The amended version of House Bill 993 would give Gov. Rick Scott and members of the state cabinet (Attorney General Pam Bondi, Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, and Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater) authority to repeal rules under an expedited “summary process.” But what does that mean?
Now that the amendment granting the authority is included with the rest of the bill, there’s an analysis by legislative staff explaining the changes to the process of repealing rules. In general, the measure would speed up the repeal process and makes repeals more difficult to challenge.
First, the analysis describes the current process for repealing rules:
A rule in effect may be repealed only through the standard rulemaking process. This includes public notice of the proposed action and the opportunity for members of the public who have a substantial interest in the repeal to participate or even bring a legal challenge. Following the standard process requires a minimum of 28 days from publication of the notice of the proposed repeal to the time the actual repeal may be adopted. With the required statutory waiting periods, the earliest a rule repeal could take effect is 48 days from publication of the notice of proposed repeal. Depending on the amount and nature of requested public participation, the period to repeal a rule could exceed 90 days. [Emphasis added.]
Here are some key aspects of the expedited process provided under the new proposal:
- The repeal of a rule or part of a rule will be complete 15 days after publication of the written notice on the agency’s website.
- A substantially affected party may file with the agency a written objection within 14 days of publication of the written notice on the agency’s website.
- The sections of the [Administrative Procedures Act] governing rulemaking, dispute resolution, hearings, and judicial enforcement will not apply to the summary repeal process. An objecting party is not entitled to a hearing but will have a limited right to appeal a decision overruling the objection to the First District Court of Appeals.
- A failure to object is treated as approving the repeal and a waiver of rights to any judicial review.
- This authority to direct repeal by a summary process cannot be delegated but must be exercised by the statewide elected executive officers with sole authority over the agency, the Governor and Cabinet for Cabinet agencies, or all the statewide elected executive officers with joint authority over an agency (but less than the whole Cabinet). [Emphasis added.]
The text above comes straight out of this bill analysis (.pdf).