In 2005, the birdwatching world was stunned by the announcement of the re-discovery of the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker, a magnificent member of the Picidae family thought to have become extinct more than a half century ago. At the Office of Administrative Law, I recently spotted another rare bird. In this case, it was a priority request for review of a regulation by the legislature.
Under California’s Administrative Procedure Act, any standing, select, or joint committee of the Legislature may request a priority review of an existing regulation. Govt. Code § 11349.7. The Office of Administrative Law is then required to review the regulation for the compliance with the six statutory standards applicable to all regulations: Necessity, Authority, Clarity, Consistency, Reference, and Nonduplication. Govt. Code § 11349.1(a). The OAL has 90 days to complete its review. If the OAL determines that a regulation does not meet the one or more of the standards, it issues and order to show cause. This sets in motion a lengthy review process that could (unless the Governor overrules the OAL) result in repeal of the regulation. I asked the OAL about the frequency of these requests and was informed that this was the first in more than six years. Here is the most recent request from the Senate Rules Committee and the notice from the OAL.
For those bothered by a particularly irksome regulation, the priority review process may offer an interesteing alternative to a costly court challenge.
For more on the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker, see this April 30, 2012 article in the Arkansas News.