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S.B. 191 Enrolled





Chief Sponsor: Wayne A. Harper

House Sponsor: Derek E. Brown

             7      LONG TITLE
             8      General Description:
             9          This bill provides for complaints, performance standards, and recommendations
             10      regarding administrative law judges.
             11      Highlighted Provisions:
             12          This bill:
             13          .    defines terms;
             14          .    requires the Department of Human Resource Management to create a code of
             15      conduct for administrative law judges;
             16          .    imposes a penalty for destruction of evidence by an administrative law judge;
             17          .    provides for evaluation of administrative law judges by the Department of Human
             18      Resource Management on a four-year cycle, including:
             19              .    conducting a performance survey; and
             20              .    establishing minimum performance standards;
             21          .    addresses protected records related to performance evaluations and complaints
             22      regarding administrative law judges;
             23          .    provides a method for complaints against administrative law judges;
             24          .    creates an administrative law judge conduct committee within the Department of
             25      Human Resource Management;
             26          .    requires the department to investigate complaints against administrative law judges;
             27      and
             28          .    makes technical and conforming amendments.
             29      Money Appropriated in this Bill:

             30          None
             31      Other Special Clauses:
             32          None
             33      Utah Code Sections Affected:
             34      ENACTS:
             35          67-19e-101, Utah Code Annotated 1953
             36          67-19e-102, Utah Code Annotated 1953
             37          67-19e-103, Utah Code Annotated 1953
             38          67-19e-104, Utah Code Annotated 1953
             39          67-19e-105, Utah Code Annotated 1953
             40          67-19e-106, Utah Code Annotated 1953
             41          67-19e-107, Utah Code Annotated 1953
             42          67-19e-108, Utah Code Annotated 1953
             43          67-19e-109, Utah Code Annotated 1953
             45      Be it enacted by the Legislature of the state of Utah:
             46          Section 1. Section 67-19e-101 is enacted to read:

             48          67-19e-101. Title.
             49          This chapter is known as "Administrative Law Judges."
             50          Section 2. Section 67-19e-102 is enacted to read:
             51          67-19e-102. Definitions -- Application of chapter -- Exceptions.
             52          (1) In addition to the definitions found in Section 67-19-3 , the following definitions
             53      apply to this chapter.
             54          (a) "Administrative law judge" means an individual who is employed or contracted by
             55      a state agency that:
             56          (i) presides over or conducts formal administrative hearings on behalf of an agency;
             57          (ii) has the power to administer oaths, rule on the admissibility of evidence, take

             58      testimony, evaluate evidence, and make determinations of fact; and
             59          (iii) issues written orders, rulings, or final decisions on behalf of an agency.
             60          (b) "Administrative law judge" does not mean:
             61          (i) an individual who reviews an order or ruling of an administrative law judge; or
             62          (ii) the executive director of a state agency.
             63          (c) "Committee" means the Administrative Law Judge Conduct Committee created in
             64      Section 67-19e-108 .
             65          (2) This chapter applies to all agencies of the state except the:
             66          (a) Board of Pardons and Parole;
             67          (b) Department of Corrections; and
             68          (c) State Tax Commission.
             69          Section 3. Section 67-19e-103 is enacted to read:
             70          67-19e-103. Administrative law judges -- Standard of conduct.
             71          (1) All agency administrative law judges who conduct formal administrative hearings
             72      are subject to this chapter.
             73          (2) All administrative law judges are subject to the code of conduct promulgated by the
             74      department in accordance with Section 67-19e-104 .
             75          (3) An administrative law judge who tampers with or destroys evidence submitted to
             76      the administrative law judge is subject to the provisions of Section 76-8-510.5 . This section
             77      does not apply to documents destroyed in accordance with Title 63G, Chapter 2, Government
             78      Records Access and Management Act.
             79          Section 4. Section 67-19e-104 is enacted to read:
             80          67-19e-104. Rulemaking authority.
             81          The department shall make rules, in accordance with Title 63G, Chapter 3, Utah
             82      Administrative Rulemaking Act:
             83          (1) establishing minimum performance standards for all administrative law judges;
             84          (2) providing procedures for filing, addressing, and reviewing complaints against
             85      administrative law judges;

             86          (3) providing standards for complaints against administrative law judges; and
             87          (4) promulgating a code of conduct for all administrative law judges in all state
             88      agencies.
             89          Section 5. Section 67-19e-105 is enacted to read:
             90          67-19e-105. Performance evaluation of administrative law judges.
             91          (1) Beginning January 1, 2014, the department shall prepare a performance evaluation
             92      for each administrative law judge contracted or employed by a state agency.
             93          (2) The performance evaluation for an administrative law judge shall include:
             94          (a) the results of the administrative law judge's performance evaluations conducted by
             95      the employing agency since the administrative law judge's last performance evaluation
             96      conducted by the department in accordance with the performance evaluation procedure for the
             97      agency;
             98          (b) information from the employing agency concerning the administrative law judge's
             99      compliance with minimum performance standards;
             100          (c) the administrative law judge's disciplinary record, if any;
             101          (d) the results of any performance surveys conducted since the administrative law
             102      judge's last performance review conducted by the department; and
             103          (e) any other factor that the department considers relevant to evaluating the
             104      administrative law judge's performance.
             105          (3) If an administrative law judge fails to meet the minimum performance standards the
             106      department shall provide a copy of the performance evaluation and survey to the employing
             107      agency.
             108          (4) The department shall conduct performance reviews every four years for
             109      administrative law judges contracted or employed by an agency.
             110          Section 6. Section 67-19e-106 is enacted to read:
             111          67-19e-106. Performance surveys.
             112          (1) For administrative law judges contracted or employed before July 1, 2013,
             113      performance surveys shall be conducted initially at either the two-, three-, or four-year mark

             114      beginning January 1, 2014. By July 1, 2018, all administrative law judges shall be on a
             115      four-year staggered cycle for performance evaluations.
             116          (2) The performance survey shall include as respondents a sample of each of the
             117      following groups as applicable:
             118          (a) attorneys who have appeared before the administrative law judge as counsel; and
             119          (b) staff who have worked with the administrative law judge.
             120          (3) The department may include an additional classification of respondents if the
             121      department:
             122          (a) considers a survey of that classification of respondents helpful to the department;
             123      and
             124          (b) establishes the additional classification of respondents by rule made in accordance
             125      with Title 63G, Chapter 3, Utah Administrative Rulemaking Act.
             126          (4) A survey response is anonymous, including any comment included with a survey
             127      response.
             128          (5) If the department provides any information to an administrative law judge or the
             129      committee, the information shall be provided in such a way as to protect the confidentiality of a
             130      survey respondent.
             131          (6) If the department establishes an additional classification, in accordance with
             132      Subsection (3), a survey shall be provided to a potential survey respondent within 30 days of
             133      the day on which the case in which the person appeared before the administrative law judge is
             134      closed, exclusive of any appeal. Staff and attorneys may be surveyed at any time during the
             135      survey period.
             136          (7) Survey categories may include questions concerning an administrative law judge's:
             137          (a) legal ability, including the following:
             138          (i) demonstration of understanding of the substantive law and any relevant rules of
             139      procedure and evidence;
             140          (ii) attentiveness to factual and legal issues before the administrative law judge;
             141          (iii) adherence to precedent and ability to clearly explain departures from precedent;

             142          (iv) grasp of the practical impact on the parties of the administrative law judge's
             143      rulings, including the effect of delay and increased litigation expense;
             144          (v) ability to write clear opinions and decisions; and
             145          (vi) ability to clearly explain the legal basis for opinions;
             146          (b) temperament and integrity, including the following:
             147          (i) demonstration of courtesy toward attorneys, staff, and others in the administrative
             148      law judge's department;
             149          (ii) maintenance of decorum in the courtroom;
             150          (iii) demonstration of judicial demeanor and personal attributes that promote public
             151      trust and confidence in the administrative law judge system;
             152          (iv) preparedness for oral argument;
             153          (v) avoidance of impropriety or the appearance of impropriety;
             154          (vi) display of fairness and impartiality toward all parties; and
             155          (vii) ability to clearly communicate, including the ability to explain the basis for
             156      written rulings, court procedures, and decisions; and
             157          (c) administrative performance, including the following:
             158          (i) management of workload;
             159          (ii) sharing proportionally the workload within the department; and
             160          (iii) issuance of opinions and orders without unnecessary delay.
             161          (8) If the department determines that a certain survey question or category of questions
             162      is not appropriate for a respondent group, the department may omit that question or category of
             163      questions from the survey provided to that respondent group.
             164          (9) (a) The survey shall allow respondents to indicate responses in a manner
             165      determined by the department, which shall be:
             166          (i) on a numerical scale from one to five; or
             167          (ii) in the affirmative or negative, with an option to indicate the respondent's inability
             168      to respond in the affirmative or negative.
             169          (b) To supplement the responses to questions on either a numerical scale or in the

             170      affirmative or negative, the department may allow respondents to provide written comments.
             171          (10) The department shall compile and make available to each administrative law
             172      judge that administrative law judge's survey results with each of the administrative law judge's
             173      performance evaluations.
             174          Section 7. Section 67-19e-107 is enacted to read:
             175          67-19e-107. Complaints.
             176          (1) A complaint against an administrative law judge shall be filed with the department.
             177          (2) Upon receipt of a complaint, the department shall conduct an investigation.
             178          (3) If the department's investigation determines that the complaint is frivolous or
             179      without merit, it may dismiss it without further action. A complaint that merely indicates
             180      disagreement, without further misconduct, with the administrative law judge's decision shall be
             181      treated as without merit.
             182          (4) The contents of all complaints and subsequent investigations are classified as
             183      protected under Title 63G, Chapter 2, Government Records Access and Management Act.
             184          Section 8. Section 67-19e-108 is enacted to read:
             185          67-19e-108. Administrative Law Judge Conduct Committee.
             186          (1) There is created the Administrative Law Judge Conduct Committee to investigate,
             187      review, and hear complaints filed against administrative law judges.
             188          (2) The committee shall be composed of:
             189          (a) the executive director of the department, or the executive director's designee, as
             190      chair; and
             191          (b) four executive directors, or their designees, of agencies that employ or contract with
             192      administrative law judges, to be selected by the executive director as needed.
             193          (3) The department shall provide staff for the committee as needed.
             194          Section 9. Section 67-19e-109 is enacted to read:
             195          67-19e-109. Procedure for review of complaint by conduct committee.
             196          (1) Upon a determination that a complaint requires further action, the executive
             197      director shall select four executive directors or their designees and convene the committee.

             198      The executive director of the agency that employs or contracts with the administrative law
             199      judge who is the subject of the complaint may not be a member of the committee.
             200          (2) The department shall provide a copy of the complaint, along with the results of the
             201      department's investigation, to the committee and the administrative law judge who is the
             202      subject of the complaint. If the committee directs, a copy of the complaint and investigation
             203      may also be provided to the attorney general.
             204          (3) The committee shall allow an administrative law judge who is the subject of a
             205      complaint to appear and speak at any committee meeting, except a closed meeting, during
             206      which the committee is deliberating the complaint.
             207          (4) The committee may meet in a closed meeting to discuss a complaint against an
             208      administrative law judge by complying with Title 52, Chapter 4, Open and Public Meetings
             209      Act.
             210          (5) After deliberation and discussion of the complaint and all information provided, the
             211      committee shall provide a report, with a recommendation, to the agency. The recommendation
             212      shall include:
             213          (a) a brief description of the complaint and results of the department's investigation;
             214          (b) the committee's findings; and
             215          (c) a recommendation from the committee whether action should be taken against the
             216      administrative law judge.
             217          (6) Actions recommended by the committee may include no action, disciplinary action,
             218      termination, or any other action an employer may take against an employee.
             219          (7) The record of an individual committee member's vote on recommended actions
             220      against an administrative law judge is a protected record under Title 63G, Chapter 2,
             221      Government Records Access and Management Act.

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