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Administrative Procedure Act – Alabama

Alabama Administrative Procedure Act is found in Title 41, Chapter 22 of Code of Alabama.   The purposes of the Act are

1)     To provide legislative oversight of powers and duties delegated to administrative agencies;

2)     To increase public accountability of administrative agencies;

3)     To simplify government by assuring a uniform minimum procedure to which all agencies will be held in the conduct of their most important functions;

4)     To increase public access to governmental information;

5)     increase public participation in the formulation of administrative rules;

6)     To increase the fairness of agencies in their conduct of contested case proceedings; and

7)     To simplify the process of judicial review of agency action as well as increase its ease and availability.

According to Code of Ala. § 41-22-4, each agency shall state the general course and method of operation, so that the public may obtain information.  The agency shall make available rules, written statements of policy, final orders decisions and opinions for public inspection and copying.  Rule, order or decision shall not be valid against any party until it has been made available for public inspection.

Code of Ala. § 41-22-5 requires an agency to give at least 35 days’ notice to the chairman of the legislative committee regarding adoption, amendment or repeal of any rule.  Agency shall afford all interested persons reasonable opportunity to submit data views, or arguments, orally or in writing.  If an agency finds that an immediate danger to the public health, safety, or welfare requires adoption of a rule upon fewer than 35 days’ notice and states in writing its reasons for that finding, it may proceed without prior notice or hearing or upon any abbreviated notice and hearing that it finds practicable, to adopt an emergency rule.  Such rule is effective for a period of not longer than 120 days and is not renewable.

Code of Ala. § 41-22-6 states that agency shall file in the office of the secretary of the agency, a certified copy of each rule adopted by it.  The secretary shall file in the office of the Legislative Reference Service, no later than 15 days after the filing with the secretary of the agency and within 90 days after completion of the notice a certified copy of each rule adopted by it.

Code of Ala. § 41-22-7 states that the secretary of the agency shall establish and maintain an official register of regulations known as “The (name of the agency) Administrative Code.”  Likewise, the Legislative Reference Service shall establish and maintain an official register of regulations known as the “Alabama Administrative Code.”  Both the registers shall be made available, upon request, at cost to all persons for copying and inspection.

According to Code of Ala. § 41-22-8, an agency may adopt, by reference in its rules and without publishing the adopted matter in full, all or any part of a code, standard or regulation which has been adopted by any other agency of Alabama or any agency of the United States or by a generally recognized organization or association approved by the joint committee administrative regulation review.

Code of Ala. § 41-22-11 requires an agency to issue a declaratory ruling with respect to the validity of the rule or with respect to the applicability to any person, on a petition of any person substantially affected by a rule.

In a contested case, the agency shall afford to all parties, opportunity for hearing after reasonable notice in writing.  If any official of the agency who is to participate in the final decision in a contested case has not heard the case or read the record and his vote would affect the final decision, the final decision shall not be made until a proposed order is prepared and an opportunity is afforded to each party adversely affected by the proposed order to file exceptions and present briefs and oral argument to the official not having heard the case or read the record.  The final order in a proceeding which affects substantial interests shall be in writing and should include findings of fact and conclusions of law separately stated, and it shall be rendered within 30 days.

Any party to a contested case who deems himself aggrieved by a final order and who desires to have the same modified or set aside may, within 15 days after entry of said order, file an application for rehearing.  Application for rehearing will lie only if the final order is in violation of constitutional or statutory provisions or agency rule, or the order is in excess of the statutory authority of the agency or made upon unlawful procedure.  A person who has exhausted all administrative remedies available within the agency, other than rehearing, and who is aggrieved by a final decision in a contested case is entitled to judicial review.  The aggrieved party may obtain a review of any final judgment of the circuit court by appeal to the appropriate court to which the appeal or review lies.

According to Code of Ala. § 41-22-22 there shall be a joint standing legislative committee known as the Joint Committee on Administrative Regulation Review, to review all agency rules.  The committee shall consist of the members of the Legislative Council, including any member of the Legislative Council temporarily serving in the place of a permanent member, and shall meet on the call of the chair. The chair may name subcommittees to meet and review agency rules and report to the full committee. A quorum of the committee shall be the same as a quorum for the Legislative Council.

Inside Administrative Procedure Act – Alabama