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Grant or Denial of License

The burden of proving eligibility for license is on the person seeking license from an administrative agency.  An administrative agency is vested with discretionary powers in granting the license and the applicant must produce sufficient evidence to satisfy the eligibility criteria.  For instance, in an action to compel board of medical examiners to permit a medical student to take a licensing exam, the burden was on the medical student to prove that he had complied with all the licensing requirements.[i]

Similarly, in  United Business Com. v. City of San Diego, 91 Cal. App. 3d 156, 165 (Cal. App. 4th Dist. 1979), the court held that the City’s on-premises sign inventory ordinance, which included the imposition of a license fee, was a constitutional and valid exercise of the city’s police power as a charter city under the California constitution.  The court held that the city derives its power to “make and enforce within its limits all local, police, sanitary and other ordinances and regulations not in conflict with general laws” from the constitutional provision.  The court further observed that the power thus delegated to municipalities is as broad as that of the Legislature itself, provided it is exercised within city limits and is not in conflict with the state’s general laws.  Thus, the court concluded that the reasonable regulation of signs and billboards constitutes a valid exercise of police power.

Courts will not lightly interpret a statute to confer unreviewable power on an administrative agency.  The ultimate analysis is always one of Congress’ intent.[ii]

Moreover, the authority to amend or modify a license is a corollary of an agency’s power to grant that license.  Law presumes that an agency have not only those powers expressly conferred by statute, but also those reasonably necessary to carry out its mission.  Thus, the agency is authorized to exercise its discretion in granting or denying a license application.[iii]

[i] Savelli v. Board of Medical Examiners, 229 Cal. App. 2d 124 (Cal. App. 1st Dist. 1964)

[ii] Southern R. Co. v. Seaboard Allied Milling Corp., 442 U.S. 444, 454 (U.S. 1979)

[iii] Boston Neighborhood Taxi Ass’n v. Department of Public Utilities, 410 Mass. 686 (Mass. 1991)

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