SUBSTITUTE SENATE BILL 5151
State of Washington
2019 Regular Session
BySenate Local Government (originally sponsored by Senators Wilson, L., Becker, Honeyford, Zeiger, and Short)
READ FIRST TIME 01/25/19.
AN ACT Relating to requiring the growth management hearings board to topically index the rulings, decisions, and orders it publishes; and reenacting and amending RCW 36.70A.270
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF WASHINGTON:
and 2010 c 211 s 6 and 2010 c 210 s 16 are each reenacted and amended to read as follows:
The growth management hearings board shall be governed by the following rules on conduct and procedure:
(1) Any board member may be removed for inefficiency, malfeasance, and misfeasance in office, under specific written charges filed by the governor. The governor shall transmit such written charges to the member accused and the chief justice of the supreme court. The chief justice shall thereupon designate a tribunal composed of three judges of the superior court to hear and adjudicate the charges. Removal of any member of the board by the tribunal shall disqualify such member for reappointment.
(2) Each board member shall receive reimbursement for travel expenses incurred in the discharge of his or her duties in accordance with RCW 43.03.050
. Each member shall receive an annual salary to be determined by the governor pursuant to RCW 43.03.040
. The principal office of the board shall be located in Olympia.
(3) Each board member shall not: (a) Be a candidate for or hold any other public office or trust; (b) engage in any occupation or business interfering with or inconsistent with his or her duty as a board member; and (c) for a period of one year after the termination of his or her board membership, act in a representative capacity before the board on any matter.
(4) A majority of the board shall constitute a quorum for adopting rules necessary for the conduct of its powers and duties or transacting other official business, and may act even though one position of the board is vacant. One or more members may hold hearings and take testimony to be reported for action by the board when authorized by rule or order of the board. The board shall perform all the powers and duties specified in this chapter or as otherwise provided by law.
(5) The board may use one or more hearing examiners to assist the board in its hearing function, to make conclusions of law and findings of fact and, if requested by the board, to make recommendations to the board for decisions in cases before the board. Such hearing examiners must have demonstrated knowledge of land use planning and law. The board shall specify in its rules of practice and procedure, as required by subsection (7) of this section, the procedure and criteria to be employed for designating hearing examiners as a presiding officer. Hearing examiners used by the board shall meet the requirements of subsection (3) of this section. The findings and conclusions of the hearing examiner shall not become final until they have been formally approved by the board. This authorization to use hearing examiners does not waive the requirement of RCW 36.70A.300
that final orders be issued within one hundred eighty days of board receipt of a petition.
(6) The board shall make findings of fact and prepare a written decision in each case decided by it, and such findings and decision shall be effective upon being signed by two or more members of the regional panel deciding the particular case and upon being filed at the board's principal office, and shall be open for public inspection at all reasonable times.
(7) All proceedings before the board, any of its members, or a hearing examiner appointed by the board shall be conducted in accordance with such administrative rules of practice and procedure as the board prescribes. The board shall develop and adopt rules of practice and procedure, including rules regarding expeditious and summary disposition of appeals and the assignment of cases to regional panels. The board shall publish such rules ((and decisions
)) it renders and arrange for the reasonable distribution of the rules ((and decisions
)). Except as it conflicts with specific provisions of this chapter, the administrative procedure act, chapter 34.05
RCW, and specifically including the provisions of RCW 34.05.455
governing ex parte communications, shall govern the practice and procedure of the board.
(8) The board must publish all decisions and orders on a searchable database made available on the board's web site. To ensure uniformity and usability of the searchable database, the board must, in coordination with department of commerce and other interested stakeholders, develop a rational system of categorizing its decisions and orders. The board's web site must allow a user to search decisions and orders by topic, party, and geographic location or by natural language.
All rulings, decisions, and orders issued before January 1, 2019, must be published by June 30, 2020.
A board member or hearing examiner is subject to disqualification under chapter 34.05
RCW. The rules of practice of the board shall establish procedures by which a party to a hearing conducted before the board may file with the board a motion to disqualify, with supporting affidavit, against a board member or hearing examiner assigned to preside at the hearing.
(((9)))(10) All members of the board shall meet on at least an annual basis with the objective of sharing information that promotes the goals and purposes of this chapter.
(((10)))(11) The board shall annually elect one of its members to be the board administrative officer. The duties and responsibilities of the administrative officer include handling day-to-day administrative, budget, and personnel matters on behalf of the board, together with making case assignments to board members in accordance with the board's rules of procedure in order to achieve a fair and balanced workload among all board members. The administrative officer of the board may carry a reduced caseload to allow time for performing the administrative work functions.
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