A description of the proposed changes are as follows:

1. TITLE 8:

California Code of Regulations
Chapter 3.5, Subchapter 1, Article 3, Section 417.1

Objection to Hearing Panel or Hearing Officer or Board Member

INITIAL STATEMENT OF REASONS


INFORMATIVE DIGEST OF PROPOSED ACTION/PLAIN ENGLISH OVERVIEW

This proposed rulemaking action contains numerous nonsubstantive, editorial, reformatting of subsections, and grammatical revisions. These nonsubstantive revisions are not all discussed in this Informative Digest. However, these proposed revisions are clearly indicated in the regulatory text in underline and strikeout format. In addition to these nonsubstantive revisions, the following actions are proposed:

Section 417.1. Objection to Hearing Panel or Hearing Officer or Board Member.

This section provides that any party to a variance may request a hearing before the Standards Board itself, as opposed to before a hearing panel, and may request the disqualification of a Board member or the hearing officer assigned to a particular variance. The proposed changes will clarify the procedures for making such requests, set time limitations on the submission of these requests, and revise the process for disqualifying a hearing officer.

Subsection (a).

The proposed changes to subsection (a) will require requests for a hearing before the Board to be submitted, in writing, as soon as possible and no later than 5 working days before a scheduled hearing. The proposed changes also include a statement indicating that failure to file a timely request is grounds for denying the request. In addition, the proposed change will clarify that the hearing will not begin until a decision is made on the request. These revisions will require parties who want a hearing before the Board to submit their request in writing and in a timely manner.

Subsection (b).

The proposed changes to subsection (b) will require parties wishing to disqualify a hearing panel member or the hearing officer to submit their request at least 5 working days in advance of a scheduled hearing. In the event the parties are not properly notified of the relevant assignments, the request can be made at the hearing, prior to the taking of evidence. The revisions further clarify that the hearing will not begin until a decision on the request is made. In addition, the revisions state that failure to file a request in a timely manner is grounds for denying the request.

Subsection (b) would be revised further to eliminate the need for the hearing officer to rule on requests to disqualify himself/herself. This responsibility will instead be placed on the Board. Currently, requests to disqualify the hearing officer are decided by the Standards Board itself if the Board itself hears the case with the hearing officer. In all other cases, the hearing officer decides the issue on his/her own. This change will impose no additional requirements on the regulated public.

DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE

None.