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1976 South Carolina Code of Laws
Unannotated
Updated through the end of the 2009 Session


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The South Carolina Legislative Council is offering access to the unannotated South Carolina Code of Laws on the Internet as a service to the public. The unannotated South Carolina Code on the General Assembly's website is now current through the 2009 session. The unannotated South Carolina Code, consisting only of Code text and numbering, may be copied from this website at the reader's expense and effort without need for permission.

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Please note that the Legislative Council is not able to respond to individual inquiries regarding research or the features, format, or use of this website. However, you may notify Legislative Printing, Information and Technology Systems at LPITS@scstatehouse.gov regarding any apparent errors or omissions in content of Code sections on this website, in which case LPITS will relay the information to appropriate staff members of the South Carolina Legislative Council for investigation.



Title 1 - Administration of the Government

CHAPTER 23.

STATE AGENCY RULE MAKING AND ADJUDICATION OF CONTESTED CASES

ARTICLE 1.

STATE REGISTER AND CODE OF REGULATIONS

SECTION 1-23-10. Definitions.

As used in this article:

(1) "Agency" or "State agency" means each state board, commission, department, executive department or officer, other than the legislature, the courts, the South Carolina Tobacco Community Development Board, or the Tobacco Settlement Revenue Management Authority, authorized by law to make regulations or to determine contested cases;

(2) "Document" means a regulation, notice or similar instrument issued or promulgated pursuant to law by a state agency;

(3) "Person" means any individual, partnership, corporation, association, governmental subdivision or public or private organization of any character other than an agency;

(4) "Regulation" means each agency statement of general public applicability that implements or prescribes law or policy or practice requirements of any agency. Policy or guidance issued by an agency other than in a regulation does not have the force or effect of law. The term "regulation" includes general licensing criteria and conditions and the amendment or repeal of a prior regulation, but does not include descriptions of agency procedures applicable only to agency personnel; opinions of the Attorney General; decisions or orders in rate making, price fixing, or licensing matters; awards of money to individuals; policy statements or rules of local school boards; regulations of the National Guard; decisions, orders, or rules of the Board of Probation, Parole, and Pardon Services; orders of the supervisory or administrative agency of a penal, mental, or medical institution, in respect to the institutional supervision, custody, control, care, or treatment of inmates, prisoners, or patients; decisions of the governing board of a university, college, technical college, school, or other educational institution with regard to curriculum, qualifications for admission, dismissal and readmission, fees and charges for students, conferring degrees and diplomas, employment tenure and promotion of faculty and disciplinary proceedings; decisions of the Human Affairs Commission relating to firms or individuals; advisory opinions of agencies; and other agency actions relating only to specified individuals.

(5) "Promulgation" means final agency action to enact a regulation after compliance with procedures prescribed in this article.

(6) "Division" means the Division of Research and Statistical Services in the State Budget and Control Board.

(7) "Substantial economic impact" means a financial impact upon:

(a) commercial enterprises;

(b) retail businesses;

(c) service businesses;

(d) industry;

(e) consumers of a product or service;

(f) taxpayers; or

(g) small businesses as defined in Section 1-23-270.

SECTION 1-23-20. Custody, printing and distribution of documents charged to Legislative Council; establishment of State Register.

The Legislative Council is charged with the custody, printing and distribution of the documents required or authorized to be published in this article and with the responsibility for incorporating them into a State Register. Such Register shall include proposed as well as finally adopted documents required to be filed with the Council; provided, however, that publication of a synopsis of the contents of proposed regulations meets the requirements of this section. Additions to the State Register shall be published by the Legislative Council at least once every thirty days.

SECTION 1-23-30. Filing of documents with Legislative Council; public inspection; distribution.

The original and either two additional originals or two certified copies of each document authorized or required to be published in the State Register by this article shall be filed with the Legislative Council by the agency by which it is promulgated. Filing may be accomplished at all times when the Council office is open for official business.

The Council shall note upon each document filed the date and hour of filing and shall as soon as practicable publish such document in the State Register. Copies of all documents filed shall be available at the Council office for public inspection during office hours.

The Council shall transmit to the Clerk of Court of each county a copy of the State Register and all additions thereto when published. Clerks of Court shall maintain their copies of the Register in current form and provide for public inspection thereof. The Council shall transmit one original or certified copy of each document filed with the Council to the Department of Archives and History which shall be made available for public inspection in the office of the department.

SECTION 1-23-40. Documents required to be filed and published in State Register.

There shall be filed with the Legislative Council and published in the State Register:

(1) All regulations promulgated or proposed to be promulgated by state agencies which have general public applicability and legal effect, including all of those which include penalty provisions. Provided, however, that the text of regulations as finally promulgated by an agency shall not be published in the State Register until such regulations have been approved by the General Assembly in accordance with Section 1-23-120.

(2) Any other documents, upon agency request in writing. Comments and news items of any nature shall not be published in the Register.

SECTION 1-23-50. Legislative Council to establish procedures.

The Legislative Council shall establish procedures for carrying out the provisions of this article relating to the State Register and the form and filing of regulations. These procedures may provide among other things:

(1) The manner of certification of copies required to be filed under Section 1-23-40;

(2) The manner and form in which the documents or regulations shall be printed, reprinted, compiled, indexed, bound and distributed, including the compilation of the State Register ;

(3) The number of copies of the documents, regulations or compilations thereof, which shall be printed and compiled, the number which shall be distributed without charge to members of the General Assembly, officers and employees of the State or state agencies for official use and the number which shall be available for distribution to the public;

(4) The prices to be charged for individual copies of documents or regulations and subscriptions to the compilations and reprints and bound volumes of them.

SECTION 1-23-60. Effect of filing and of publication of documents and regulations; rebuttable presumption of compliance; judicial notice of contents.

A document or regulation required by this article to be filed with the Legislative Council shall not be valid against a person who has not had actual knowledge of it until the document or regulation has been filed with the office of the Legislative Council, printed in the State Register and made available for public inspection as provided by this article. Unless otherwise specifically provided by statute, filing and publication of a document or regulation in the State Register as required or authorized by this article is sufficient to give notice of the contents of the document or regulation to a person subject to or affected by it. The publication of a document filed in the office of the Legislative Council creates a rebuttable presumption:

(1) That it was duly issued, prescribed or promulgated subject to further action required under this article;

(2) That it was filed and made available for public inspection at the day and hour stated in the printed notation thereon required under Section 1-23-30;

(3) That the copy on file in the Legislative Council is a true copy of the original;

The contents of filed documents shall be judicially noticed and, without prejudice to any other mode of citation, may be cited by volume and page number or the numerical designation assigned to it by the Legislative Council.

SECTION 1-23-70. Duty of Attorney General.

The Attorney General shall be responsible for the interpretation of this article and for the compliance by agencies required to file documents with the Legislative Council under the provisions of this article and shall upon request advise such agencies of necessary procedures to insure compliance therewith.

SECTION 1-23-80. Costs incurred and revenues collected by Legislative Council.

The cost of printing, reprinting, wrapping, binding and distributing the documents, regulations or compilations thereof, including the State Register, and other expenses incurred by the Legislative Council in carrying out the duties placed upon it by this article shall be funded by the appropriations to the council in the annual state general appropriations act. All revenue derived from the sale of the documents and regulations shall be deposited in the general fund of the State.

SECTION 1-23-90. Complete codifications of documents; Code of State Regulations designated.

(a) The Legislative Council may provide for, from time to time as it considers necessary, the preparation and publication of complete codifications of the documents of each agency having general applicability and legal effect, issued or promulgated by the agency which are relied upon by the agency as authority for, or are invoked or used by it in the discharge of, its activities or functions.

(b) A codification published under item (a) of this section shall be designated as the "Code of State Regulations". The Legislative Council may regulate the binding of the printed codifications into separate books with a view to practical usefulness and economical manufacture. Each book shall contain an explanation of its coverage and other aids to users that the Legislative Council may require. A general index to the entire Code of State Regulations may be separately printed and bound.

(c) The Legislative Council shall regulate the supplementation and republication of the printed codifications with a view to keeping the Code of State Regulations as current as practicable.

(d) The authority granted in this section is supplemental to and not in conflict with the establishment of the State Register as provided for in other provisions of this article.

SECTION 1-23-100. Exemptions for Executive Orders, proclamations or documents issued by Governor's Office; treatment of some Executive Orders for information purposes.

This article shall not apply to Executive Orders, proclamations or documents issued by the Governor's Office. However, Governor's Executive Orders, having general applicability and legal effect shall be transmitted by the Secretary of State to the Legislative Council to be published in a separate section of the State Register for information purposes only. Such orders shall not be subject to General Assembly approval.

SECTION 1-23-110. Procedures for publication of notice of proposed promulgation of regulations; public participation; contest of regulation for procedural defects.

(A) Before the promulgation, amendment, or repeal of a regulation, an agency shall:

(1) give notice of a drafting period by publication of a notice in the State Register. The notice must include:

(a) the address to which interested persons may submit written comments during the initial drafting period before the regulations are submitted as proposed;

(b) a synopsis of what the agency plans to draft;

(c) the agency's statutory authority for promulgating the regulation;

(2) submit to the division, no later than the date the notice required in item (3) is published in the State Register, a preliminary assessment report prepared in accordance with Section 1-23-115 on regulations having a substantial economic impact;

(3) give notice of a public hearing at which the agency will receive data, views, or arguments, orally and in writing, from interested persons on proposed regulations by publication of a notice in the State Register if requested by twenty-five persons, by a governmental subdivision or agency, or by an association having not less than twenty-five members. The notice must include:

(a) the address to which written comments must be sent and the time period of not less than thirty days for submitting these comments;

(b) the date, time, and place of the public hearing which must not be held sooner than thirty days from the date the notice is published in the State Register;

(c) a narrative preamble and the text of the proposed regulation. The preamble shall include a section-by-section discussion of the proposed regulation and a justification for any provision not required to maintain compliance with federal law including, but not limited to, grant programs;

(d) the statutory authority for its promulgation;

(e) a preliminary fiscal impact statement prepared by the agency reflecting estimates of costs to be incurred by the State and its political subdivisions in complying with the proposed regulation. A preliminary fiscal impact statement is not required for those regulations which are not subject to General Assembly review under Section 1-23-120;

(f) a summary of the preliminary assessment report submitted by the agency to the division and notice that copies of the preliminary report are available from the agency. The agency may charge a reasonable fee to cover the costs associated with this distribution requirement. A regulation that does not require an assessment report because it does not have a substantial economic impact, must include a statement to that effect. A regulation exempt from filing an assessment report pursuant to Section 1-23-115(E) must include an explanation of the exemption;

(g) statement of the need and reasonableness of the regulation as determined by the agency based on an analysis of the factors listed in Section 1-23-115(C)(1) through (11). At no time is an agency required to include items (4) through (8) in the reasonableness and need determination. However, comments related to items (4) through (8) received by the agency during the public comment periods must be made part of the official record of the proposed regulations.

(h) the location where a person may obtain from the agency a copy of the detailed statement of rationale as required by this item. For new regulations and significant amendments to existing regulations, an agency shall prepare and make available to the public upon request a detailed statement of rationale which shall state the basis for the regulation, including the scientific or technical basis, if any, and shall identify any studies, reports, policies, or statements of professional judgment or administrative need relied upon in developing the regulation. This subitem does not apply to regulations which are not subject to General Assembly review under Section 1-23-120.

(B) Notices required by this section must be mailed by the promulgating agency to all persons who have made timely requests of the agency for advance notice of proposed promulgation of regulations.

(C)(1) The agency shall consider fully all written and oral submissions respecting the proposed regulation.

(2) Following the public hearing and consideration of all submissions, an agency must not submit a regulation to the General Assembly for review if the regulation contains a substantive change in the content of regulation as proposed pursuant to subsection (A)(3) and the substantive change was not raised, considered, or discussed by public comment received pursuant to this section. The agency shall refile such a regulation for publication in the State Register as a proposed regulation pursuant to subsection (A)(3).

(D) A proceeding to contest a regulation on the ground of noncompliance with the procedural requirements of this section must be commenced within one year from the effective date of the regulation.

SECTION 1-23-111. Regulation process; public hearings; report of presiding official; options upon unfavorable determination.

(A) When a public hearing is held pursuant to this article involving the promulgation of regulations by a department for which the governing authority is a single director, it must be conducted by an administrative law judge assigned by the chief judge. When a public hearing is held pursuant to this article involving the promulgation of regulations by a department for which the governing authority is a board or commission, it must be conducted by the board or commission, with the chairman presiding. The administrative law judge or chairman, as the presiding official, shall ensure that all persons involved in the public hearing on the regulation are treated fairly and impartially. The agency shall submit into the record the jurisdictional documents, including the statement of need and reasonableness as determined by the agency based on an analysis of the factors listed in Section 1-23-115(C)(1) through (11), except items (4) through (8), and any written exhibits in support of the proposed regulation. The agency may also submit oral evidences. Interested persons may present written or oral evidence. The presiding official shall allow questioning of agency representatives or witnesses, or of interested persons making oral statements, in order to explain the purpose or intended operation of the proposed regulation, or a suggested modification, or for other purposes if material to the evaluation or formulation of the proposed regulation. The presiding official may limit repetitive or immaterial statements or questions. At the request of the presiding official or the agency, a transcript of the hearing must be prepared.

(B) After allowing all written material to be submitted and recorded in the record of the public hearing no later than five working days after the hearing ends, unless the presiding official orders an extension for not more than twenty days, the presiding official shall issue a written report which shall include findings as to the need and reasonableness of the proposed regulation based on an analysis of the factors listed in Section 1-23-115(C)(1) through (11), except items (4) through (8), and other factors as the presiding official identifies and may include suggested modifications to the proposed regulations in the case of a finding of lack of need or reasonableness.

(C) If the presiding official determines that the need for or reasonableness of the proposed regulation has not been established, the agency shall elect to:

(a) modify the proposed regulation by including the suggested modifications of the presiding official;

(b) not modify the proposed regulation in accordance with the presiding official's suggested modifications in which case the agency shall submit to the General Assembly, along with the promulgated regulation submitted for legislative review, a copy of the presiding official's written report; or

(c) terminate the promulgation process for the proposed regulation by publication of a notice in the State Register and the termination is effective upon publication of the notice.

SECTION 1-23-115. Regulations requiring assessment reports; report contents; exceptions; preliminary assessment reports.

(A) Upon written request by two members of the General Assembly, made before submission of a promulgated regulation to the General Assembly for legislative review, a regulation that has a substantial economic impact must have an assessment report prepared pursuant to this section and in accordance with the procedures contained in this article. In addition to any other method as may be provided by the General Assembly, the legislative committee to which the promulgated regulation has been referred, by majority vote, may send a written notification to the promulgating agency informing the agency that the committee cannot approve the promulgated regulation unless an assessment report is prepared and provided to the committee. The written notification tolls the running of the one hundred-twenty-day legislative review period, and the period does not begin to run again until an assessment report prepared in accordance with this article is submitted to the committee. Upon receipt of the assessment report, additional days must be added to the days remaining in the one hundred-twenty-day review period, if less than twenty days, to equal twenty days. A copy of the assessment report must be provided to each member of the committee.

(B) A state agency must submit to the State Budget and Control Board, Division of Research and Statistical Services, a preliminary assessment report on regulations which have a substantial economic impact. Upon receiving this report the division may require additional information from the promulgating agency, other state agencies, or other sources. A state agency shall cooperate and provide information to the division on requests made pursuant to this section. The division shall prepare and publish a final assessment report within sixty days after the public hearing held pursuant to Section 1-23-110. The division shall forward the final assessment report and a summary of the final report to the promulgating agency.

(C) The preliminary and final assessment reports required by this section must disclose the effects of the proposed regulation on the public health and environmental welfare of the community and State and the effects of the economic activities arising out of the proposed regulation. Both the preliminary and final reports required by this section may include:

(1) a description of the regulation, the purpose of the regulation, the legal authority for the regulation, and the plan for implementing the regulation;

(2) a determination of the need for and reasonableness of the regulation as determined by the agency based on an analysis of the factors listed in this subsection and the expected benefit of the regulation;

(3) a determination of the costs and benefits associated with the regulation and an explanation of why the regulation is considered to be the most cost-effective, efficient, and feasible means for allocating public and private resources and for achieving the stated purpose;

(4) the effect of the regulation on competition;

(5) the effect of the regulation on the cost of living and doing business in the geographical area in which the regulation would be implemented;

(6) the effect of the regulation on employment in the geographical area in which the regulation would be implemented;

(7) the source of revenue to be used for implementing and enforcing the regulation;

(8) a conclusion on the short-term and long-term economic impact upon all persons substantially affected by the regulation, including an analysis containing a description of which persons will bear the costs of the regulation and which persons will benefit directly and indirectly from the regulation;

(9) the uncertainties associated with the estimation of particular benefits and burdens and the difficulties involved in the comparison of qualitatively and quantitatively dissimilar benefits and burdens. A determination of the need for the regulation shall consider qualitative and quantitative benefits and burdens;

(10) the effect of the regulation on the environment and public health;

(11) the detrimental effect on the environment and public health if the regulation is not implemented. An assessment report must not consider benefits or burdens on out-of-state political bodies or businesses. The assessment of benefits and burdens which cannot be precisely quantified may be expressed in qualitative terms. This subsection must not be interpreted to require numerically precise cost-benefit analysis. At no time is an agency required to include items (4) through (8) in a preliminary assessment report or statement of the need and reasonableness; however, these items may be included in the final assessment report prepared by the division.

(D) If information required to be included in the assessment report materially changes at any time before the regulation is approved or disapproved by the General Assembly, the agency must submit the corrected information to the division which must forward a revised assessment report to the Legislative Council for submission to the committees to which the regulation was referred during General Assembly review.

(E) An assessment report is not required on:

(1) regulations specifically exempt from General Assembly review by Section 1-23-120; however, if any portion of a regulation promulgated to maintain compliance with federal law is more stringent than federal law, then that portion is not exempt from this section;

(2) emergency regulations filed in accordance with Section 1-23-130; however, before an emergency regulation may be refiled pursuant to Section 1-23-130, an assessment report must be prepared in accordance with this section;

(3) regulations which control the hunting or taking of wildlife including fish or setting times, methods, or conditions under which wildlife may be taken, hunted, or caught by the public, or opening public lands for hunting and fishing.

SECTION 1-23-120. Approval of regulations; submission to Legislative Council for submission to General Assembly; contents, requirements and procedures.

(A) All regulations except those specifically exempted pursuant to subsection (H) must be filed with Legislative Council for submission to the General Assembly for review in accordance with this article; however, a regulation must not be filed with Legislative Council for submission to the General Assembly more than one year after publication of the drafting notice initiating the regulation pursuant to Section 1-23-110, except those regulations requiring a final assessment report as provided in Sections 1-23-270 and 1-23-280.

(B) To initiate the process of review, the agency shall file with the Legislative Council for submission to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives a document containing:

(1) a copy of the regulations promulgated;

(2) in the case of regulations proposing to amend an existing regulation or any clearly identifiable subdivision or portion of a regulation, the full text of the existing regulation or the text of the identifiable portion of the regulation; text that is proposed to be deleted must be stricken through, and text that is proposed to be added must be underlined;

(3) a request for review;

(4) a brief synopsis of the regulations submitted which explains the content and any changes in existing regulations resulting from the submitted regulations;

(5) a copy of the final assessment report and the summary of the final report prepared by the division pursuant to Section 1-23-115. A regulation that does not require an assessment report because the regulation does not have a substantial economic impact must include a statement to that effect. A regulation exempt from filing an assessment report pursuant to Section 1-23-115(E) must include an explanation of the exemption;

(6) a copy of the fiscal impact statement prepared by the agency as required by Section 1-23-110;

(7) a detailed statement of rationale which states the basis for the regulation, including the scientific or technical basis, if any, and identifies any studies, reports, policies, or statements of professional judgment or administrative need relied upon in developing the regulation;

(8) a copy of the economic impact statement, as provided in Section 1-23-270(C)(1)(a); and

(9) a copy of the regulatory flexibility analysis, as provided in Section 1-23-270(C)(1)(b).

(C) Upon receipt of the regulation, the President and Speaker shall refer the regulation for review to the standing committees of the Senate and House which are most concerned with the function of the promulgating agency. A copy of the regulation or a synopsis of the regulation must be given to each member of the committee, and Legislative Council shall notify all members of the General Assembly when regulations are submitted for review either through electronic means or by addition of this information to the website maintained by Legislative Printing Information and Technology Services, or both. The committees to which regulations are referred have one hundred twenty days from the date regulations are submitted to the General Assembly to consider and take action on these regulations. However, if a regulation is referred to a committee and no action occurs in that committee on the regulation within sixty calendar days of receipt of the regulation, the regulation must be placed on the agenda of the full committee beginning with the next scheduled full committee meeting.

(D) If a joint resolution to approve a regulation is not enacted within one hundred twenty days after the regulation is submitted to the General Assembly or if a joint resolution to disapprove a regulation has not been introduced by a standing committee to which the regulation was referred for review, the regulation is effective upon publication in the State Register. Upon introduction of the first joint resolution disapproving a regulation by a standing committee to which the regulation was referred for review, the one-hundred-twenty-day period for automatic approval is tolled. A regulation may not be filed under the emergency provisions of Section 1-23-130 if a joint resolution to disapprove the regulation has been introduced by a standing committee to which the regulation was referred. Upon a negative vote by either the Senate or House of Representatives on the resolution disapproving the regulation and the notification in writing of the negative vote to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President of the Senate by the Clerk of the House in which the negative vote occurred, the remainder of the period begins to run. If the remainder of the period is less than ninety days, additional days must be added to the remainder to equal ninety days. The introduction of a joint resolution by the committee of either house does not prevent the introduction of a joint resolution by the committee of the other house to either approve or disapprove the regulations concerned. A joint resolution approving or disapproving a regulation must include:

(1) the synopsis of the regulation as required by subsection (B)(4);

(2) the summary of the final assessment report prepared by the division pursuant to Section 1-23-115 or, as required by subsection (B)(5), the statement or explanation that an assessment report is not required or is exempt.

(E) The one-hundred-twenty-day period of review begins on the date the regulation is filed with the President and Speaker. Sine die adjournment of the General Assembly tolls the running of the period of review, and the remainder of the period begins to run upon the next convening of the General Assembly excluding special sessions called by the Governor.

(F) Any member of the General Assembly may introduce a joint resolution approving or disapproving a regulation thirty days following the date the regulations concerned are referred to a standing committee for review and no committee joint resolution approving or disapproving the regulations has been introduced and the regulations concerned have not been withdrawn by the promulgating agency pursuant to Section 1-23-125, but the introduction does not toll the one-hundred-twenty-day period of automatic approval.

(G) A regulation is deemed withdrawn if it has not become effective, as provided in this article, by the date of publication of the next State Register published after the end of the two-year session in which the regulation was submitted to the President and Speaker for review. Other provisions of this article notwithstanding, a regulation deemed withdrawn pursuant to this subsection may be resubmitted by the agency for legislative review during the next legislative session without repeating the requirements of Section 1-23-110, 1-23-111, or 1-23-115 if the resubmitted regulation contains no substantive changes for the previously submitted version.

(H) General Assembly review is not required for regulations promulgated:

(1) to maintain compliance with federal law including, but not limited to, grant programs; however, the synopsis of the regulation required to be submitted by subsection (B)(4) must include citations to federal law, if any, mandating the promulgation of or changes in the regulation justifying this exemption;

(2) by the state Board of Financial Institutions in order to authorize state-chartered banks, state-chartered savings and loan associations, and state-chartered credit unions to engage in activities that are authorized pursuant to Section 34-1-110;

(3) by the South Carolina Department of Revenue to adopt regulations, revenue rulings, revenue procedures, and technical advice memoranda of the Internal Revenue Service so as to maintain conformity with the Internal Revenue Code as defined in Section 12-6-40;

(4) as emergency regulations under Section 1-23-130.

(I) For purposes of this section, only those calendar days occurring during a session of the General Assembly, excluding special sessions, are included in computing the days elapsed.

(J) Each state agency, which promulgates regulations or to which the responsibility for administering regulations has been transferred, shall by July 1, 1997, and every five years thereafter, conduct a formal review of all regulations which it has promulgated or for which it has been transferred the responsibility of administering, except that those regulations described in subsection (H) are not subject to this review. Upon completion of the review, the agency shall submit to the Code Commissioner a report which identifies those regulations:

(1) for which the agency intends to begin the process of repeal in accordance with this article;

(2) for which the agency intends to begin the process of amendment in accordance with this article; and

(3) which do not require repeal or amendment.

Nothing in this subsection may be construed to prevent an agency from repealing or amending a regulation in accordance with this article before or after it is identified in the report to the Code Commissioner.

SECTION 1-23-125. Approval, disapproval and modification of regulations.

(A) The legislative committee to which a regulation is submitted is not authorized to amend a particular regulation and then introduce a joint resolution approving the regulation as amended; however, this provision does not prevent the introduction of a resolution disapproving one or more of a group of regulations submitted to the committee and approving others submitted at the same time or deleting a clearly separable portion of a single regulation and approving the balance of the regulation in the committee resolution.

(B) If a majority of a committee determines that it cannot approve a regulation in the form submitted, it shall notify the promulgating agency in writing along with its recommendations as to changes that would be necessary to obtain committee approval. The agency may:

(1) withdraw the regulation from the General Assembly and resubmit it with the recommended changes to the Speaker and the Lieutenant Governor, but any regulation not resubmitted within thirty days is considered permanently withdrawn;

(2) withdraw the regulation permanently;

(3) take no action and abide by whatever action is taken or not taken by the General Assembly on the regulation concerned.

(C) The notification tolls the one-hundred-twenty-day period for automatic approval, and when an agency withdraws regulations from the General Assembly prior to the time a committee resolution to approve or disapprove the regulation has been introduced, the remainder of the period begins to run only on the date the regulations are resubmitted to the General Assembly. Upon resubmission of the regulations, additional days must be added to the days remaining in the review period for automatic approval, if less than twenty days, to equal twenty days, and a copy of the amended regulation must be given to each member of the committee. If an agency decides to take no action pursuant to subsection (B)(3), it shall notify the committee in writing and the remainder of the period begins to run only upon this notification.

(D) This section, as it applies to approval, disapproval, or modification of regulations, does not apply to joint resolutions introduced by other than the committees to which regulations are initially referred by the Lieutenant Governor or the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

(E) A regulation submitted to the General Assembly for review may be withdrawn by the agency for any reason. The regulation may be resubmitted by the agency for legislative review during the legislative session without repeating the requirements of Section 1-23-110, 1-23-111, or 1-23-115 if the resubmitted regulation contains no substantive changes from the previously submitted version.

SECTION 1-23-126. Petition requesting promulgation, amendment or repeal of regulation.

An interested person may petition an agency in writing requesting the promulgation, amendment or repeal of a regulation. Within thirty days after submission of such petition, the agency shall either deny the petition in writing (stating its reasons for the denial) or shall initiate the action in such petition.

SECTION 1-23-130. Emergency regulations.

(A) If an agency finds that an imminent peril to public health, safety, or welfare requires immediate promulgation of an emergency regulation before compliance with the procedures prescribed in this article or if a natural resources related agency finds that abnormal or unusual conditions, immediate need, or the state's best interest requires immediate promulgation of emergency regulations to protect or manage natural resources, the agency may file the regulation with the Legislative Council and a statement of the situation requiring immediate promulgation. The regulation becomes effective as of the time of filing.

(B) An emergency regulation filed under this section which has a substantial economic impact may not be refiled unless accompanied by the summary of the final assessment report prepared by the division pursuant to Section 1-23-115 and a statement of need and reasonableness is prepared by the agency pursuant to Section 1-23-111.

(C) If emergency regulations are either filed or expire while the General Assembly is in session, the emergency regulations remain in effect for ninety days only and may not be refiled; but if emergency regulations are both filed and expire during a time when the General Assembly is not in session they may be refiled for an additional ninety days.

(D) Emergency regulations and the agency statement as to the need for and reasonableness of immediate promulgation must be published in the next issue of the State Register following the date of filing. The summary of the final assessment report required for refiling emergency regulations pursuant to subsection (B) must also be published in the next issue of the State Register.

(E) An emergency regulation promulgated pursuant to this section may be permanently promulgated by complying with the requirements of this article.

SECTION 1-23-140. Duties of state agencies; necessity for public inspection.

(a) In addition to other requirements imposed by law, each agency shall:

(1) Adopt and make available for public inspection a description of its organization, stating the general course and method of its operations and the methods whereby the public may obtain information or make submissions or requests;

(2) Adopt and make available for public inspection a written policy statement setting forth the nature and requirements of all formal and informal procedures available, including a description of all forms and instructions used by the agency;

(3) Make available for public inspection all final orders, decisions and opinions except as otherwise provided by law.

(b) No agency rule, order or decision is valid or effective against any person or party, nor may it be invoked by the agency for any purpose until it has been made available for public inspection as required by this article and Article 2. This provision is not applicable in favor of any person or party who has actual knowledge thereof.

SECTION 1-23-150. Appeals contesting authority of agency to promulgate regulation.

(a) Any person may petition an agency in writing for a declaratory ruling as to the applicability of any regulation of the agency or the authority of the agency to promulgate a particular regulation. The agency shall, within thirty days after receipt of such petition, issue a declaratory ruling thereon.

(b) After compliance with the provisions of paragraph (a) of this section, any person affected by the provisions of any regulation of an agency may petition the Circuit Court for a declaratory judgment and/or injunctive relief if it is alleged that the regulation or its threatened application interferes with or impairs, or threatens to interfere with or impair, the legal rights or privileges of the plaintiff or that the regulation exceeds the regulatory authority of the agency. The agency shall be made a party to the action.

SECTION 1-23-160. Prior filed regulations unaffected.

All regulations of state agencies promulgated according to law and filed with the Secretary of State as of January 1, 1977, shall have the full force and effect of law. All regulations of state agencies promulgated under this article and effective as of June 30, 1994 shall have the full force and effect of law.

ARTICLE 2.

SMALL BUSINESS REGULATORY FLEXIBILITY

SECTION 1-23-270. Small business defined; economic impact statements; impact reduction options; judicial review of agency compliance; periodic review of regulations.

(A) This article may be cited as the "South Carolina Small Business Regulatory Flexibility Act of 2004".

(B) As used in this article "small business" means a commercial retail service, industry entity, or nonprofit corporation, including its affiliates, that:

(1) is, if a commercial retail service or industry service, independently owned and operated; and

(2) employs fewer than one hundred full-time employees or has gross annual sales or program service revenues of less than five million dollars.

(C) Before an agency submits to the General Assembly for review a regulation that may have a significant adverse impact on small businesses, the agency, if directed by the Small Business Regulatory Review Committee, shall prepare:

(1) an economic impact statement that includes the following:

(a) an identification and estimate of the number of small businesses subject to the proposed regulation;

(b) the projected reporting, recordkeeping, and other administrative costs required for compliance with the proposed regulation, including the type of professional skills necessary for preparation of the report or record;

(c) a statement of the economic impact on small businesses; and

(d) a description of less intrusive or less costly alternative methods of achieving the purpose of the proposed regulation;

(2) a regulatory flexibility analysis in which the agency, where consistent with health, safety, and environmental and economic welfare, shall consider utilizing regulatory methods that accomplish the objectives of applicable statutes while minimizing a significant adverse impact on small businesses.

(D) The agency shall consider, without limitation, each of the following methods of reducing the impact of the proposed regulation on small businesses:

(1) establishment of less stringent compliance or reporting requirements for small businesses;

(2) establishment of less stringent schedules or deadlines for compliance or reporting requirements for small businesses;

(3) consolidation or simplification of compliance or reporting requirements for small businesses;

(4) establishment of performance standards for small businesses to replace design or operational standards required in the proposed regulation; and

(5) exemption of small businesses from all or a part of the requirements contained in the proposed regulation.

(E) A small business that is adversely impacted or aggrieved in connection with the promulgation of a regulation is entitled to judicial review of agency compliance with the requirements of this article. A small business may seek that review during the period beginning on the date of final agency action.

(F)(1) Each state agency, which promulgates regulations or to which the responsibility for administering regulations has been transferred, shall by July 1, 1997, and every five years thereafter, conduct a formal review of all regulations which it has promulgated or for which it has been transferred the responsibility of administering, except that those regulations described in Section 1-23-120(H) are not subject to this review. Upon completion of the review, the agency shall submit to the Code Commissioner a report which identifies those regulations:

(a) for which the agency intends to begin the process of repeal in accordance with this article;

(b) for which the agency intends to begin the process of amendment in accordance with this article; and

(c) which do not require repeal or amendment.

Nothing in this subsection may be construed to prevent an agency from repealing or amending a regulation in accordance with Article 1 before or after it is identified in the report to the Code Commissioner.

(2) Regulations that take effect on or after the effective date of this article must be reviewed within five years of the publication of the final regulation in the State Register and every five years after that to ensure that they minimize economic impact on small businesses in a manner consistent with the stated objectives of applicable statutes.

(3) In reviewing regulations to minimize their economic impact on small businesses, the agency shall consider the:

(a) continued need for the regulation;

(b) nature of complaints or comments received concerning the regulation from the public;

(c) complexity of the regulation;

(d) extent to which the regulation overlaps, duplicates, or conflicts with other federal, state, and local governmental regulations; and

(e) length of time since the regulation has been evaluated or the degree to which technology, economic conditions, or other factors have changed in the area affected by the regulation.

SECTION 1-23-280. Small Business Regulatory Review Committee; membership; terms.

(A)(1) There is established a Small Business Regulatory Review Committee within the South Carolina Department of Commerce. For purposes of this article, "committee" is the Small Business Regulatory Review Committee and "department" is the South Carolina Department of Commerce.

(2) The duties of the committee, in determining if a proposed permanent regulation has a significant adverse impact on small businesses, are to:

(a) direct the promulgating agency to prepare the regulatory flexibility analysis described in Section 1-23-270(C)(2) no later than the end of the public comment period that follows the notice of proposed regulation, as provided in Section 1-23-110(A)(3); and

(b) request, at the committee's discretion, the Office of Research and Statistics of the Budget and Control Board to prepare a final assessment report, as provided in Section 1-23-115(B), of the proposed permanent regulation no later than the end of the public comment period that follows the notice of proposed regulation, as provided in Section 1-23-110(A)(3). The committee may request a final assessment report from the Office of Research and Statistics only in cases where the committee determines that information in addition to the agency's economic impact as provided in Section 1-23-270(C)(1) is critical in the committee's determination that a proposed permanent regulation has a significant adverse impact on small business. The Office of Research and Statistics:

(i) within the review and comment period, shall perform a final assessment report of the regulation on small businesses within sixty days of a request for assessment by the committee, and the promulgating agency has sixty days to complete a regulatory flexibility analysis; and

(ii) may request additional information from the agency. The sixty-day final assessment report deadline must be tolled until the time that the Office of Research and Statistics receives the requested additional information. The one-year deadline for submission of regulations to the General Assembly as provided in Section 1-23-120(A) also must be tolled until the time that both analyses are prepared and presented to the committee; and

(c) submit to the promulgating agency, no later than thirty days after receipt of the regulatory flexibility analysis prepared by the promulgating agency and, if requested by the committee, after receipt of the final assessment report prepared by the Office of Research and Statistics, a written statement advising the agency that a proposed permanent regulation has a significant adverse impact on small business.

(3) This subsection does not limit the committee's ability to petition a state agency to amend, revise, or revoke an existing regulation.

(4) Staff support for the committee must be provided by the department. The department shall act only as a coordinator for the committee, and may not provide legal counsel for the committee.

(B) The committee shall consist of eleven members, appointed as follows:

(1) five members to be appointed by the Governor;

(2) three members to be appointed by the President Pro Tempore of the Senate; and

(3) three members to be appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

(C) In addition, the Chairman of the Labor, Commerce and Industry Committee of the South Carolina Senate and the Chairman of the Labor, Commerce and Industry Committee of the South Carolina House of Representatives, or their designees, shall serve as nonvoting, ex officio members of the committee. During the committee review process, the director or his designee, of the promulgating agency shall be available at the request of the committee for comment on the proposed regulation.

(D) Appointments to the committee must be representative of a variety of small businesses in this State. All appointed members shall be either current or former owners or officers of a small business.

(E) The initial appointments to the committee must be made within sixty days from the effective date of this act. The department shall provide the name and address of each appointee to the Governor, the President Pro Tempore of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and the Chairmen of the House and Senate Labor, Commerce and Industry Committees.

(F)(1) Members initially appointed to the committee shall serve for terms ending December 31, 2005. Thereafter, appointed members shall serve two-year terms that expire on December thirty-first of the second year.

(2) The Governor shall appoint the initial chairman of the committee from the appointed members for a term ending December 31, 2006, and shall appoint subsequent chairs of the committee from the appointed members for two-year terms that expire on December thirty-first of the second year.

(3) The committee shall meet as determined by its chairman.

(4) A majority of the voting members of the committee constitutes a quorum to do business. The concurrence of a majority of the members of the committee present and voting is necessary for an action of the committee to be valid.

(5) An appointed committee member may not serve more than three consecutive terms.

SECTION 1-23-290. Petition opposing regulation having significant adverse impact; determination of whether impact statement or public hearing addressed economic impact; waiver or reduction of administrative penalties.

(A) For promulgated regulations, the committee may file a written petition with the agency that has promulgated the regulations opposing all or part of a regulation that has a significant adverse impact on small business.

(B) Within sixty days after the receipt of the petition, the agency shall determine whether the impact statement or the public hearing addressed the actual and significant impact on small business or if conditions justifying the regulation have changed. The agency shall submit a written response of its determination to the committee within sixty days after receipt of the petition. If the agency determines that the petition merits the amendment, revision, or revocation of a regulation, the agency may initiate proceedings in accordance with the applicable requirements of the Administrative Procedures Act.

(C) If the agency determines that the petition does not merit the amendment or repeal of a regulation, the committee promptly shall convene a meeting for the purpose of determining whether to recommend that the agency initiate proceedings to amend or repeal the regulation in accordance with the Administrative Procedures Act. The review must be based upon the actual record presented to the agency. The committee shall base its recommendation on any of the following reasons:

(1) the actual impact on small business was not reflected in, or significantly exceeded, the economic impact statement formulated by the Office of Research and Statistics, pursuant to Section 1-23-280(A)(2);

(2) the actual impact was not previously considered by the agency in its economic impact statement formulated pursuant to Section 1-23-270(C) or its regulatory flexibility analysis formulated pursuant to Section 1-23-280(A)(2); or

(3) the technology, economic conditions, or other relevant factors justifying the purpose for the regulations have changed or no longer exist.

(D) If the committee recommends that an agency initiate regulation proceedings for a reason provided in subsection (C), the committee shall submit to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President Pro Tempore of the Senate an evaluation report and the agency's response as provided in Section 1-23-290(B). The General Assembly may take later action in response to the evaluation report and the agency's response as the General Assembly finds appropriate.

(E)(1) Notwithstanding another provision of law, an agency authorized to assess administrative penalties or administrative fines upon a business may waive or reduce an administrative penalty or administrative fine for a violation of a regulation by a small business if the:

(a) small business corrects the violation within thirty days or less after receipt of a notice of violation or citation; or

(b) violation was the result of an excusable misunderstanding of the agency's interpretation of a regulation.

(2) Item (1) does not apply if:

(a) a small business has been notified previously of the violation of a regulation by the agency pursuant to Section 1-23-290(E)(1) and has been given an opportunity to correct the violation on a previous occasion;

(b) a small business fails to exercise good faith in complying with the regulation;

(c) a violation involves wilful or criminal conduct;

(d) a violation results in imminent or adverse health, safety, or environmental impact; or

(e) the penalty or fine is assessed pursuant to a federal law or regulation, for which a waiver or reduction is not authorized by the federal law or regulation.

SECTION 1-23-300. Applicability.

This article does not apply to emergency regulations promulgated pursuant to Section 1-23-130 or regulations promulgated pursuant to Chapter 9 of Title 46 or Chapter 4 of Title 47 or to proposed regulations by an agency to implement a statute or ordinance that does not require an agency to interpret or describe the requirements of the statute or ordinance, such as state legislative or federally mandated provisions that do not allow discretion to consider less restrictive alternatives or to a federal regulation that has gone through the federal regulatory flexibility act, if the federal review process is the same as or is stricter than the requirements of these sections.

ARTICLE 3.

ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEDURES

SECTION 1-23-310. Definitions.

As used in this article:

(1) "Administrative law judge" means a judge of the South Carolina Administrative Law Court created pursuant to Section 1-23-500;

(2) "Agency" means each state board, commission, department, or officer, other than the legislature, the courts, or the Administrative Law Court, authorized by law to determine contested cases;

(3) "Contested case" means a proceeding including, but not restricted to, ratemaking, price fixing, and licensing, in which the legal rights, duties, or privileges of a party are required by law to be determined by an agency after an opportunity for hearing;

(4) "License" includes the whole or part of any agency permit, franchise, certificate, approval, registration, charter, or similar form of permission required by law, but it does not include a license required solely for revenue purposes;

(5) "Party" means each person or agency named or admitted as a party, or properly seeking and entitled as of right to be admitted as a party;

(6) "Person" means any individual, partnership, corporation, association, governmental subdivision, or public or private organization of any character other than an agency.

SECTION 1-23-320. Notice and hearing in contested case; depositions; subpoenas; informal disposition; content of record.

(A) In a contested case, all parties must be afforded an opportunity for hearing after notice of not less than thirty days, except in proceedings before the Employment Security Commission, which are governed by the provisions of Section 41-35-680.

(B) The notice must include a:

(1) statement of the time, place, and nature of the hearing;

(2) statement of the legal authority and jurisdiction under which the hearing is to be held;

(3) reference to the particular sections of the statutes and rules involved;

(4) short and plain statement of the matters asserted. If the agency or other party is unable to state the matters in detail at the time the notice is served, the initial notice may be limited to a statement of the issues involved. Thereafter, upon application, a more definite and detailed statement must be furnished.

(C) A party to these proceedings may cause to be taken the depositions of witnesses within or without the State and either by commission or de bene esse. Depositions must be taken in accordance with and subject to the same provisions, conditions, and restrictions as apply to the taking of like depositions in civil actions at law in the court of common pleas; and the same rules with respect to the giving of notice to the opposite party, the taking and transcribing of testimony, the transmission and certification of it, and matters of practice relating to it apply.

(D) The agency hearing a contested case may issue subpoenas in the name of the agency for the attendance and testimony of witnesses and the production and examination of books, papers, and records on its own behalf or, upon request, on behalf of another party to the case.

A party to the proceeding may seek enforcement of or relief from an agency subpoena before the Administrative Law Court pursuant to Section 1-23-600(F).

(E) Opportunity must be afforded all parties to respond and present evidence and argument on all issues involved.

(F) Unless precluded by law, informal disposition may be made of a contested case by stipulation, agreed settlement, consent order, or default.

(G) The record in a contested case must include:

(1) all pleadings, motions, intermediate rulings, and depositions;

(2) evidence received or considered;

(3) a statement of matters officially noticed;

(4) questions and offers of proof, objections, and rulings on the contested case;

(5) proposed findings and exceptions;

(6) any decision, opinion, or report by the officer presiding at the hearing.

(H) Oral proceedings or any part of the oral proceedings must be transcribed on request of a party.

(I) Findings of fact must be based exclusively on the evidence and on matters officially noticed.

SECTION 1-23-330. Evidentiary matters in contested cases.

In contested cases:

(1) Irrelevant, immaterial or unduly repetitious evidence shall be excluded. Except in proceedings before the Industrial Commission the rules of evidence as applied in civil cases in the court of common pleas shall be followed. Agencies shall give effect to the rules of privilege recognized by law. Objections to evidentiary offers may be made and shall be noted in the record. Subject to these requirements, when a hearing will be expedited and the interests of the parties will not be prejudiced substantially, any part of the evidence may be received in written form;

(2) Documentary evidence may be received in the form of copies or excerpts, if the original is not readily available. Upon request, parties shall be given an opportunity to compare the copy with the original;

(3) Any party may conduct cross-examination;

(4) Notice may be taken of judicially cognizable facts. In addition, notice may be taken of generally recognized technical or scientific facts within the agency's specialized knowledge. Parties shall be notified either before or during the hearing or by reference in preliminary reports or otherwise of the material noticed including any staff memoranda or data, and they shall be afforded an opportunity to contest the material so noticed. The agency's experience, technical competence and specialized knowledge may be utilized in the evaluation of the evidence.

SECTION 1-23-340. Procedure in contested cases where majority of those who are to render final decision are unfamiliar with case.

When in a contested case a majority of the officials of the agency who are to render the final decision have not heard the case or reviewed the record, the decision, if adverse to a party to the proceeding other than the agency itself, shall not be made until a proposal for decision is served upon the parties, and an opportunity is afforded to each party adversely affected to file exceptions and present briefs and oral argument to the officials who are to render the decision. The proposal for decision shall contain a statement of the reasons therefor and of each issue of fact or law necessary to the proposed decision, prepared by the person who conducted the hearing or one who has read the record. The parties by written stipulation may waive compliance with this section.

SECTION 1-23-350. Final decision or order in contested case.

A final decision or order adverse to a party in a contested case shall be in writing or stated in the record. A final decision shall include findings of fact and conclusions of law, separately stated. Findings of fact, if set forth in statutory language, shall be accompanied by a concise and explicit statement of the underlying facts supporting the findings. If, in accordance with agency rules, a party submitted proposed findings of fact, the decision shall include a ruling upon each proposed finding. Parties shall be notified either personally or by mail of any decision or order. Upon request a copy of the decision or order shall be delivered or mailed forthwith to each party and to his attorney of record.

SECTION 1-23-360. Communication by members or employees of agency assigned to decide contested case.

Unless required for the disposition of ex parte matters authorized by law, members or employees of an agency assigned to render a decision or to make findings of fact and conclusions of law in a contested case shall not communicate, directly or indirectly, in connection with any issue of fact, with any person or party, nor, in connection with any issue of law, with any party or his representative, except upon notice and opportunity for all parties to participate. An agency member:

(1) May communicate with other members of the agency; and

(2) May have the aid and advice of one or more personal assistants.

Any person who violates the provisions of this section shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction shall be fined not more than two hundred fifty dollars or imprisoned for not more than six months.

SECTION 1-23-370. Procedures regarding issuance, denial or renewal of licenses.

(a) When the grant, denial or renewal of a license is required to be preceded by notice and opportunity for hearing, the provisions of this article and Article 1 concerning contested cases apply.

(b) When a licensee has made timely and sufficient application for the renewal of a license or a new license with reference to any activity of a continuing nature, the existing license does not expire until the application has been finally determined by the agency, and, in case the application is denied or the terms of the new license limited, until the last day for seeking review of the agency order or a later date fixed by order of the reviewing court.

(c) No revocation, suspension, annulment, or withdrawal of any license is lawful unless, prior to the institution of agency proceedings, the agency gave notice by mail to the licensee of facts or conduct which warrant the intended action, and the licensee was given an opportunity to show compliance with all lawful requirements for the retention of the license. If the agency finds that public health, safety or welfare imperatively requires emergency action, and incorporates a finding to that effect in its order, summary suspension of a license may be ordered pending proceedings for revocation or other action. These proceedings shall be promptly instituted and determined.

SECTION 1-23-380. Judicial review upon exhaustion of administrative remedies.

A party who has exhausted all administrative remedies available within the agency and who is aggrieved by a final decision in a contested case is entitled to judicial review pursuant to this article and Article 1. This section does not limit utilization of or the scope of judicial review available under other means of review, redress, relief, or trial de novo provided by law. A preliminary, procedural, or intermediate agency action or ruling is immediately reviewable if review of the final agency decision would not provide an adequate remedy. Except as otherwise provided by law, an appeal is to the court of appeals.

(1) Proceedings for review are instituted by serving and filing notice of appeal as provided in the South Carolina Appellate Court Rules within thirty days after the final decision of the agency or, if a rehearing is requested, within thirty days after the decision is rendered. Copies of the notice of appeal must be served upon the agency and all parties of record.

(2) Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, the serving and filing of the notice of appeal does not itself stay enforcement of the agency decision. The serving and filing of a notice of appeal by a licensee for review of a fine or penalty or of its license stays only those provisions for which review is sought and matters not affected by the notice of appeal are not stayed. The serving or filing of a notice of appeal does not automatically stay the suspension or revocation of a permit or license authorizing the sale of beer, wine, or alcoholic liquor. The agency may grant, or the reviewing court may order, a stay upon appropriate terms, upon the filing of a petition under Rule 65 of the South Carolina Rules of Civil Procedure.

(3) If a timely application is made to the court for leave to present additional evidence, and it is shown to the satisfaction of the court that the additional evidence is material and that there were good reasons for failure to present it in the proceeding before the agency, the court may order that the additional evidence be taken before the agency upon conditions determined by the court. The agency may modify its findings and decision by reason of the additional evidence and shall file the evidence and modifications, new findings, or decisions with the reviewing court.

(4) The review must be conducted by the court and must be confined to the record. In cases of alleged irregularities in procedure before the agency, not shown in the record, and established by proof satisfactory to the court, the case may be remanded to the agency for action as the court considers appropriate.

(5) The court may not substitute its judgment for the judgment of the agency as to the weight of the evidence on questions of fact. The court may affirm the decision of the agency or remand the case for further proceedings. The court may reverse or modify the decision if substantial rights of the appellant have been prejudiced because the administrative findings, inferences, conclusions, or decisions are:

(a) in violation of constitutional or statutory provisions;

(b) in excess of the statutory authority of the agency;

(c) made upon unlawful procedure;

(d) affected by other error of law;

(e) clearly erroneous in view of the reliable, probative, and substantial evidence on the whole record; or

(f) arbitrary or capricious or characterized by abuse of discretion or clearly unwarranted exercise of discretion.

SECTION 1-23-390. Supreme Court review.

An aggrieved party may obtain a review of a final judgment of the circuit court or the court of appeals pursuant to this article by taking an appeal in the manner provided by the South Carolina Appellate Court Rules as in other civil cases.

SECTION 1-23-400. Application of article.

The provisions of this article shall not apply to any matters pending on June 13, 1977. The provisions of Sections 1-23-360 and 1-23-370 shall not apply to any agency which under existing statutes have established and follow notice and hearing procedures which are in compliance with such sections.

ARTICLE 5.

SOUTH CAROLINA ADMINISTRATIVE LAW COURT

SECTION 1-23-500. South Carolina Administrative Law Court created; number of judges.

There is created the South Carolina Administrative Law Court, which is an agency and a court of record within the executive branch of the government of this State. The court shall consist of a total of six administrative law judges. The administrative law judges shall be part of the state employees retirement system.

SECTION 1-23-505. Definitions.

As used in this article:

(1) "Administrative law judge" means a judge of the South Carolina Administrative Law Court created pursuant to Section 1-23-500.

(2) "Agency" means a state agency, department, board, or commission whose action is the subject of a contested case hearing or an appellate proceeding heard by an administrative law judge, or a public hearing on a proposed regulation presided over by an administrative law judge.

(3) "Contested case" means a proceeding including, but not restricted to, ratemaking, price fixing, and licensing, in which the legal rights, duties, or privileges of a party are required by law or by Article I, Section 22, Constitution of the State of South Carolina, 1895, to be determined by an agency or the Administrative Law Court after an opportunity for hearing.

(4) "License" includes the whole or part of any agency permit, franchise, certificate, approval, registration, charter, or similar form of permission required by law, but does not include a license required solely for revenue purposes.

(5) "Party" means each person or agency named or admitted as a party, or properly seeking and entitled as of right to be admitted as a party.

(6) "Person" means any individual, partnership, corporation, association, governmental subdivision, or public or private organization of any character other than an agency.

SECTION 1-23-510. Election of judges; terms.

(A) The judges of the division must be elected by the General Assembly in joint session, for a term of five years and until their successors are elected and qualify; provided, that of those judges initially elected, the chief judge, elected to Seat 1 must be elected for a term of five years, the judge elected to Seat 2 must be elected for a term of three years, the judge elected to Seat 3 must be elected for a term of one year. The remaining judges of the division must be elected for terms of office to begin February 1, 1995, for terms of five years and until their successors are elected and qualify; provided, that those judges elected to seats whose terms of office are to begin on February 1, 1995, to Seat 4 must be initially elected for a term of five years, the judge elected to Seat 5 must be initially elected for a term of three years, and the judge elected to Seat 6 must be initially elected for a term of one year. The terms of office of the judges of the division for Seats 1, 2, and 3 shall begin on March 1, 1994. The terms of office of the judges of the division for Seats 4, 5, and 6 shall begin on February 1, 1995. The terms of office of each of the seats shall terminate on the thirtieth day of June in the final year of the term for the respective seats.

(B) In electing administrative law judges, race, gender, and other demographic factors including age, residence, type of practice, and law firm size should be considered to assure nondiscrimination, inclusion, and representation to the greatest extent possible of all segments of the population of this State.

(C) Before election as an administrative law judge, a candidate must undergo screening pursuant to the provisions of Section 2-19-10, et seq.

(D) Each seat on the division must be numbered. Elections are required to be for a specific seat. The office of chief administrative law judge is a separate and distinct office for the purpose of an election.

(E) In the event that there is a vacancy in the position of the chief administrative law judge or for any reason the chief administrative law judge is unable to act, his powers and functions must be exercised by the most senior administrative law judge as determined by the date of their election to the division.

SECTION 1-23-520. Eligibility for office.

No person is eligible for the office of law judge of the division who does not at the time of his election meet the qualification for justices and judges as set forth in Article V of the Constitution of this State.

SECTION 1-23-525. Members of General Assembly disqualified for office of law judge.

No member of any General Assembly who is not otherwise prohibited from being elected to an administrative law judge position may be elected to such position while he is a member of the General Assembly and for a period of four years after he ceases to be a member of the General Assembly.

SECTION 1-23-530. Oath of office.

The judges of the division shall qualify after the date of their election by taking the constitutional oath of office.

SECTION 1-23-535. Official seal.

The Administrative Law Court shall have a seal with a suitable inscription, an impression of which must be filed with the Secretary of State.

SECTION 1-23-540. Compensation; full-time position.

The chief judge (Seat 1) shall receive as annual salary equal to ninety percent of that paid to the circuit court judges of this State. The remaining judges shall receive as annual salary equal to eighty percent of that paid to the circuit court judges of this State. They are not allowed any fees or perquisites of office, nor may they hold any other office of honor, trust, or profit. Administrative law judges in the performance of their duties are also entitled to that per diem, mileage, expenses, and subsistence as is authorized by law for circuit court judges.

Each administrative law judge shall devote full time to his duties as an administrative law judge, and may not practice law during his term of office, nor may he during this term be a partner or associate with anyone engaged in the practice of law in this State.

SECTION 1-23-550. Vacancies.

All vacancies in the office of administrative law judge must be filled in the manner of original appointment. When a vacancy is filled, the judge elected shall hold office only for the unexpired term of his predecessor.

SECTION 1-23-560. Application of Code of Judicial Conduct; enforcement by State Ethics Commission; attending judicial-related functions.

Administrative law judges are bound by the Code of Judicial Conduct, as contained in Rule 501 of the South Carolina Appellate Court Rules. The sole grounds for discipline and sanctions for administrative law judges are those contained in the Code of Judicial Conduct in Rule 502, Rule 7 of the South Carolina Appellate Court Rules. The State Ethics Commission, which is responsible for enforcement and administration of those rules shall use the procedure contained in Section 8-13-320. Notwithstanding another provision of law, an administrative law judge and the judge's spouse or guest may accept an invitation to attend a judicial-related or bar-related function, or an activity devoted to the improvement of the law, legal system, or the administration of justice.

SECTION 1-23-570. Chief Judge responsible for administration of division.

The Chief Judge of the Administrative Law Judge Division is responsible for the administration of the division, including budgetary matters, assignment of cases, and the administrative duties and responsibilities of the support staff. The chief judge shall assign judges of the division to hear all cases of the various state departments and commissions for which it is responsible on a general rotation and interchange basis by scheduling and assigning administrative law judges based upon subject matter no less frequently than every six months.

SECTION 1-23-580. Clerk of division; assistants to administrative law judges; other staff.

(A) A clerk of the division, to be appointed by the chief judge, must be appointed and is responsible for the custody and keeping of the records of the division. The clerk of the division shall perform those other duties as the chief judge may prescribe.

(B) Each administrative law judge may appoint, hire, contract, and supervise an administrative assistant as individually allotted and authorized in the annual general appropriations act.

(C) The other support staff of the division is as authorized by the General Assembly in the annual general appropriations act and shall be hired, contracted, and supervised by the chief judge. The division may engage stenographers for the transcribing of the proceedings in which an administrative law judge presides. It may contract for these stenographic functions, or it may use stenographers provided by the agency or commission.

SECTION 1-23-590. Appropriation of funds.

The General Assembly in the annual general appropriations act shall appropriate those funds necessary for the operation of the Administrative Law Judge Division.

SECTION 1-23-600. Hearings and proceedings.

(A) An administrative law judge shall preside over all hearings of contested cases as defined in Section 1-23-505 or Article I, Section 22, Constitution of the State of South Carolina, 1895, involving the departments of the executive branch of government as defined in Section 1-30-10 in which a single hearing officer, or an administrative law judge, is authorized or permitted by law or regulation to hear and decide these cases, except those arising under the:

(1) Consolidated Procurement Code;

(2) Public Service Commission;

(3) Employment Security Commission;

(4) Workers' Compensation Commission; or

(5) other cases or hearings which are prescribed for or mandated by federal law or regulation, unless otherwise by statute or regulation specifically assigned to the jurisdiction of the Administrative Law Court. Unless otherwise provided by statute, the standard of proof in a contested case is by a preponderance of the evidence. The South Carolina Rules of Evidence apply in all contested case proceedings before the Administrative Law Court.

(B) All requests for a hearing before the Administrative Law Court must be filed in accordance with the court's rules of procedure. A party that files a request for a hearing with the Administrative Law Court must simultaneously serve a copy of the request on the affected agency. Upon the filing of the request, the chief judge shall assign an administrative law judge to the case. Notice of the contested case hearing must be issued in accordance with the rules of procedure of the Administrative Law Court.

(C) A full and complete record must be kept of all contested cases and regulation hearings before an administrative law judge. All testimony must be reported, but need not be transcribed unless a transcript is requested by a party. The party requesting a transcript is responsible for the costs involved. Proceedings before administrative law judges are open to the public unless confidentiality is allowed or required by law. The presiding administrative law judge shall render the decision in a written order. The decisions or orders of administrative law judges are not required to be published but are available for public inspection unless confidentiality is allowed or required by law.

(D) An administrative law judge also shall preside over all appeals from final decisions of contested cases pursuant to the Administrative Procedures Act, Article I, Section 22, Constitution of the State of South Carolina, 1895, or another law, except that an appeal from a final order of the Public Service Commission and the State Ethics Commission is to the Supreme Court or the court of appeals as provided in the South Carolina Appellate Court Rules, an appeal from the Procurement Review Panel is to the circuit court as provided in Section 11-35-4410, an appeal from the Workers' Compensation Commission is to the court of appeals as provided in Section 42-17-60, and an appeal from the Employment Security Commission is to the circuit court as provided in Section 41-35-750. An administrative law judge shall not hear an appeal from an inmate in the custody of the Department of Corrections involving the loss of the opportunity to earn sentence-related credits pursuant to Section 24-13-210(A) or Section 24-13-230(A) or an appeal involving the denial of parole to a potentially eligible inmate by the Department of Probation, Parole and Pardon Services.

(E) Review by an administrative law judge of a final decision in a contested case, heard in the appellate jurisdiction of the Administrative Law Court, must be in the same manner as prescribed in Section 1-23-380 for judicial review of final agency decisions with the presiding administrative law judge exercising the same authority as the court of appeals, provided that a party aggrieved by a final decision of an administrative law judge is entitled to judicial review of the decision by the court of appeals pursuant to the provisions of Section 1-23-610.

(F) Notwithstanding another provision of law, a state agency authorized by law to seek injunctive relief may apply to the Administrative Law Court for injunctive or equitable relief pursuant to Section 1-23-630. The provisions of this section do not affect the authority of an agency to apply for injunctive relief as part of a civil action filed in the court of common pleas.

(G) Notwithstanding another provision of law, the Administrative Law Court has jurisdiction to review and enforce an administrative process issued by an agency or by a department of the executive branch of government, as defined in Section 1-30-10, such as a subpoena, administrative search warrant, cease and desist order, or other similar administrative order or process. A department or agency of the executive branch of government authorized by law to seek an administrative process may apply to the Administrative Law Court to issue or enforce an administrative process. A party aggrieved by an administrative process issued by a department or agency of the executive branch of government may apply to the Administrative Law Court for relief from the process as provided in the Rules of the Administrative Law Court.

(H)(1) This subsection applies to timely requests for a contested case hearing pursuant to this section of decisions by departments governed by a board or commission authorized to exercise the sovereignty of the State.

(2) A request for a contested case hearing for an agency order stays the order. A request for a contested case hearing for an order to revoke or suspend a license stays the revocation or suspension. A request for a contested case hearing for a decision to renew a license for an ongoing activity stays the renewed license, the previous license remaining in effect pending completion of administrative review. A request for a contested case hearing for a decision to issue a new license stays all actions for which the license is a prerequisite; however, matters not affected by the request may not be stayed by the filing of the request. If the request is filed for a subsequent license related to issues substantially similar to those considered in a previously licensed matter, the license may not be automatically stayed by the filing of the request. If the requesting party asserts in the request that the issues are not substantially similar to those considered in a previously licensed matter, then the license must be stayed until further order of the Administrative Law Court. Requests for contested case hearings challenging only the amount of fines or penalties must be deemed not to affect those portions of orders imposing substantive requirements.

(3) The general rule of subsection (H)(2) does not stay emergency actions taken by an agency pursuant to an applicable statute or regulation.

(4) After a contested case is initiated before the Administrative Law Court, a party may move before the presiding administrative law judge to lift the stay imposed pursuant to this subsection. Upon motion by any party, the court shall lift the stay for good cause shown or if no irreparable harm will occur, then the stay shall be lifted. A hearing must be held within thirty days after the motion is filed with the court and served upon the parties to lift the automatic stay or for a determination of the applicability of the automatic stay. The judge must issue an order no later than fifteen business days after the hearing is concluded.

(5) A final decision issued by the Administrative Law Court in a contested case may not be stayed except by order of the Administrative Law Court or the court of appeals.

(6) Nothing contained in this subsection constitutes a limitation on the authority of the Administrative Law Court to impose a stay as otherwise provided by statute or by rule of court.

(I) If a final order of the Administrative Law Court is not appealed in accordance with the provisions of Section 1-23-610, upon request of a party to the proceedings, the clerk of the Administrative Law Court shall file a certified copy of the final order with a clerk of the circuit court, as requested, or court of competent jurisdiction, as requested. After filing, the certified order has the same effect as a judgment of the court where filed and may be recorded, enforced, or satisfied in the same manner as a judgment of that court.

SECTION 1-23-610. Judicial review of final decision of administrative law judge; stay of enforcement of decision.

(A)(1) For judicial review of a final decision of an administrative law judge, a notice of appeal by an aggrieved party must be served and filed with the court of appeals as provided in the South Carolina Appellate Court Rules in civil cases and served on the opposing party and the Administrative Law Court not more than thirty days after the party receives the final decision and order of the administrative law judge. Appeal in these matters is by right.

(2) Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, the serving and filing of the notice of appeal does not itself stay enforcement of the administrative law judge's decision. The serving and filing of a notice of appeal by a licensee for review of a fine or penalty or of its license stays only those provisions for which review is sought and matters not affected by the notice of appeal are not stayed. The serving or filing of a notice of appeal does not automatically stay the suspension or revocation of a permit or license authorizing the sale of beer, wine, or alcoholic liquor. Upon motion, the administrative law judge may grant, or the court of appeals may order, a stay upon appropriate terms.

(B) The review of the administrative law judge's order must be confined to the record. The court may not substitute its judgment for the judgment of the administrative law judge as to the weight of the evidence on questions of fact. The court of appeals may affirm the decision or remand the case for further proceedings; or, it may reverse or modify the decision if the substantive rights of the petitioner have been prejudiced because the finding, conclusion, or decision is:

(a) in violation of constitutional or statutory provisions;

(b) in excess of the statutory authority of the agency;

(c) made upon unlawful procedure;

(d) affected by other error of law;

(e) clearly erroneous in view of the reliable, probative, and substantial evidence on the whole record; or

(f) arbitrary or capricious or characterized by abuse of discretion or clearly unwarranted exercise of discretion.

SECTION 1-23-630. Powers of law judges.

(A) Each administrative law judge of the division has the same power at chambers or in open hearing as do circuit court judges and to issue those remedial writs as are necessary to give effect to its jurisdiction.

(B) An administrative law judge may authorize the use of mediation in a manner that does not conflict with other provisions of law and is consistent with the division's rules of procedure.

SECTION 1-23-640. Principal offices of court; where cases heard.

The court shall maintain its principal offices in the City of Columbia. However, judges of the court shall hear contested cases at the court's offices or at a suitable location outside the City of Columbia when determined by the chief judge.

SECTION 1-23-650. Promulgation of rules.

(A) Rules governing the internal administration and operations of the Administrative Law Court must be:

(1) proposed by the chief judge of the court and adopted by a majority of the judges of the court; or

(2) proposed by any judge of the court and adopted by seventy-five percent of the judges of the court.

(B) Rules governing practice and procedure before the court which are:

(1) consistent with the rules of procedure governing civil actions in courts of common pleas; and

(2) not otherwise expressed in Chapter 23, Title 1; upon approval by a majority of the judges of the court must be promulgated by the court and are subject to review as are rules of procedure promulgated by the Supreme Court under Article V of the Constitution.

(C) All hearings before an administrative law judge must be conducted exclusively in accordance with the rules of procedure promulgated by the court pursuant to this section. All other rules of procedure for the hearing of contested cases or appeals by individual agencies, whether promulgated by statute or regulation, are of no force and effect in proceedings before an administrative law judge.

SECTION 1-23-660. Office of Motor Vehicle Hearings; conduct of hearings; applicability of Code of Judicial Conduct; appeals.

(A) There is created within the Administrative Law Court the Office of Motor Vehicle Hearings. The chief judge of the Administrative Law Court shall serve as the director of the Office of Motor Vehicle Hearings. The duties, functions, and responsibilities of all hearing officers and associated staff of the Department of Motor Vehicles are devolved upon the Administrative Law Court effective January 1, 2006. The hearing officers and staff positions, together with the appropriations relating to these positions, are transferred to the Office of Motor Vehicle Hearings of the Administrative Law Court on January 1, 2006. The hearing officers and staff shall be appointed, hired, contracted, and supervised by the chief judge of the court and shall continue to exercise their adjudicatory functions, duties, and responsibilities under the auspices of the Administrative Law Court as directed by the chief judge and shall perform such other functions and duties as the chief judge of the court prescribes. All employees of the office shall serve at the will of the chief judge. The chief judge is solely responsible for the administration of the office, the assignment of cases, and the administrative duties and responsibilities of the hearing officers and staff. Notwithstanding another provision of law, the chief judge also has the authority to promulgate rules governing practice and procedures before the Office of Motor Vehicle Hearings. These rules are subject to review as are the rules of procedure promulgated by the Supreme Court pursuant to Article V of the South Carolina Constitution.

(B) Notwithstanding another provision of law, the hearing officers shall conduct hearings in accordance with Chapter 23 of Title 1, the Administrative Procedures Act, and the rules of procedure for the Office of Motor Vehicle Hearings, at suitable locations as determined by the chief judge. For purposes of this section, any law enforcement agency that employs an officer who requested a breath test and any law enforcement agency that employs a person who acted as a breath test operator resulting in a suspension pursuant to Section 56-1-286 or 56-5-2951 is a party to the hearing and shall be served with appropriate notice, afforded the opportunity to request continuances and participate in the hearing, and provided a copy of all orders issued in the action. Representatives of the Department of Motor Vehicles are not required to appear at implied consent, habitual offender, financial responsibility, or point suspension hearings. However, if the Department of Motor Vehicles elects not to appear through a representative at any implied consent hearing, or through the submission of documentary evidence at any habitual offender, financial responsibility, or point suspension hearing, and it wishes to appeal the decision, it must first file a motion for reconsideration with the Office of Motor Vehicle Hearings within ten days after receipt of the hearing officer's decision. The hearing officer must issue a written order upon the motion for reconsideration within thirty days. The Department of Motor Vehicles may file a notice of appeal with the Administrative Law Court within thirty days after receipt of the hearing officer's order on the motion for reconsideration. The Administrative Law Court must dismiss any appeal which does not meet the requirements of this subsection.

(C) The hearing officers are bound by the Code of Judicial Conduct, as contained in Rule 501 of the South Carolina Appellate Court Rules. The State Ethics Commission is responsible for the enforcement and administration of those rules and for the issuance of advisory opinions on the requirements of those rules for administrative law judges and hearing officers pursuant to the procedures contained in Section 8-13-320. Notwithstanding another provision of law, an administrative law judge or hearing officer, and the judge's or hearing officer's spouse or guest, may accept an invitation to and attend a judicial-related or bar-related function, or an activity devoted to the improvement of the law, the legal system, or the administration of justice.

(D) Appeals from decisions of the hearing officers must be taken to the Administrative Law Court pursuant to the court's appellate rules of procedure. Recordings of all hearings will be made part of the record on appeal, along with all evidence introduced at hearings, and copies will be provided to parties to those appeals at no charge. The chief judge shall not hear any appeals from these decisions.

SECTION 1-23-670. Filing fees.

Each request for a contested case hearing, notice of appeal, or request for injunctive relief before the Administrative Law Court must be accompanied by a filing fee equal to that charged in circuit court for filing a summons and complaint, unless another filing fee schedule is established by rules promulgated by the Administrative Law Court, subject to review as in the manner of rules of procedure promulgated by the Supreme Court pursuant to Article V of the Constitution of this State. This fee must be retained by the Administrative Law Court in order to help defray the costs of the proceedings. No filing fee is required in administrative appeals by inmates from final decisions of the Department of Corrections or the Department of Probation, Parole and Pardon Services. However, if an inmate files three administrative appeals during a calendar year, then each subsequent filing during that year must be accompanied by a twenty-five dollar filing fee. If the presiding administrative law judge determines at the conclusion of the proceeding that the case was frivolous or taken solely for the purpose of delay, the judge may impose such sanctions as the circumstances of the case and discouragement of like conduct in the future may require.

SECTION 1-23-680. Cost of South Carolina Code, supplements, and replacement volumes.

The South Carolina Administrative Law Court is not required to reimburse the South Carolina Legislative Council for the cost of the Code of Laws, code supplements, or code replacement volumes distributed to the court.






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