Governor Snyder Reshuffles Government Programs and Creates New Office of Hearings and Appeals
On February 23rd, Governor Rick Snyder signed an executive order reorganizing and renaming the Department of Energy, Labor, and Economic Growth. The Department will now be called the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs. Within the renamed Department, the Governor created the Michigan Administrative Hearing System, an independent and autonomous agency that will replace the State Office of Administrative Hearings and Rules and centralize the state’s hearing functions. According to the Executive Order, the new Administrative Hearing System will:
- Coordinate and lead state efforts to evaluate policies and procedures for contested hearings and develop standards for hearings;
- Increase efficiency and assure the effective delivery of services; and
- Continually reassess scheduling, assignment, productivity and other measures of performance for administrative law judges, magistrates, board members and commissioners.
The Executive Director of the Hearing System will be appointed by the Governor and will function independently of the Director of the new Department.
The Executive Order also transferred numerous state agencies, commissions, and entities. A press release issued by the Governor’s Office asserted that the reorganization is designed to sharpen the Department’s focus on its mission and better coordinate programs across state government. The new Department will “reinvent the state’s regulatory process” and contribute to a “simple, fair, efficient and transparent regulatory environment.” Of particular interest to advocates for vulnerable elders, the Bureau of Health Systems which licenses and regulates nursing homes and hospitals and the Bureau of Health Professions were transferred from the Department of Community Health to the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs. The Michigan State Housing Development Authority was transferred to the Michigan Strategic Fund.