[iv] City of Mankato v. Mahoney, 542 N.W.2d 689 (Minn. Ct. App. 1996)

Inside Meaning of “Agency” under State Administrative Procedure Acts