Administrative Procedure Act – Wisconsin

The Wisconsin Administrative Procedure Act is found in chapter 227 of Wisconsin Statutes.  According to Wis. Stat. § 227.10, every state administrative agency may make rules that is not in conflict with state laws, to govern enforcement and administration of a statute.  The rules made may not discriminate for or against any person by reason of sex, race, creed, color, sexual orientation, national origin or ancestry.

Wis. Stat. § 227.11 states that every state administrative agency may make rules interpreting the provisions of any statute enforced or administered by the agency.  Every agency may also prescribe forms and procedures in connection with any statute.  According to Wis. Stat. § 227.113, the rules made by an agency should reflect a balance between the mission and goals of the agency.

Wis. Stat. § 227.12 states that a municipality, or an association of a farm, labor, business or professional group, or any five or more persons having an interest in a rule may request an agency to make a rule.  Within a reasonable period of time after the receipt of request, an agency may either deny the petition in writing or proceed with the requested rule making.  According to Wis. Stat. § 227.13, an agency may use informal conferences to obtain the advice of interested persons with respect to rule making.  An agency also may appoint a committee of experts, interested persons or representatives of the public to advice with respect to rule making.

As per Wis. Stat. § 227.135, an agency should prepare a statement of the scope of any rule that it plans to make.  The statement should include objective of the rule, existing policies relevant to the rule, statutory authority for the rule, time and resources spend to develop the rule, entities that may be affected by the rule and comparison of any existing or proposed federal regulation.  The agency should send the statement of the scope of the proposed rule to the legislative reference bureau for publication in the register.  The agency should also send a copy of the statement to the secretary of administration.

As per Wis. Stat. § 227.14, an agency should prepare proposed rules in plain language and should adhere substantially to the form and style used by the legislative reference bureau in the preparation of bill drafts.  An agency may use the format of federal regulations in preparing a proposed rule for a state environmental regulatory program or a proposed rule based on the model food code published by the federal food and drug administration.  Each agency should, in cooperation with the department of administration, ensure the accuracy, integrity, objectivity, and consistency of the data that is used when preparing a proposed rule.

An agency should prepare a fiscal estimate for each proposed rule before it is submitted to the legislative council staff.  Also an agency should make available to the public free of cost a copy of any proposed rule.  However, an agency may withdraw a proposed rule at any time prior to filing with the legislative reference bureau by notifying the presiding officer of each house of the legislature and the legislative council staff of its intention not to promulgate the proposed rule.

According to Wis. Stat. § 227.137, an agency should prepare an economic impact report before submitting the proposed rule to the legislature for review.  An economic impact report should contain information on the effect of the proposed rule on specific businesses, business sectors, and the states economy.  Wis. Stat. § 227.138 states that the department of administration may review the proposed rule and issue a report.  The department of administration may also return the proposed rule to the agency for further consideration and revision with a written explanation for returning the proposed rule.

According to Wis. Stat. § 227.15, prior to a public hearing on a proposed rule an agency should submit the proposed rule to the legislative council staff for review.  Also, an agency should provide the legislative council staff with the proposed rules and other information to be included in the internet site maintained by the legislative council staff.  The legislative council staff should review the proposed rule, within 20 working days following receipt of a proposed rule.  The legislative council staff should work with and assist the appropriate committees of the legislature during the rule-making process.  Whenever the rule-making authority of an agency is eliminated or significantly changed the legislative council staff should notify the joint committee for review of administrative rules and the appropriate committees of each house of the legislature.

As per Wis. Stat. § 227.114, when an agency proposes or revises a rule that may have an effect on small businesses, the agency should consider suitable methods for reducing the impact of the rule on small businesses.  The agency should provide an opportunity for small businesses to participate in the rule-making process.  The agency should also notify the secretary of commerce about the proposed rule.  Wis. Stat. § 227.115 states that if a proposed rule directly or substantially affects the development, construction, cost, or availability of housing, the department of commerce should prepare a report on the proposed rule before it is submitted to the legislative council staff.

According to Wis. Stat. § 227.116, every proposed rule regarding requirement for a business to obtain a permit, submitted to the legislative council, should specify the time period within which the agency will review and make a determination on permit application.  If an agency fails to review and make a determination on a permit application within the time period specified in the rule, the agency should prepare a report stating the reason for not submitting the report and submit it to the department of commerce within 5 business days of the last day of the time period specified.

As per Wis. Stat. § 227.16, all rule making by an agency should be preceded by notice and public hearing.  Wis. Stat. § 227.17 states that an agency should send written notice at least 10 days prior to the date of hearing to the legislative reference bureau for publication in the register and also to each member of the legislature who has filed a written request for notice.  Wis. Stat. § 227.18 states that an agency should hold a public hearing at the date, time and place designated in the notice of hearing.

According to Wis. Stat. § 227.19, an agency should submit a notice in triplicate accompanied by a report to the chief clerk of each house of the legislature when a proposed rule is in final draft form.  The presiding officer of each house of the legislature should, within 10 working days following the day on which the notice and report are received, direct the appropriate chief clerk to refer them to one standing committee.  Upon receipt of notice that a proposed rule has been referred to a committee, the chairperson of the committee should notify, in writing, each committee member of the referral.  If a committee objects to a proposed rule, the committee should report the proposed rule and the objection to the chief clerk of the appropriate house within 5 working days after making the objection.  The chief clerk should refer the proposed rule and the objection to the joint committee for review of administrative rules within 5 working days after receiving the committee report.  When the joint committee for review of administrative rules objects to a proposed rule it should, within 30 days of the date of the objection, meet and take executive action regarding the introduction, in each house of the legislature, of a bill to support the objection.

According to Wis. Stat. § 227.20, an agency should file a certified copy of each rule it makes with the legislative reference bureau.  The legislative reference bureau endorses the date and the time of filing on each certified copy filed.  Filing a certified copy of a rule with the legislative reference bureau creates a presumption that the rule is duly promulgated by the agency, the rule is filed and made available for public inspection on the date and time endorsed on it, all of the rule-making procedures are complied with and the text of the certified copy of the rule is the text as promulgated by the agency.

Wis. Stat. § 227.21 states that all rules filed with the legislative reference bureau should be published in the Wisconsin administrative code and register.  As per Wis. Stat. § 227.22 a rule is effective on the first day of the month commencing from the date of publication.

As per Wis. Stat. § 227.24,  an agency may make emergency rule without complying with the notice, hearing and publication requirements, if preservation of the public peace, health, safety or welfare necessitates.  Such rule is effective for a period of not longer than 150 days.

According to Wis. Stat. § 227.44, in a contested case, all parties should be given an opportunity for hearing after reasonable notice.  Any person whose substantial interest is affected by the decision following the hearing should be admitted as a party.  Opportunity should be afforded to all parties to present evidence and to rebut or offer countervailing evidence.  As per Wis. Stat. § 227.45, in a contested case an agency or hearing examiner is not bound by common law or statutory rules of evidence.  The agency or hearing examiner should admit all testimony having reasonable probative value, but shall exclude immaterial, irrelevant or unduly repetitious testimony or evidence that is inadmissible.  Also, the agency or hearing examiner should give effect to the rules of privilege recognized by law.

As per Wis. Stat. § 227.47,  every proposed or final decision of an agency or hearing examiner following a hearing and every final decision of an agency should be in writing accompanied by findings of fact and conclusions of law.  According to Wis. Stat. § 227.52 administrative decisions which adversely affect the substantial interests of any person are subject to review.


Inside Administrative Procedure Act – Wisconsin