On March 30, 2023, Gov. Little signed SB1023, which legislation provides some refinements to OAH’s enabling legislation. The four primary highlights of this legislation, which will go into effect on July 1, are as follows:
– SB1023 adds refinements to OAH’s organizational set-up, to include: 1) formally adds OAH to the Department of Self-Governing Agencies list in I.C. sec. 67-2604; 2) makes OAH employees non-classified employees under I.C. 67-5303 (like judges, Deputies Attorney General, and the State Appellate Public Defender’s office); and 3) permits OAH to utilize outside counsel under I.C. sec. 67-1406 (similar to, e.g., the various agriculture commissions, the Idaho State Bar, and the Division of Occupational and Professional Licenses).
– SB1023 also clarifies that the salary of the Chief Administrative Hearing Officer is as set by the Governor (again, similar to the State Appellate Public Defender).
– SB1023 also refines the existing practice of law restriction for OAH hearing officers under I.C. sec. 67-5282(2)(a) to allow interpretation of that restriction in accord with the Idaho Code of Judicial Conduct.
– Finally, SB1023 adds a new public records exemption (as I.C. sec. 74-104(3)) to exempt “Any writings, drafts, notes, or working memoranda related to decision-making in any proceeding before the office of administrative hearings.” However, the new language ensures that “Orders issued by the office of administrative hearings are not exempt from disclosure under this section, unless otherwise exempt from disclosure under this chapter.”
If you would like to read the full text of SB1023, it can be accessed here: https://legislature.idaho.gov/wp-content/uploads/sessioninfo/2023/legislation/S1023.pdf