PDFRCW 80.36.145

Formal investigation and fact-findingAlternative to full adjudicative proceedingWaiver of provisions during state of emergency.

(1) The legislature declares that the availability of an alternative abbreviated formal procedure for use by the commission instead of a full adjudicative proceeding may in appropriate circumstances advance the public interest by reducing the time required by the commission for decision and the costs incurred by interested parties and ratepayers. Therefore, the commission is authorized to use formal investigation and fact-finding instead of an adjudicative proceeding under chapter 34.05 RCW when it determines that its use is in the public interest and that a full adjudicative hearing is not necessary to fully develop the facts relevant to the proceeding and the positions of the parties, including intervenors.
(2) The commission may use formal investigation and fact-finding instead of the hearing provided in the following circumstances:
(a) A complaint proceeding under RCW 80.04.110 with concurrence of the respondent when the commission is the complainant or with concurrence of the complainant and respondent when not the commission;
(b) A tariff suspension under RCW 80.04.130; or
(c) A competitive classification proceeding under RCW 80.36.320 and 80.36.330.
(3) In formal investigation and fact-finding the commission may limit the record to written submissions by the parties, including intervenors. The commission shall review the written submissions and, based thereon, shall enter appropriate findings of fact and conclusions of law and its order. When there is a reasonable expression of public interest in the issues under consideration, the commission shall hold at least one public hearing for the receipt of information from members of the public that are not formal intervenors in the proceeding and may elect to convert the proceeding to an adjudicative proceeding at any stage. The assignment of an agency employee or administrative law judge to preside at such public hearing shall not require the entry of an initial order.
(4) The commission shall adopt rules of practice and procedure including rules for discovery of information necessary for the use of formal investigation and fact-finding and for the filing of written submissions. The commission may provide by rule for a number of rounds of written comments: PROVIDED, That the party with the burden of proof shall always have the opportunity to file reply comments.
(5) During a state of emergency declared under RCW 43.06.010(12), the governor may waive or suspend the operation or enforcement of this section or any portion of this section or under any administrative rule, and issue any orders to facilitate the operation of state or local government or to promote and secure the safety and protection of the civilian population.
[ 2008 c 181 § 407; 1989 c 101 § 3.]


Part headings not law2008 c 181: See note following RCW 43.06.220.