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Administrative Procedure Act – New Hampshire

The New Hampshire Administrative Procedure Act is found in Title LV, chapter 541-A of Revised Statutes of New Hampshire.  According to RSA 541-A:3, the procedure to be followed by an agency for adoption of rules are:

  • filing a notice of the proposed rule,
  • providing notice to occupational licensees,
  • filing the text of a proposed rule,
  • holding a public hearing and receiving comments,
  • filing a final proposal,
  • responding to the committee,
  • adopting and filing a final rule.

As per RSA 541-A:4, any interested person may petition an agency to adopt, amend, or repeal a rule.  Within thirty days of receiving the petition, the agency should determine whether to grant or deny the petition.  If the agency decides to deny the petition, the agency should notify the petitioner of its decision in writing and should state its reasons for denial.

The rulemaking proceeding commences when agency requests a fiscal impact statement from the legislative budget assistant.  According to RSA 541-A:5, an agency should provide the legislative budget assistant with adequate details of the intended rule making and supporting data to enable the legislative budget assistant to prepare a fiscal impact statement.

RSA 541-A:6 provides that an agency should give at least 20 days’ notice of its intent to hold a public hearing and should also give notice of the cut-off date for the submission of written testimony on any proposed adoption, amendment, re-adoption, re-adoption with amendment, or repeal of a rule.  The agency should send the notice to the director of legislative services, to all persons regulated by the proposed rules who hold occupational licenses issued by the agency and to all persons who have made timely request for advance notice of rulemaking proceedings.

As per RSA 541-A:9, the director of legislative services should publish a rulemaking register which should contain notices, executive orders, non-confidential opinions of the Attorney General and final objections.

RSA 541-A:10 requires an agency to file the text of the proposed rule with the director of legislative services at the same time when agency files the notice of rule making.  RSA 541-A:11 directs an agency to hold public hearing on all proposed rules.  The agency should afford all interested persons reasonable opportunity to testify and to submit data, views, or arguments in writing.

According to RSA 541-A:12, after considering public comment and any committee comments or comments by the office of the legislative services and any other relevant information, the agency official having rulemaking authority should establish the text of the final proposed rule.  After the text of the final proposed rule is established, the agency should file the final proposal with the Director of Legislative Services.  RSA 541-A:13 provides that within forty-five  days of the filing of a final proposal with the Director of Legislative Services, the Joint Legislative Committee on Administrative Rules may approve the rule.  If the rule is approved, the agency may adopt the rule.RSA 541-A:15 directs the Director of Legislative Services to compile, index, and publish all effective rules adopted by each agency.

According to RSA 541-A:18, if an agency finds that an imminent danger to the public health or safety requires adoption of a rule upon fewer than twenty days notice and states in writing its reasons for that finding, it may proceed to adopt an emergency rule.  The rule may be adopted without having been filed in proposed or final proposed form and may be adopted without notice and hearing. Such rule is effective for a period of not longer than 180 days.  RSA 541-A:19 provides that an agency may adopt as an interim rule any rule which amends an existing rule, repeals an existing rule, or creates a new rule.

As per RSA 541-A:31, an agency should commence an adjudicative proceeding if a matter has reached a stage at which it is considered a contested case or, if the matter is one for which a provision of law requires a hearing only upon the request of a party.  In a contested case, all parties should be afforded an opportunity for an adjudicative proceeding after reasonable notice.  Also, opportunity should be afforded to all parties to respond and present evidence and argument on all issues involved.  RSA 541-A:33 provides that the rules of evidence does not apply in adjudicative proceedings.  Any oral or documentary evidence may be received, but irrelevant, immaterial or unduly repetitious evidence may be excluded.

According to RSA 541-A:34, if majority of the officials of the agency who are to render the final decision in a contested case have not heard the case or read the record, the decision, should not be made until a proposal for decision is served upon the parties and an opportunity is afforded to each party adversely affected to file exceptions and present briefs and oral argument.  RSA 541-A:35 provides that a final decision or order in a contested case should be in writing or stated in the record.

Inside Administrative Procedure Act – New Hampshire