The Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) was established in 1995 by Laws 1995, Chapter 251. Statutory authority for the OAH is found at A.R.S.§§41-1092 et seq.
According to its establishing act, the purpose of the OAH “is to ensure that the public receives fair and independent administrative hearings” (Laws 1995, Chapter 251, §16). Prior to enactment of the 1995 legislation, each state agency, board, or commission conducted its own administrative hearings. These agency-by-agency hearings were often conducted in their offices, which implied a home field advantage for the agency. Therefore, the OAH was created to take the hearings out of the individual agencies and enhance the fairness of the hearing process. State agencies that are supported by the State General Fund must use the OAH, and other agencies must contract with the Office for services. A few agencies are exempted by statute (Arizona Auditor General Performance Audit and Sunset Review Report, 2014). A director appointed by the Governor oversees the OAH.
The OAH hears all appealable agency actions and all contested cases, unless the action or case arose with one of the exempted agencies (A.R.S.§41-1092.02). An “appealable agency action” is “an action that determines the legal rights, duties, or privileges of a party and that is not a contested case” (A.R.S.§41-1092). Additionally, “appealable agency action” does not include “interim orders by self-supporting regulatory boards, rules, orders, standards or statements of policy of general application” (A.R.S.§41-1092). A “contested case” is “any proceeding, including rate making, except rate making pursuant to article XV, Constitution of Arizona, (relating to Corporation Commission) price fixing, and licensing, in which the legal rights, duties or privileges of a party are required or permitted by law, other than this chapter, to be determined by an agency after an opportunity for an administrative hearing” (A.R.S.§41-1001).
As of January 2015, there are 33 statutorily exempted self-supporting regulatory boards listed in A.R.S. §41-1092:
(a) The Arizona state board of accountancy.
(b) The state board of appraisal.
(c) The board of barbers.
(d) The board of behavioral health examiners.
(e) The Arizona state boxing and mixed martial arts commission.
(f) The state board of chiropractic examiners.
(g) The board of cosmetology.
(h) The state board of dental examiners.
(i) The state board of funeral directors and embalmers.
(j) The Arizona game and fish commission.
(k) The board of homeopathic and integrated medicine examiners.
(l) The Arizona medical board.
(m) The naturopathic physicians medical board.
(n) The state board of nursing.
(o) The board of examiners of nursing care institution administrators and adult care home managers.
(p) The board of occupational therapy examiners.
(q) The state board of dispensing opticians.
(r) The state board of optometry.
(s) The Arizona board of osteopathic examiners in medicine and surgery.
(t) The Arizona peace officer standards and training board.
(u) The Arizona state board of pharmacy.
(v) The board of physical therapy.
The state board of podiatry examiners.
(x) The state board for private postsecondary education.
(y) The state board of psychologist examiners.
(z) The board of respiratory care examiners.
(aa) The office of pest management.
(bb) The state board of technical registration.
(cc) The Arizona state veterinary medical examining board.
(dd) The acupuncture board of examiners.
(ee) The Arizona regulatory board of physician assistants.
(ff) The board of athletic training.
(gg) The board of massage therapy.
As of January 2015, 15 other agencies are currently exempted pursuant to A.R.S.§41-1092.02:
- The state department of corrections.
- The board of executive clemency.
- The industrial commission of Arizona.
- The Arizona corporation commission.
- The Arizona board of regents and institutions under its jurisdiction.
- The state personnel board.
- The department of juvenile corrections.
- The department of transportation.
- The department of economic security except as provided in section 46-458.
- The department of revenue regarding:
(a) Income tax or withholding tax.
(b) Any tax issue related to information associated with the reporting of income tax or withholding tax unless the taxpayer requests in writing that this article apply and waives confidentiality under Title 42, chapter 2, article 1.
- The board of tax appeals.
- The state board of equalization.
- The state board of education, but only in connection with contested cases and appealable agency actions related to applications for issuance or renewal of a certificate and discipline of certificate holders pursuant to sections 15-203, 15-534, 15-534.01, 15-535, 15-545 and 15-550.
- The board of fingerprinting.
- The department of child safety except as provided in sections 8-506.01 and 8-811.
Regulatory reform was a central theme in the Arizona legislature in the 1990s. A 15-member joint study committee on regulatory reform and enforcement was established in 1994 (Laws 1994, Chapter 363). The duties of the study committee were expanded in 1995 to include an examination of the procedures used by state agencies to conduct administrative appeals, and to review models for a uniform state administrative appeals process (Laws 1995, Chapter 251). The creation of the Office of Administrative Hearings was one of the many outcomes of the larger process of regulatory review. For more about the joint study committee, see the “Ad Hoc Regulatory Reform and Enforcement Study Committee Report” dated December 1995, available at the Arizona Memory Project website. Subsequent reports are also available.
Laws 1995, Chapter 251 created the Office of Administrative Hearings. The OAH is overseen by a director who is appointed by the Governor, and must be qualified to serve as the chief administrative law judge. The director is authorized to adopt rules for carrying out the duties and powers of Title 41, Chapter 10, Article 6 (related to adjudicative hearings) and Article10 (related to uniform administrative hearing procedures).
Laws 1996, Chapter 102 revised the rules of notice and procedure, and provided for judicial review of OAH actions.
Laws 1997, Chapter 221 conformed state agency statutes to the uniform administrative appeals process and directed penalties imposed by state agencies to the state general fund.
Laws 1998, Chapter 57 required state agencies to provide subject matter training to the administrative law judge assigned to each agency.
Related Collections (Arizona State Archives)
- ADH1 – Office of Administrative Hearings