The Maryland Administrative Procedure Act (“Act”) is found in Title 10, Subtitle 1, 2 and 3 of the Maryland State Government Code Annotated. According to the Act a regulation is not effective unless it contains the citation of statutory authority for the regulation. The Act also provides that the promulgating unit must submit the proposed regulation to the Committee and the Department of Legislative Services, at least 15 days before the date a proposed regulation is submitted to the Maryland Register (“register”) for publication.
Md. State Government Code Ann. § 10-111.1 provides that an administrative agency cannot adopt a proposed regulation until the proposed regulation is submitted to the Committee for preliminary review and unless at least 45 days have passed after its first publication in the register. Before the expiry of the review period the Committee of Legislative Services (“committee”) by a majority vote can oppose the adoption of any proposed regulation. The factors considered by the agency while reviewing the proposed regulation are:
- If the proposed regulation is in conformity with the statutory authority of the promulgating agency; and
- If the proposed regulation reasonably complies with the legislative intent of the statute under which the regulation was promulgated.
If an agency desires to change the text of a proposed regulation and if any part of the new text differs substantively from the text previously published in the register, the agency cannot adopt the proposed regulation without proposing it anew and adopted in accordance with the requirements of the Act.
Md.State Government Code Ann. § 10-114 provides that after adopting a regulation, the agency must submit to the administrator a notice of adoption for publication in the register. Further according to Md. State Government Code Ann. § 10-116, an agency can withdraw a proposed regulation any time before its adoption. The failure to adopt a proposed regulation within 1 year after its last publication in the Register also constitutes withdrawal of regulation.
Md. State Government Code Ann. § 10-123 provides that any interested person can petition the agency for adoption of a regulation. Within 60 days after the receipt of the petition, the agency can either initiate the procedures for adoption of the regulation or can deny the petition after stating the reasons in writing.
According to Md. State Government Code Ann. § 10-125, any person can seek declaratory judgment on the validity of any regulation in the circuit court for the county where the petitioner resides or has a principal place of business. The court can determine the validity of the regulation, if it finds that the regulation or its threatened application interferes or threatened to interfere with or impairs with the legal rights and privileges of the petitioner.
Md. State Government Code Ann. § 10-208 provides that in a contested case an agency must give the parties a reasonable notice of hearing which includes:
- Statement of the date, time, place, and nature of the hearing;
- Statement saying parties’ right to call witnesses and submit documents or other evidence;
- Description of any applicable right to request subpoenas for witnesses and evidence and specify the costs associated with such a request;
- Statement that a copy of the hearing procedure is available on request and specify the costs associated with such a request;
- Statement of any right or restriction pertaining to representation;
- Statement that failure to appear for the scheduled hearing may result in an adverse action against the party; and
- Statement that, unless otherwise prohibited by law, the parties can agree to the evidence and waive their right to appear at the hearing.
If not prohibited by any other law an agency can dispose of a contested case by stipulation, settlement, consent order, default, withdrawal, summary disposition or dismissal.
According to Md. State Government Code Ann. § 10-221, an agency’s final decision or order adverse to a party in adjudication proceeding must be in writing or stated in the record. The final decision must include findings of fact, conclusions of law and the order. Parties and his/her attorney must be notified about the decision or order either personally or by mail.
Md. State Government Code Ann. § 10-222 provides that any person aggrieved by the final agency decision is entitled to judicial review by filing a petition in the circuit court for the county where any party resides or has a principal place of business. An agency is also entitled to judicial review of a decision if that agency was a party before the agency. Filing of a petition for judicial review will not stay the enforcement of the final decision of a contested case. In a proceeding for judicial review, the court can remand the case for further proceedings, affirm the decision or reverse or modify the decision if any substantial right of the petitioner is prejudiced.
Any party to a contested case can timely seek civil enforcement of an administrative order by filing a petition for civil enforcement in an appropriate circuit court for the county where any party resides or has a principal place of business. In an action for civil enforcement, the court can provide any of the following relief:
- declaratory relief;
- temporary or permanent injunctive relief;
- a writ of mandamus; or
- any other civil remedy provided by law.
Further, any party or an agency aggrieved by the final decision of the circuit court can appeal to the Court of Special Appeals.
According to Md. State Government Code Ann. § 10-226, if the licensee has made timely and sufficient application for renewal, then the license will not expire until the agency has made its final determination. Before suspending, revoking or withdrawing a license, the agency must give reasonable notice to the licensee of facts or conduct which justifies the intended action. Summary suspension of license by an agency is permitted when the agency finds that public health, safety and welfare requires an emergency action to be taken.
Any interested person can submit a petition to the agency for a declaratory ruling with respect to the manner in which the agency applies a regulation, order of the agency or a statute that the agency enforces to a person or property. An agency can issue a declaratory ruling and the ruling binds the petitioner and the agency regarding the facts specified in the petition. Declaratory ruling is also subject to review in a circuit court similar to the review of a contested case.