One of the primary policymaking methods agencies have is rulemaking under the Minnesota Administrative Procedures Act ("APA"), Minn. Stat. §§ 14.001-.69. The APA requires agencies to satisfy certain procedural steps when promulgating rules. Rules are defined statutorily to include "every agency statement of general applicability and future effect." Minn. Stat. § 14.02, subd. 4. Rules can be either legislative or interpretive. Legislative rules are statements of substantive law made under authority delegated by the legislature to the agency. Interpretive rules are intended to specify the law administered by the agency. Filing a Notice of Intent of Rulemaking in the State Register.Preparing Proposed Rules and a Statement of Need and Reasonableness.Publishing a Public Notice in the State Register that provides the public with an opportunity to comment on the proposed rules.Providing the public with an opportunity to request a hearing to evaluate and challenge the proposed rules.With all proposed rules the MPCA must include a discussion of the economic effect of the proposed rule amendments on the regulated community, regulatory entities and other affected parties.The MPCA is also required to provide the probable costs of complying with the proposed rule. Including the portion of the total costs that will be borne by identifiable categories of affected parties including businesses and individuals.If an adequate number of requests are made, a hearing must be held before an Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") who will consider testimony and evidence from the Agency and interested parties.The ALJ prepares a Report, Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law and Recommendations for the Agency decision maker.Final Agency Action is taken on the Proposed Rules including issuance of Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law and a Final Decision by the Agency decision maker.An opportunity is provided to seek review of the Final Agency Action in the Minnesota Court of Appeals.The Process
Agencies generally must follow APA procedures when promulgating either legislative or interpretive rules.
These procedures include:
The rulemaking process often requires the agency to expend a substantial amount of time and money. However, rulemaking affords the public with procedural due process - that is - an opportunity to be heard. In a rulemaking proceeding, critics of a rule may voice their opposition, express concerns about the cost of complying with the rule and raise other concerns about the effect of the rule on them. Agencies must respond to these concerns, follow required procedures and - in the end - defend and justify the proposed rule. If necessary, the Agency can make modifications to address concerns. An ALJ presides over the rulemaking proceeding. The ALJ ensures that proper procedures are followed, the rights of all parties are protected and that the agency has met its burden and provided adequate reasons to justify the rule.
Any party who is aggrieved by final agency action approving a rule may seek review before the Minnesota Court of Appeals. The Court of Appeals will review the record. Then determine whether the agency's action was justified and otherwise complied with legal requirements. If a rule is upheld, the Agency may proceed to implement the rule and require parties to comply with its provisions. When noncompliance is noted, the Agency may take action to require a party to comply with the rule and when it deems appropriate exercise its discretion to require that a civil penalty to be paid for past noncompliance.