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First Substitute S.B. 191

Senator Wayne A. Harper proposes the following substitute bill:




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

             88          Section 5. Section 67-19e-105 is enacted to read:
             89          67-19e-105. Performance evaluation of administrative law judges.
             90          (1) Beginning January 1, 2014, the department shall prepare a performance evaluation
             91      for each administrative law judge contracted or employed by a state agency.
             92          (2) The performance evaluation for an administrative law judge shall include:
             93          (a) the results of the administrative law judge's performance evaluations conducted by
             94      the employing agency since the administrative law judge's last performance evaluation
             95      conducted by the department in accordance with the performance evaluation procedure for the
             96      agency;
             97          (b) information from the employing agency concerning the administrative law judge's
             98      compliance with minimum performance standards;
             99          (c) the administrative law judge's disciplinary record, if any;
             100          (d) the results of any performance surveys conducted since the administrative law
             101      judge's last performance review conducted by the department; and
             102          (e) any other factor that the department considers relevant to evaluating the
             103      administrative law judge's performance.
             104          (3) If an administrative law judge fails to meet the minimum performance standards the
             105      department shall provide a copy of the performance evaluation and survey to the employing
             106      agency.
             107          (4) The department shall conduct performance reviews every four years for
             108      administrative law judges contracted or employed by an agency.
             109          Section 6. Section 67-19e-106 is enacted to read:
             110          67-19e-106. Performance surveys.
             111          (1) For administrative law judges contracted or employed before July 1, 2013,
             112      performance surveys shall be conducted initially at either the two-, three-, or four-year mark
             113      beginning January 1, 2014. By July 1, 2018, all administrative law judges shall be on a
             114      four-year staggered cycle for performance evaluations.
             115          (2) The performance survey shall include as respondents a sample of each of the
             116      following groups as applicable:
             117          (a) attorneys who have appeared before the administrative law judge as counsel; and
             118          (b) staff who have worked with the administrative law judge.

             119          (3) The department may include an additional classification of respondents if the
             120      department:
             121          (a) considers a survey of that classification of respondents helpful to the department;
             122      and
             123          (b) establishes the additional classification of respondents by rule made in accordance
             124      with Title 63G, Chapter 3, Utah Administrative Rulemaking Act.
             125          (4) A survey response is anonymous, including any comment included with a survey
             126      response.
             127          (5) If the department provides any information to an administrative law judge or the
             128      commission, the information shall be provided in such a way as to protect the confidentiality of
             129      a survey respondent.
             130          (6) If the department establishes an additional classification, in accordance with
             131      Subsection (3), a survey shall be provided to a potential survey respondent within 30 days of
             132      the day on which the case in which the person appeared before the administrative law judge is
             133      closed, exclusive of any appeal. Staff and attorneys may be surveyed at any time during the
             134      survey period.
             135          (7) Survey categories may include questions concerning an administrative law judge's:
             136          (a) legal ability, including the following:
             137          (i) demonstration of understanding of the substantive law and any relevant rules of
             138      procedure and evidence;
             139          (ii) attentiveness to factual and legal issues before the administrative law judge;
             140          (iii) adherence to precedent and ability to clearly explain departures from precedent;
             141          (iv) grasp of the practical impact on the parties of the administrative law judge's
             142      rulings, including the effect of delay and increased litigation expense;
             143          (v) ability to write clear opinions and decisions; and
             144          (vi) ability to clearly explain the legal basis for opinions;
             145          (b) temperament and integrity, including the following:
             146          (i) demonstration of courtesy toward attorneys, staff, and others in the administrative
             147      law judge's department;
             148          (ii) maintenance of decorum in the courtroom;
             149          (iii) demonstration of judicial demeanor and personal attributes that promote public

             150      trust and confidence in the administrative law judge system;
             151          (iv) preparedness for oral argument;
             152          (v) avoidance of impropriety or the appearance of impropriety;
             153          (vi) display of fairness and impartiality toward all parties; and
             154          (vii) ability to clearly communicate, including the ability to explain the basis for
             155      written rulings, court procedures, and decisions; and
             156          (c) administrative performance, including the following:
             157          (i) management of workload;
             158          (ii) sharing proportionally the workload within the department; and
             159          (iii) issuance of opinions and orders without unnecessary delay.
             160          (8) If the department determines that a certain survey question or category of questions
             161      is not appropriate for a respondent group, the department may omit that question or category of
             162      questions from the survey provided to that respondent group.
             163          (9) (a) The survey shall allow respondents to indicate responses in a manner
             164      determined by the department, which shall be:
             165          (i) on a numerical scale from one to five; or
             166          (ii) in the affirmative or negative, with an option to indicate the respondent's inability
             167      to respond in the affirmative or negative.
             168          (b) To supplement the responses to questions on either a numerical scale or in the
             169      affirmative or negative, the department may allow respondents to provide written comments.
             170          (10) The department shall compile and make available to each administrative law
             171      judge that administrative law judge's survey results with each of the administrative law judge's
             172      performance evaluations.
             173          Section 7. Section 67-19e-107 is enacted to read:
             174          67-19e-107. Complaints.
             175          (1) A complaint against an administrative law judge shall be filed with the department.
             176          (2) Upon receipt of a complaint, the department shall conduct an investigation.
             177          (3) If the department's investigation determines that the complaint is frivolous or
             178      without merit, it may dismiss it without further action. A complaint that merely indicates
             179      disagreement, without further misconduct, with the administrative law judge's decision shall be
             180      treated as without merit.

             181          (4) The contents of all complaints and subsequent investigations are classified as
             182      protected under Title 63G, Chapter 2, Government Records Access and Management Act.
             183          Section 8. Section 67-19e-108 is enacted to read:
             184          67-19e-108. Administrative Law Judge Conduct Committee.
             185          (1) There is created the Administrative Law Judge Conduct Committee to investigate,
             186      review, and hear complaints filed against administrative law judges.
             187          (2) The committee shall be composed of:
             188          (a) the executive director of the department, or the executive director's designee, as
             189      chair; and
             190          (b) four executive directors, or their designees, of agencies that employ or contract with
             191      administrative law judges, to be selected by the executive director as needed.
             192          (3) The department shall provide staff for the committee as needed.
             193          Section 9. Section 67-19e-109 is enacted to read:
             194          67-19e-109. Procedure for review of complaint by conduct committee.
             195          (1) Upon a determination that a complaint requires further action, the executive
             196      director shall select four executive directors and convene the committee. The executive
             197      director of the agency that employs or contracts with the administrative law judge who is the
             198      subject of the complaint may not be a member of the committee.
             199          (2) The department shall provide a copy of the complaint, along with the results of the
             200      department's investigation, to the committee and the administrative law judge who is the
             201      subject of the complaint. If the committee directs, a copy of the complaint and investigation
             202      may also be provided to the attorney general.
             203          (3) The committee shall allow an administrative law judge who is the subject of a
             204      complaint to appear and speak at any committee meeting, except a closed meeting, during
             205      which the committee is deliberating the complaint.
             206          (4) The committee may meet in a closed meeting to discuss a complaint against an
             207      administrative law judge by complying with Title 52, Chapter 4, Open and Public Meetings
             208      Act.
             209          (5) After deliberation and discussion of the complaint and all information provided, the
             210      committee shall provide a report, with a recommendation, to the agency. The recommendation
             211      shall include:

             212          (a) a brief description of the complaint and results of the department's investigation;
             213          (b) the committee's findings; and
             214          (c) a recommendation from the committee whether action should be taken against the
             215      administrative law judge.
             216          (6) Actions recommended by the committee may include no action, disciplinary action,
             217      termination, or any other action an employer may take against an employee.
             218          (7) The record of an individual committee member's vote on recommended actions
             219      against an administrative law judge is a protected record under Title 63G, Chapter 2,
             220      Government Records Access and Management Act.

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