Article 2A.

Rules.

Part 1. General Provisions.

150B-18. Scope and effect.

This Article applies to an agency's exercise of its authority to adopt a rule. A rule is not valid unless it is adopted in substantial compliance with this Article. An agency shall not seek to implement or enforce against any person a policy, guideline, or other interpretive statement that meets the definition of a rule contained in G.S. 150B-2(8a) if the policy, guideline, or other interpretive statement has not been adopted as a rule in accordance with this Article. (1991, c. 418, s. 1; 2011-398, s. 1; 2012-187, s. 2.)

 

150B-19. Restrictions on what can be adopted as a rule.

An agency may not adopt a rule that does one or more of the following:

(1) Implements or interprets a law unless that law or another law specifically authorizes the agency to do so.

(2) Enlarges the scope of a profession, occupation, or field of endeavor for which an occupational license is required.

(3) Imposes criminal liability or a civil penalty for an act or omission, including the violation of a rule, unless a law specifically authorizes the agency to do so or a law declares that violation of the rule is a criminal offense or is grounds for a civil penalty.

(4) Repeats the content of a law, a rule, or a federal regulation. A brief statement that informs the public of a requirement imposed by law does not violate this subdivision and satisfies the "reasonably necessary" standard of review set in G.S. 150B-21.9(a)(3).

(5) Establishes a fee or other charge for providing a service in fulfillment of a duty unless a law specifically authorizes the agency to do so or the fee or other charge is for one of the following:

a. A service to a State, federal, or local governmental unit.

b. A copy of part or all of a State publication or other document, the cost of mailing a document, or both.

c. A transcript of a public hearing.

d. A conference, workshop, or course.

e. Data processing services.

(6) Allows the agency to waive or modify a requirement set in a rule unless a rule establishes specific guidelines the agency must follow in determining whether to waive or modify the requirement.

(7) Repealed by Session Laws 2011-398, s. 61.2, effective July 25, 2011. (1973, c. 1331, s. 1; 1985, c. 746, s. 1; 1991, c. 418, s. 1; 1996, 2nd Ex. Sess., c. 18, s. 7.10(a); 2011-13, s. 1; 2011-398, s. 61.2.)

 

150B-19.1. Requirements for agencies in the rule-making process.

(a) In developing and drafting rules for adoption in accordance with this Article, agencies shall adhere to the following principles:

(1) An agency may adopt only rules that are expressly authorized by federal or State law and that are necessary to serve the public interest.

(2) An agency shall seek to reduce the burden upon those persons or entities who must comply with the rule.

(3) Rules shall be written in a clear and unambiguous manner and must be reasonably necessary to implement or interpret federal or State law.

(4) An agency shall consider the cumulative effect of all rules adopted by the agency related to the specific purpose for which the rule is proposed. The agency shall not adopt a rule that is unnecessary or redundant.

(5) When appropriate, rules shall be based on sound, reasonably available scientific, technical, economic, and other relevant information. Agencies shall include a reference to this information in the notice of text required by G.S. 150B-21.2(c).

(6) Rules shall be designed to achieve the regulatory objective in a cost-effective and timely manner.

(b) Each agency subject to this Article shall conduct an annual review of its rules to identify existing rules that are unnecessary, unduly burdensome, or inconsistent with the principles set forth in subsection (a) of this section. The agency shall repeal any rule identified by this review.

(c) Each agency subject to this Article shall post on its Web site, no later than the publication date of the notice of text in the North Carolina Register, all of the following:

(1) The text of a proposed rule.

(2) An explanation of the proposed rule and the reason for the proposed rule.

(3) The federal certification required by subsection (g) of this section.

(4) Instructions on how and where to submit oral or written comments on the proposed rule, including a description of the procedure by which a person can object to a proposed rule and subject the proposed rule to legislative review.

(5) Any fiscal note that has been prepared for the proposed rule.

If an agency proposes any change to a rule or fiscal note prior to the date it proposes to adopt a rule, the agency shall publish the proposed change on its Web site as soon as practicable after the change is drafted. If an agency's staff proposes any such change to be presented to the rule-making agency, the staff shall publish the proposed change on the agency's Web site as soon as practicable after the change is drafted.

(d) Each agency shall determine whether its policies and programs overlap with the policies and programs of another agency. In the event two or more agencies' policies and programs overlap, the agencies shall coordinate the rules adopted by each agency to avoid unnecessary, unduly burdensome, or inconsistent rules.

(e) Each agency shall quantify the costs and benefits to all parties of a proposed rule to the greatest extent possible. Prior to submission of a proposed rule for publication in accordance with G.S. 150B-21.2, the agency shall review the details of any fiscal note prepared in connection with the proposed rule and approve the fiscal note before submission.

(f) If the agency determines that a proposed rule will have a substantial economic impact as defined in G.S. 150B-21.4(b1), the agency shall consider at least two alternatives to the proposed rule. The alternatives may have been identified by the agency or by members of the public.

(g) Whenever an agency proposes a rule that is purported to implement a federal law, or required by or necessary for compliance with federal law, or on which the receipt of federal funds is conditioned, the agency shall:

(1) Prepare a certification identifying the federal law requiring adoption of the proposed rule. The certification shall contain a statement setting forth the reasons why the proposed rule is required by federal law. If all or part of the proposed rule is not required by federal law or exceeds the requirements of federal law, then the certification shall state the reasons for that opinion.

(2) Post the certification on the agency Web site in accordance with subsection (c) of this section.

(3) Maintain a copy of the federal law and provide to the Office of State Budget and Management the citation to the federal law requiring or pertaining to the proposed rule.

(h) Repealed by Session Laws 2014-120, s. 6(a), effective September 18, 2014, and applicable to proposed rules published on or after that date. (2011-398, s. 2; 2012-187, s. 3; 2013-143, s. 1.1; 2014-120, s. 6(a).)

 

150B-19.2: Repealed by Session Laws 2013-413, s. 3(c). For effective date, see editor's note.

 

150B-19.3. Limitation on certain environmental rules.

(a) An agency authorized to implement and enforce State and federal environmental laws may not adopt a rule for the protection of the environment or natural resources that imposes a more restrictive standard, limitation, or requirement than those imposed by federal law or rule, if a federal law or rule pertaining to the same subject matter has been adopted, unless adoption of the rule is required by one of the subdivisions of this subsection. A rule required by one of the following subdivisions of this subsection shall be subject to the provisions of G.S. 150B-21.3(b1) as if the rule received written objections from 10 or more persons under G.S. 150B-21.3(b2):

(1) A serious and unforeseen threat to the public health, safety, or welfare.

(2) An act of the General Assembly or United States Congress that expressly requires the agency to adopt rules.

(3) A change in federal or State budgetary policy.

(4) A federal regulation required by an act of the United States Congress to be adopted or administered by the State.

(5) A court order.

(b) For purposes of this section, "an agency authorized to implement and enforce State and federal environmental laws" means any of the following:

(1) The Department of Environmental Quality created pursuant to G.S. 143B-279.1.

(2) The Environmental Management Commission created pursuant to G.S. 143B-282.

(3) The Coastal Resources Commission established pursuant to G.S. 113A-104.

(4) The Marine Fisheries Commission created pursuant to G.S. 143B-289.51.

(5) The Wildlife Resources Commission created pursuant to G.S. 143-240.

(6) The Commission for Public Health created pursuant to G.S. 130A-29.

(7) The Sedimentation Control Commission created pursuant to G.S. 143B-298.

(8) The North Carolina Oil and Gas Commission created pursuant to G.S. 143B-293.1.

(9) The Pesticide Board created pursuant to G.S. 143-436. (2011-398, s. 2; 2012-143, s. 1(d); 2014-4, s. 4(c); 2014-120, s. 57; 2015-241, s. 14.30(u).)

 

150B-20. Petitioning an agency to adopt a rule.

(a) Petition. - A person may petition an agency to adopt a rule by submitting to the agency a written rule-making petition requesting the adoption. A person may submit written comments with a rule-making petition. If a rule-making petition requests the agency to create or amend a rule, the person must submit the proposed text of the requested rule change and a statement of the effect of the requested rule change. Each agency must establish by rule the procedure for submitting a rule-making petition to it and the procedure the agency follows in considering a rule-making petition. An agency receiving a rule-making petition shall, within three business days of receipt of the petition, send the proposed text of the requested rule change and the statement of the effect of the requested rule change to the Office of Administrative Hearings. The Office of Administrative Hearings shall, within three business days of receipt of the proposed text of the requested rule change and the statement of the effect of the requested rule change, distribute the information via its mailing list and publish the information on its Web site.

(b) Time. - An agency must grant or deny a rule-making petition submitted to it within 30 days after the date the rule-making petition is submitted, unless the agency is a board or commission. If the agency is a board or commission, it must grant or deny a rule-making petition within 120 days after the date the rule-making petition is submitted.

(c) Action. - If an agency denies a rule-making petition, it must send the person who submitted the petition a written statement of the reasons for denying the petition. If an agency grants a rule-making petition, it must inform the person who submitted the rule-making petition of its decision and must initiate rule-making proceedings. When an agency grants a rule-making petition, the notice of text it publishes in the North Carolina Register may state that the agency is initiating rule making as the result of a rule-making petition and state the name of the person who submitted the rule-making petition. If the rule-making petition requested the creation or amendment of a rule, the notice of text the agency publishes may set out the text of the requested rule change submitted with the rule-making petition and state whether the agency endorses the proposed text.

(d) Review. - Denial of a rule-making petition is a final agency decision and is subject to judicial review under Article 4 of this Chapter. Failure of an agency to grant or deny a rule-making petition within the time limits set in subsection (b) is a denial of the rule-making petition.

(e) Repealed by Session Laws 1996, Second Extra Session, c. 18, s. 7.10(b). (1973, c. 1331, s. 1; 1985, c. 746, s. 1; 1991, c. 418, s. 1; c. 477, s. 2; 1996, 2nd Ex. Sess., c. 18, s. 7.10(b); 1997-34, s. 2; 2003-229, s. 1; 2017-211, s. 1(a).)

 

150B-21. Agency must designate rule-making coordinator; duties of coordinator.

(a) Each agency must designate one or more rule-making coordinators to oversee the agency's rule-making functions. The coordinator shall serve as the liaison between the agency, other agencies, units of local government, and the public in the rule-making process. The coordinator shall report directly to the agency head.

(b) The rule-making coordinator shall be responsible for the following:

(1) Preparing notices of public hearings.

(2) Coordinating access to the agency's rules.

(3) Screening all proposed rule actions prior to publication in the North Carolina Register to assure that an accurate fiscal note has been completed as required by G.S. 150B-21.4(b).

(4) Consulting with the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners and the North Carolina League of Municipalities to determine which local governments would be affected by any proposed rule action.

(5) Providing the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners and the North Carolina League of Municipalities with copies of all fiscal notes required by G.S. 150B-21.4(b), prior to publication in the North Carolina Register of the proposed text of a permanent rule change.

(6) Coordinating the submission of proposed rules to the Governor as provided by G.S. 150B-21.26.

(c) At the earliest point in the rule-making process and in consultation with the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners, the North Carolina League of Municipalities, and with samples of county managers or city managers, as appropriate, the rule-making coordinator shall lead the agency's efforts in the development and drafting of any rules or rule changes that could:

(1) Require any unit of local government, including a county, city, school administrative unit, or other local entity funded by or through a unit of local government to carry out additional or modified responsibilities;

(2) Increase the cost of providing or delivering a public service funded in whole or in part by any unit of local government; or

(3) Otherwise affect the expenditures or revenues of a unit of local government.

(d) The rule-making coordinator shall send to the Office of State Budget and Management for compilation a copy of each final fiscal note prepared pursuant to G.S. 150B-21.4(b).

(e) The rule-making coordinator shall compile a schedule of the administrative rules and amendments expected to be proposed during the next fiscal year. The coordinator shall provide a copy of the schedule to the Office of State Budget and Management in a manner proposed by that Office.

(f) Repealed by Session Laws 2011-398, s. 3, effective October 1, 2011, and applicable to rules adopted on or after that date. (1991, c. 418, s. 1; 1995, c. 415, s. 1; c. 507, s. 27.8(v); 2000-140, s. 93.1(a); 2001-424, s. 12.2(b); 2011-398, s. 3.)

 

Part 2. Adoption of Rules.

150B-21.1. Procedure for adopting a temporary rule.

(a) Adoption. - An agency may adopt a temporary rule when it finds that adherence to the notice and hearing requirements of G.S. 150B-21.2 would be contrary to the public interest and that the immediate adoption of the rule is required by one or more of the following:

(1) A serious and unforeseen threat to the public health, safety, or welfare.

(2) The effective date of a recent act of the General Assembly or the United States Congress.

(3) A recent change in federal or State budgetary policy.

(4) A recent federal regulation.

(5) A recent court order.

(6) The need for a rule establishing review criteria as authorized by G.S. 131E-183(b) to complement or be made consistent with the State Medical Facilities Plan approved by the Governor, if the rule addresses a matter included in the State Medical Facilities Plan, and the proposed rule and a notice of public hearing is submitted to the Codifier of Rules prior to the effective date of the Plan.

(7) The need for the Wildlife Resources Commission to establish any of the following:

a. No wake zones.

b. Hunting or fishing seasons, including provisions for manner of take or any other conditions required for the implementation of such season.

c. Hunting or fishing bag limits.

d. Management of public game lands as defined in G.S. 113-129(8a).

(8) The need for the Secretary of State to implement the certification technology provisions of Article 11A of Chapter 66 of the General Statutes, to adopt uniform Statements of Policy that have been officially adopted by the North American Securities Administrators Association, Inc., for the purpose of promoting uniformity of state securities regulation, and to adopt rules governing the conduct of hearings pursuant to this Chapter.

(9) The need for the Commissioner of Insurance to implement the provisions of G.S. 58-2-205.

(10) The need for the State Chief Information Officer to implement the information technology procurement provisions of Article 15 of Chapter 143B of the General Statutes.

(11) The need for the State Board of Elections to adopt a temporary rule after prior notice or hearing or upon any abbreviated notice or hearing the agency finds practical for one or more of the following:

a. In accordance with the provisions of G.S. 163-22.2.

b. To implement any provisions of state or federal law for which the State Board of Elections has been authorized to adopt rules.

c. The need for the rule to become effective immediately in order to preserve the integrity of upcoming elections and the elections process.

(12) Repealed by Session Laws 2015-264, s. 22, effective October 1, 2015.

(13), (14) Reserved.

(15) Expired pursuant to Session Laws 2002-164, s. 5, effective October 1, 2004.

(16) Expired pursuant to Session Laws 2003-184, s. 3, effective July 1, 2005.

(17) To maximize receipt of federal funds for the Medicaid or NC Health Choice programs within existing State appropriations, to reduce Medicaid or NC Health Choice expenditures, and to reduce Medicaid and NC Health Choice fraud and abuse.

(a1) Recodified as subdivision (a)(16) of this section by Session Laws 2004-156, s. 1.

(a2) A recent act, change, regulation, or order as used in subdivisions (2) through (5) of subsection (a) of this section means an act, change, regulation, or order occurring or made effective no more than 210 days prior to the submission of a temporary rule to the Rules Review Commission. Upon written request of the agency, the Commission may waive the 210-day requirement upon consideration of the degree of public benefit, whether the agency had control over the circumstances that required the requested waiver, notice to and opposition by the public, the need for the waiver, and previous requests for waivers submitted by the agency.

(a3) Unless otherwise provided by law, the agency shall:

(1) At least 30 business days prior to adopting a temporary rule, submit the rule and a notice of public hearing to the Codifier of Rules, and the Codifier of Rules shall publish the proposed temporary rule and the notice of public hearing on the Internet to be posted within five business days.

(2) At least 30 business days prior to adopting a temporary rule, notify persons on the mailing list maintained pursuant to G.S. 150B-21.2(d) and any other interested parties of its intent to adopt a temporary rule and of the public hearing.

(3) Accept written comments on the proposed temporary rule for at least 15 business days prior to adoption of the temporary rule.

(4) Hold at least one public hearing on the proposed temporary rule no less than five days after the rule and notice have been published.

(a4) An agency must also prepare a written statement of its findings of need for a temporary rule stating why adherence to the notice and hearing requirements in G.S. 150B-21.2 would be contrary to the public interest and why the immediate adoption of the rule is required. If the temporary rule establishes a new fee or increases an existing fee, the agency shall include in the written statement that it has complied with the requirements of G.S. 12-3.1. The statement must be signed by the head of the agency adopting the temporary rule.

(b) Review. - When an agency adopts a temporary rule it must submit the rule and the agency's written statement of its findings of the need for the rule to the Rules Review Commission. Within 15 business days after receiving the proposed temporary rule, the Commission shall review the agency's written statement of findings of need for the rule and the rule to determine whether the statement meets the criteria listed in subsection (a) of this section and the rule meets the standards in G.S. 150B-21.9. The Commission shall direct a member of its staff who is an attorney licensed to practice law in North Carolina to review the statement of findings of need and the rule. The staff member shall make a recommendation to the Commission, which must be approved by the Commission or its designee. The Commission's designee shall be a panel of at least three members of the Commission. In reviewing the statement, the Commission or its designee may consider any information submitted by the agency or another person. If the Commission or its designee finds that the statement meets the criteria listed in subsection (a) of this section and the rule meets the standards in G.S. 150B-21.9, the Commission or its designee must approve the temporary rule and deliver the rule to the Codifier of Rules within two business days of approval. The Codifier of Rules must enter the rule into the North Carolina Administrative Code on the sixth business day following receipt from the Commission or its designee.

(b1) If the Commission or its designee finds that the statement does not meet the criteria listed in subsection (a) of this section or that the rule does not meet the standards in G.S. 150B-21.9, the Commission or its designee must immediately notify the head of the agency. The agency may supplement its statement of need with additional findings or submit a new statement. If the agency provides additional findings or submits a new statement, the Commission or its designee must review the additional findings or new statement within five business days after the agency submits the additional findings or new statement. If the Commission or its designee again finds that the statement does not meet the criteria listed in subsection (a) of this section or that the rule does not meet the standards in G.S. 150B-21.9, the Commission or its designee must immediately notify the head of the agency and return the rule to the agency.

(b2) If an agency decides not to provide additional findings or submit a new statement when notified by the Commission or its designee that the agency's findings of need for a rule do not meet the required criteria or that the rule does not meet the required standards, the agency must notify the Commission or its designee of its decision. The Commission or its designee shall then return the rule to the agency. When the Commission returns a rule to an agency in accordance with this subsection, the agency may file an action for declaratory judgment in Wake County Superior Court pursuant to Article 26 of Chapter 1 of the General Statutes.

(b3) Notwithstanding any other provision of this subsection, if the agency has not complied with the provisions of G.S. 12-3.1, the Codifier of Rules shall not enter the rule into the Code.

(c) Standing. - A person aggrieved by a temporary rule adopted by an agency may file an action for declaratory judgment in Wake County Superior Court pursuant to Article 26 of Chapter 1 of the General Statutes. In the action, the court shall determine whether the agency's written statement of findings of need for the rule meets the criteria listed in subsection (a) of this section and whether the rule meets the standards in G.S. 150B-21.9. The court shall not grant an ex parte temporary restraining order.

(c1) Filing a petition for rule making or a request for a declaratory ruling with the agency that adopted the rule is not a prerequisite to filing an action under this subsection. A person who files an action for declaratory judgment under this subsection must serve a copy of the complaint on the agency that adopted the rule being contested, the Codifier of Rules, and the Commission.

(d) Effective Date and Expiration. - A temporary rule becomes effective on the date specified in G.S. 150B-21.3. A temporary rule expires on the earliest of the following dates:

(1) The date specified in the rule.

(2) The effective date of the permanent rule adopted to replace the temporary rule, if the Commission approves the permanent rule.

(3) The date the Commission returns to an agency a permanent rule the agency adopted to replace the temporary rule.

(4) The effective date of an act of the General Assembly that specifically disapproves a permanent rule adopted to replace the temporary rule.

(5) 270 days from the date the temporary rule was published in the North Carolina Register, unless the permanent rule adopted to replace the temporary rule has been submitted to the Commission.

(e) Publication. - When the Codifier of Rules enters a temporary rule in the North Carolina Administrative Code, the Codifier must publish the rule in the North Carolina Register. (1973, c. 1331, s. 1; 1981, c. 688, s. 12; 1981 (Reg. Sess., 1982), c. 1232, s. 1; 1983, c. 857; c. 927, ss. 4, 8; 1985, c. 746, s. 1; 1985 (Reg. Sess., 1986), c. 1022, s. 1(1), 1(8); 1987, c. 285, ss. 10-12; 1991, c. 418, s. 1; 1991 (Reg. Sess., 1992), c. 900, s. 149; 1993, c. 553, s. 54; 1995, c. 507, s. 27.8(c); 1996, 2nd Ex. Sess., c. 18, ss. 7.10(c), (d); 1997-403, ss. 1-3; 1998-127, s. 2; 1998-212, s. 26B(h); 1999-434, s. 16; 1999-453, s. 5(a); 2000-69, ss. 3, 5; 2000-148, ss. 4, 5; 2001-126, s. 12; 2001-421, ss. 2.3, 5.3; 2001-424, ss. 27.17(b), (c), 27.22(a), (b); 2001-487, s. 21(g); 2002-97, ss. 2, 3; 2002-164, s. 4.6; 2003-184, s. 3; 2003-229, s. 2; 2003-413, ss. 27, 29; 2004-156, s. 1; 2011-398, s. 4; 2013-360, s. 12H.9(d); 2013-413, s. 39; 2015-241, s. 7A.4(ee); 2015-264, s. 22; 2017-6, s. 3; 2018-146, ss. 3.1(a), (b), 6.1.)

 

150B-21.1A. Adoption of an emergency rule.

(a) Adoption. - An agency may adopt an emergency rule without prior notice or hearing or upon any abbreviated notice or hearing the agency finds practical when it finds that adherence to the notice and hearing requirements of this Part would be contrary to the public interest and that the immediate adoption of the rule is required by a serious and unforeseen threat to the public health or safety. When an agency adopts an emergency rule, it must simultaneously commence the process for adopting a temporary rule by submitting the rule to the Codifier of Rules for publication on the Internet in accordance with G.S. 150B-21.1(a3). The Department of Health and Human Services or the appropriate rule-making agency within the Department may adopt emergency rules in accordance with this section when a recent act of the General Assembly or the United States Congress or a recent change in federal regulations authorizes new or increased services or benefits for children and families and the emergency rule is necessary to implement the change in State or federal law.

(b) Review. - An agency must prepare a written statement of its findings of need for an emergency rule. The statement must be signed by the head of the agency adopting the rule. When an agency adopts an emergency rule, it must submit the rule and the agency's written statement of its findings of the need for the rule to the Codifier of Rules. Within two business days after an agency submits an emergency rule, the Codifier of Rules must review the agency's written statement of findings of need for the rule to determine whether the statement of need meets the criteria in subsection (a) of this section. In reviewing the statement, the Codifier of Rules may consider any information submitted by the agency or another person. If the Codifier of Rules finds that the statement meets the criteria, the Codifier of Rules must notify the head of the agency and enter the rule in the North Carolina Administrative Code on the sixth business day following approval by the Codifier of Rules.

If the Codifier of Rules finds that the statement does not meet the criteria in subsection (a) of this section, the Codifier of Rules must immediately notify the head of the agency. The agency may supplement its statement of need with additional findings or submit a new statement. If the agency provides additional findings or submits a new statement, the Codifier of Rules must review the additional findings or new statement within one business day after the agency submits the additional findings or new statement. If the Codifier of Rules again finds that the statement does not meet the criteria in subsection (a) of this section, the Codifier of Rules must immediately notify the head of the agency.

If an agency decides not to provide additional findings or submit a new statement when notified by the Codifier of Rules that the agency's findings of need for a rule do not meet the required criteria, the agency must notify the Codifier of Rules of its decision. The Codifier of Rules must then enter the rule in the North Carolina Administrative Code on the sixth business day after receiving notice of the agency's decision. Notwithstanding any other provision of this subsection, if the agency has not complied with the provisions of G.S. 12-3.1, the Codifier of Rules shall not enter the rule into the Code.

(c) Standing. - A person aggrieved by an emergency rule adopted by an agency may file an action for declaratory judgment in Wake County Superior Court pursuant to Article 26 of Chapter 1 of the General Statutes. In the action, the court shall determine whether the agency's written statement of findings of need for the rule meets the criteria listed in subsection (a) of this section and whether the rule meets the standards in G.S. 150B-21.9. The court shall not grant an ex parte temporary restraining order.

Filing a petition for rule making or a request for a declaratory ruling with the agency that adopted the rule is not a prerequisite to filing an action under this subsection. A person who files an action for declaratory judgment under this subsection must serve a copy of the complaint on the agency that adopted the rule being contested, the Codifier of Rules, and the Commission.

(d) Effective Date and Expiration. - An emergency rule becomes effective on the date specified in G.S. 150B-21.3. An emergency rule expires on the earliest of the following dates:

(1) The date specified in the rule.

(2) The effective date of the temporary rule adopted to replace the emergency rule, if the Commission approves the temporary rule.

(3) The date the Commission returns to an agency a temporary rule the agency adopted to replace the emergency rule.

(4) Sixty days from the date the emergency rule was published in the North Carolina Register, unless the temporary rule adopted to replace the emergency rule has been submitted to the Commission.

(e) Publication. - When the Codifier of Rules enters an emergency rule in the North Carolina Administrative Code, the Codifier of Rules must publish the rule in the North Carolina Register. (2003-229, s. 3.)

 

150B-21.1B: Expired pursuant to Session Laws 2009-475, s. 16, effective June 30, 2012.

 

150B-21.2. Procedure for adopting a permanent rule.

(a) Steps. - Before an agency adopts a permanent rule, the agency must comply with the requirements of G.S. 150B-19.1, and it must take the following actions:

(1) Publish a notice of text in the North Carolina Register.

(2) When required by G.S. 150B-21.4, prepare or obtain a fiscal note for the proposed rule.

(3) Repealed by Session Laws 2003-229, s. 4, effective July 1, 2003.

(4) When required by subsection (e) of this section, hold a public hearing on the proposed rule after publication of the proposed text of the rule.

(5) Accept oral or written comments on the proposed rule as required by subsection (f) of this section.

(b) Repealed by Session Laws 2003-229, s. 4, effective July 1, 2003.

(c) Notice of Text. - A notice of the proposed text of a rule must include all of the following:

(1) The text of the proposed rule, unless the rule is a readoption without substantive changes to the existing rule proposed in accordance with G.S. 150B-21.3A.

(2) A short explanation of the reason for the proposed rule.

(2a) A link to the agency's Web site containing the information required by G.S. 150B-19.1(c).

(3) A citation to the law that gives the agency the authority to adopt the rule.

(4) The proposed effective date of the rule.

(5) The date, time, and place of any public hearing scheduled on the rule.

(6) Instructions on how a person may demand a public hearing on a proposed rule if the notice does not schedule a public hearing on the proposed rule and subsection (e) of this section requires the agency to hold a public hearing on the proposed rule when requested to do so.

(7) The period of time during which and the person within the agency to whom written comments may be submitted on the proposed rule.

(8) If a fiscal note has been prepared for the rule, a statement that a copy of the fiscal note can be obtained from the agency.

(9) Repealed by Session Laws 2013-143, s. 1, effective June 19, 2013.

(d) Mailing List. - An agency must maintain a mailing list of persons who have requested notice of rule making. When an agency publishes in the North Carolina Register a notice of text of a proposed rule, it must mail a copy of the notice or text to each person on the mailing list who has requested notice on the subject matter described in the notice or the rule affected. An agency may charge an annual fee to each person on the agency's mailing list to cover copying and mailing costs.

(e) Hearing. - An agency must hold a public hearing on a rule it proposes to adopt if the agency publishes the text of the proposed rule in the North Carolina Register and the agency receives a written request for a public hearing on the proposed rule within 15 days after the notice of text is published. The agency must accept comments at the public hearing on both the proposed rule and any fiscal note that has been prepared in connection with the proposed rule.

An agency may hold a public hearing on a proposed rule and fiscal note in other circumstances. When an agency is required to hold a public hearing on a proposed rule or decides to hold a public hearing on a proposed rule when it is not required to do so, the agency must publish in the North Carolina Register a notice of the date, time, and place of the public hearing. The hearing date of a public hearing held after the agency publishes notice of the hearing in the North Carolina Register must be at least 15 days after the date the notice is published. If notice of a public hearing has been published in the North Carolina Register and that public hearing has been cancelled, the agency shall publish notice in the North Carolina Register at least 15 days prior to the date of any rescheduled hearing.

(f) Comments. - An agency must accept comments on the text of a proposed rule that is published in the North Carolina Register and any fiscal note that has been prepared in connection with the proposed rule for at least 60 days after the text is published or until the date of any public hearing held on the proposed rule, whichever is longer. An agency must consider fully all written and oral comments received.

(g) Adoption. - An agency shall not adopt a rule until the time for commenting on the proposed text of the rule has elapsed and shall not adopt a rule if more than 12 months have elapsed since the end of the time for commenting on the proposed text of the rule. Prior to adoption, an agency shall review any fiscal note that has been prepared for the proposed rule and consider any public comments received in connection with the proposed rule or the fiscal note. An agency shall not adopt a rule that differs substantially from the text of a proposed rule published in the North Carolina Register unless the agency publishes the text of the proposed different rule in the North Carolina Register and accepts comments on the proposed different rule for the time set in subsection (f) of this section.

An adopted rule differs substantially from a proposed rule if it does one or more of the following:

(1) Affects the interests of persons who, based on the proposed text of the rule published in the North Carolina Register, could not reasonably have determined that the rule would affect their interests.

(2) Addresses a subject matter or an issue that is not addressed in the proposed text of the rule.

(3) Produces an effect that could not reasonably have been expected based on the proposed text of the rule.

When an agency adopts a rule, it shall not take subsequent action on the rule without following the procedures in this Part. An agency must submit an adopted rule to the Rules Review Commission within 30 days of the agency's adoption of the rule.

(h) Explanation. - An agency must issue a concise written statement explaining why the agency adopted a rule if, within 15 days after the agency adopts the rule, a person asks the agency to do so. The explanation must state the principal reasons for and against adopting the rule and must discuss why the agency rejected any arguments made or considerations urged against the adoption of the rule. The agency must issue the explanation within 15 days after receipt of the request for an explanation.

(i) Record. - An agency must keep a record of a rule-making proceeding. The record must include all written comments received, a transcript or recording of any public hearing held on the rule, any fiscal note that has been prepared for the rule, and any written explanation made by the agency for adopting the rule. (1973, c. 1331, s. 1; 1975, 2nd Sess., c. 983, s. 63; 1977, c. 915, s. 2; 1983, c. 927, ss. 3, 7; 1985, c. 746, s. 1; 1985 (Reg. Sess., 1986), c. 1022, s. 1(1), (7); 1987, c. 285, ss. 7-9; 1989, c. 5, s. 1; 1991, c. 418, s. 1; 1995, c. 507, s. 27.8(d); 1996, 2nd Ex. Sess., c. 18, s. 7.10(e); 2003-229, s. 4; 2011-398, s. 5; 2013-143, s. 1; 2013-413, s. 3(a).)

 

150B-21.3. Effective date of rules.

(a) Temporary and Emergency Rules. - A temporary rule or an emergency rule becomes effective on the date the Codifier of Rules enters the rule in the North Carolina Administrative Code.

(b) Permanent Rule. - A permanent rule approved by the Commission becomes effective on the first day of the month following the month the rule is approved by the Commission, unless the Commission received written objections to the rule in accordance with subsection (b2) of this section, or unless the agency that adopted the rule specifies a later effective date.

(b1) Delayed Effective Dates. - Except as provided in G.S. 14-4.1, if the Commission received written objections to the rule in accordance with subsection (b2) of this section, the rule becomes effective on the earlier of the thirty-first legislative day or the day of adjournment of the next regular session of the General Assembly that begins at least 25 days after the date the Commission approved the rule, unless a different effective date applies under this section. If a bill that specifically disapproves the rule is introduced in either house of the General Assembly before the thirty-first legislative day of that session, the rule becomes effective on the earlier of either the day an unfavorable final action is taken on the bill or the day that session of the General Assembly adjourns without ratifying a bill that specifically disapproves the rule. If the agency adopting the rule specifies a later effective date than the date that would otherwise apply under this subsection, the later date applies. A permanent rule that is not approved by the Commission or that is specifically disapproved by a bill enacted into law before it becomes effective does not become effective.

A bill specifically disapproves a rule if it contains a provision that refers to the rule by appropriate North Carolina Administrative Code citation and states that the rule is disapproved. Notwithstanding any rule of either house of the General Assembly, any member of the General Assembly may introduce a bill during the first 30 legislative days of any regular session to disapprove a rule that has been approved by the Commission and that either has not become effective or has become effective by executive order under subsection (c) of this section.

(b2) Objection. - Any person who objects to the adoption of a permanent rule may submit written comments to the agency. If the objection is not resolved prior to adoption of the rule, a person may submit written objections to the Commission. If the Commission receives written objections from 10 or more persons, no later than 5:00 P.M. of the day following the day the Commission approves the rule, clearly requesting review by the legislature in accordance with instructions posted on the agency's Web site pursuant to G.S. 150B-19.1(c)(4), and the Commission approves the rule, the rule will become effective as provided in subsection (b1) of this section. The Commission shall notify the agency that the rule is subject to legislative disapproval on the day following the day it receives 10 or more written objections. When the requirements of this subsection have been met and a rule is subject to legislative disapproval, the agency may adopt the rule as a temporary rule if the rule would have met the criteria listed in G.S. 150B-21.1(a) at the time the notice of text for the permanent rule was published in the North Carolina Register. If the Commission receives objections from 10 or more persons clearly requesting review by the legislature, and the rule objected to is one of a group of related rules adopted by the agency at the same time, the agency that adopted the rule may cause any of the other rules in the group to become effective as provided in subsection (b1) of this section by submitting a written statement to that effect to the Commission before the other rules become effective.

(c) Executive Order Exception. - The Governor may, by executive order, make effective a permanent rule that has been approved by the Commission but the effective date of which has been delayed in accordance with subsection (b1) of this section upon finding that it is necessary that the rule become effective in order to protect public health, safety, or welfare. A rule made effective by executive order becomes effective on the date the order is issued or at a later date specified in the order. When the Codifier of Rules enters in the North Carolina Administrative Code a rule made effective by executive order, the entry must reflect this action.

A rule that is made effective by executive order remains in effect unless it is specifically disapproved by the General Assembly in a bill enacted into law on or before the day of adjournment of the regular session of the General Assembly that begins at least 25 days after the date the executive order is issued. A rule that is made effective by executive order and that is specifically disapproved by a bill enacted into law is repealed as of the date specified in the bill. If a rule that is made effective by executive order is not specifically disapproved by a bill enacted into law within the time set by this subsection, the Codifier of Rules must note this in the North Carolina Administrative Code.

(c1) Fees. - Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, a rule that establishes a new fee or increases an existing fee shall not become effective until the agency has complied with the requirements of G.S. 12-3.1.

(d) Legislative Day and Day of Adjournment. - As used in this section:

(1) A "legislative day" is a day on which either house of the General Assembly convenes in regular session.

(2) The "day of adjournment" of a regular session held in an odd-numbered year is the day the General Assembly adjourns by joint resolution or by operation of law for more than 30 days.

(3) The "day of adjournment" of a regular session held in an even-numbered year is the day the General Assembly adjourns sine die.

(e) OSHA Standard. - A permanent rule concerning an occupational safety and health standard that is adopted by the Occupational Safety and Health Division of the Department of Labor and is identical to a federal regulation promulgated by the Secretary of the United States Department of Labor becomes effective on the date the Division delivers the rule to the Codifier of Rules, unless the Division specifies a later effective date. If the Division specifies a later effective date, the rule becomes effective on that date.

(f) Technical Change. - A permanent rule for which no notice or hearing is required under G.S. 150B-21.5(a)(1) through (a)(5) or G.S. 150B-21.5(b) becomes effective on the first day of the month following the month the rule is approved by the Rules Review Commission. (1991, c. 418, s. 1; 1995, c. 507, s. 27.8(e); 1995 (Reg. Sess., 1996), c. 742, s. 43; 1996, 2nd Ex. Sess., c. 18, s. 7.10(f); 1997-34, s. 3; 2001-487, s. 80(b); 2002-97, s. 5; 2003-229, s. 5; 2004-156, ss. 2, 3; 2012-194, s. 66.5(b); 2015-264, s. 23; 2019-198, s. 2.)

 

150B-21.3A. Periodic review and expiration of existing rules.

(a) Definitions. - For purposes of this section, the following definitions apply:

(1) Commission. - Means the Rules Review Commission.

(2) Committee. - Means the Joint Legislative Administrative Procedure Oversight Committee.

(2a) Necessary rule. - Means any rule other than an unnecessary rule.

(3), (4) Repealed by Session Laws 2019-140, s. 3(a), effective July 19, 2019, and applicable to agency rule reports submitted to the Office of Administrative Hearings pursuant to G.S. 150B-21.3A(c)(1) on or after October 1, 2019.

(5) Public comment. - Means written comments objecting to the rule, in whole or in part, or objecting to an agency's determination of the rule as necessary or unnecessary, received by an agency from any member of the public, including an association or other organization representing the regulated community or other members of the public.

(6) Unnecessary rule. - Means a rule that the agency determines to be obsolete, redundant, or otherwise not needed.

(b) Automatic Expiration. - Except as provided in subsection (e) of this section, any rule for which the agency that adopted the rule has not conducted a review in accordance with this section shall expire on the date set in the schedule established by the Commission pursuant to subsection (d) of this section.

(c) Review Process. - Each agency subject to this Article shall conduct a review of the agency's existing rules at least once every 10 years in accordance with the following process:

(1) Step 1: The agency shall conduct an analysis of each existing rule and make an initial determination as to whether the rule is necessary or unnecessary. The agency shall then post the results of the initial determination on its Web site and invite the public to comment on the rules and the agency's initial determination. The agency shall also submit the results of the initial determination to the Office of Administrative Hearings for posting on its Web site. The agency shall accept public comment for no less than 60 days following the posting. The agency shall review the public comments and prepare a brief response addressing the merits of each comment. After completing this process, the agency shall submit a report to the Commission. The report shall include the following items:

a. The agency's initial determination.

b. All public comments received in response to the agency's initial determination.

c. The agency's response to the public comments.

(2) Step 2: The Commission shall review the reports received from the agencies pursuant to subdivision (1) of this subsection. If a public comment relates to a rule that the agency determined to be unnecessary, the Commission shall determine whether the public comment has merit and, if so, designate the rule as necessary. For purposes of this subsection, a public comment has merit if it addresses the specific substance of the rule. The Commission shall prepare a final determination report and submit the report to the Committee for consultation in accordance with subdivision (3) of this subsection. The report shall include the following items:

a. The agency's initial determination.

b. All public comments received in response to the agency's initial determination.

c. The agency's response to the public comments.

d. A summary of the Commission's determinations regarding public comments.

e. Repealed by Session Laws 2019-140, s. 3(a), effective July 19, 2019, and applicable to agency rule reports submitted to the Office of Administrative Hearings pursuant to G.S. 150B-21.3A(c)(1) on or after October 1, 2019.

f. A determination that all rules that the agency determined to be unnecessary and for which no public comment was received or for which the Commission determined that the public comment was without merit shall expire on the first day of the month following the date the report becomes effective in accordance with this section.

g. A determination that all rules that the agency determined to be necessary or that the Commission designated as necessary shall be readopted as though the rules were new rules in accordance with this Article.

(3) Step 3: The final determination report shall not become effective until the agency has consulted with the Committee. The determinations contained in the report pursuant to sub-subdivisions f. and g. of subdivision (2) of this subsection shall become effective on the date the report is reviewed by the Committee. If the Committee does not hold a meeting to hear the consultation required by this subdivision within 60 days of receipt of the final determination report, the consultation requirement is deemed satisfied, and the determinations contained in the report become effective on the 61st day following the date the Committee received the report. If the Committee disagrees with a determination regarding a specific rule contained in the report, the Committee may recommend that the General Assembly direct the agency to conduct a review of the specific rule in accordance with this section in the next year following the consultation.

(d) Timetable. - The Commission shall establish a schedule for the review and readoption of existing rules in accordance with this section on a decennial basis as follows:

(1) With regard to the review process, the Commission shall assign each Title of the Administrative Code a date by which the review required by this section must be completed. In establishing the schedule, the Commission shall consider the scope and complexity of rules subject to this section and the resources required to conduct the review required by this section. The Commission shall have broad authority to modify the schedule and extend the time for review in appropriate circumstances. Except as provided in subsections (e) and (f) of this section, if the agency fails to conduct the review by the date set by the Commission, the rules contained in that Title which have not been reviewed will expire. The Commission shall report to the Committee any agency that fails to conduct the review. The Commission may exempt rules that have been adopted or amended within the previous 10 years from the review required by this section. However, any rule exempted on this basis must be reviewed in accordance with this section no more than 10 years following the last time the rule was amended.

(2) With regard to the readoption of rules as required by sub-subdivision (c)(2)g. of this section, once the final determination report becomes effective, the Commission shall establish a date by which the agency must readopt the rules. The Commission shall consult with the agency and shall consider the agency's rule-making priorities in establishing the readoption date. The agency may amend a rule as part of the readoption process. If a rule is readopted without substantive change or if the rule is amended to impose a less stringent burden on regulated persons, the agency is not required to prepare a fiscal note as provided by G.S. 150B-21.4.

(e) Exclusions. - The Commission shall report annually to the Committee on any rules that do not expire pursuant to this subsection. The following rules shall not expire as provided in this section:

(1) Rules adopted to conform to or implement federal law.

(2) Rules deemed by the Boards of Trustees established under G.S. 128-28 and G.S. 135-6 to protect inchoate or accrued rights of members of the Retirement Systems administered by the State Treasurer.

(e1) Repealed by Session Laws 2019-140, s. 3(a), effective July 19, 2019, and applicable to agency rule reports submitted to the Office of Administrative Hearings pursuant to G.S. 150B-21.3A(c)(1) on or after October 1, 2019.

(f) Other Reviews. - Notwithstanding any provision of this section, an agency may subject a rule that it determines to be unnecessary to review under this section at any time by notifying the Commission that it wishes to be placed on the schedule for the current year. The Commission may also subject a rule to review under this section at any time by notifying the agency that the rule has been placed on the schedule for the current year. (2013-413, s. 3(b); 2014-115, s. 17; 2014-120, s. 2; 2015-164, s. 7; 2015-286, s. 1.6(a); 2019-140, s. 3(a).)

 

150B-21.4. Fiscal and regulatory impact analysis on rules.

(a) State Funds. - Before an agency publishes in the North Carolina Register the proposed text of a permanent rule change that would require the expenditure or distribution of funds subject to the State Budget Act, Chapter 143C of the General Statutes, it must submit the text of the proposed rule change, an analysis of the proposed rule change, and a fiscal note on the proposed rule change to the Office of State Budget and Management and obtain certification from the Office of State Budget and Management that the funds that would be required by the proposed rule change are available. The fiscal note must state the amount of funds that would be expended or distributed as a result of the proposed rule change and explain how the amount was computed. The Office of State Budget and Management must certify a proposed rule change if funds are available to cover the expenditure or distribution required by the proposed rule change.

(a1) DOT Analyses. - In addition to the requirements of subsection (a) of this section, any agency that adopts a rule affecting environmental permitting of Department of Transportation projects shall conduct an analysis to determine if the rule will result in an increased cost to the Department of Transportation. The analysis shall be conducted and submitted to the Board of Transportation when the agency submits the notice of text for publication. The agency shall consider any recommendations offered by the Board of Transportation prior to adopting the rule. Once a rule subject to this subsection is adopted, the Board of Transportation may submit any objection to the rule it may have to the Rules Review Commission. If the Rules Review Commission receives an objection to a rule from the Board of Transportation no later than 5:00 P.M. of the day following the day the Commission approves the rule, then the rule shall only become effective as provided in G.S. 150B-21.3(b1).

(b) Local Funds. - Before an agency publishes in the North Carolina Register the proposed text of a permanent rule change that would affect the expenditures or revenues of a unit of local government, it must submit the text of the proposed rule change and a fiscal note on the proposed rule change to the Office of State Budget and Management as provided by G.S. 150B-21.26, the Fiscal Research Division of the General Assembly, the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners, and the North Carolina League of Municipalities. The fiscal note must state the amount by which the proposed rule change would increase or decrease expenditures or revenues of a unit of local government and must explain how the amount was computed.

(b1) Substantial Economic Impact. - Before an agency publishes in the North Carolina Register the proposed text of a permanent rule change that would have a substantial economic impact and that is not identical to a federal regulation that the agency is required to adopt, the agency shall prepare a fiscal note for the proposed rule change and have the note approved by the Office of State Budget and Management. The agency must also obtain from the Office a certification that the agency adhered to the regulatory principles set forth in G.S. 150B-19.1(a)(2), (5), and (6). The agency may request the Office of State Budget and Management to prepare the fiscal note only after, working with the Office, it has exhausted all resources, internal and external, to otherwise prepare the required fiscal note. If an agency requests the Office of State Budget and Management to prepare a fiscal note for a proposed rule change, that Office must prepare the note within 90 days after receiving a written request for the note. If the Office of State Budget and Management fails to prepare a fiscal note within this time period, the agency proposing the rule change shall prepare a fiscal note. A fiscal note prepared in this circumstance does not require approval of the Office of State Budget and Management.

If an agency prepares the required fiscal note, the agency must submit the note to the Office of State Budget and Management for review. The Office of State Budget and Management shall review the fiscal note within 14 days after it is submitted and either approve the note or inform the agency in writing of the reasons why it does not approve the fiscal note. After addressing these reasons, the agency may submit the revised fiscal note to that Office for its review. If an agency is not sure whether a proposed rule change would have a substantial economic impact, the agency shall ask the Office of State Budget and Management to determine whether the proposed rule change has a substantial economic impact. Failure to prepare or obtain approval of the fiscal note as required by this subsection shall be a basis for objection to the rule under G.S. 150B-21.9(a)(4).

As used in this subsection, the term "substantial economic impact" means an aggregate financial impact on all persons affected of at least one million dollars ($1,000,000) in a 12-month period. In analyzing substantial economic impact, an agency shall do the following:

(1) Determine and identify the appropriate time frame of the analysis.

(2) Assess the baseline conditions against which the proposed rule is to be measured.

(3) Describe the persons who would be subject to the proposed rule and the type of expenditures these persons would be required to make.

(4) Estimate any additional costs that would be created by implementation of the proposed rule by measuring the incremental difference between the baseline and the future condition expected after implementation of the rule. The analysis should include direct costs as well as opportunity costs. Cost estimates must be monetized to the greatest extent possible. Where costs are not monetized, they must be listed and described.

(5) For costs that occur in the future, the agency shall determine the net present value of the costs by using a discount factor of seven percent (7%).

(b2) Content. - A fiscal note required by subsection (b1) of this section must contain the following:

(1) A description of the persons who would be affected by the proposed rule change.

(2) A description of the types of expenditures that persons affected by the proposed rule change would have to make to comply with the rule and an estimate of these expenditures.

(3) A description of the purpose and benefits of the proposed rule change.

(4) An explanation of how the estimate of expenditures was computed.

(5) A description of at least two alternatives to the proposed rule that were considered by the agency and the reason the alternatives were rejected. The alternatives may have been identified by the agency or by members of the public.

(c) Errors. - An erroneous fiscal note prepared in good faith does not affect the validity of a rule.

(d) If an agency proposes the repeal of an existing rule, the agency is not required to prepare a fiscal note on the proposed rule change as provided by this section. (1973, c. 1331, s. 1; 1979, 2nd Sess., c. 1137, s. 41.1; 1983, c. 761, s. 185; 1985, c. 746, s. 1; 1987, c. 827, s. 54; 1991, c. 418, s. 1; 1995, c. 415, s. 2; c. 507, s. 27.8(b); 2000-140, s. 93.1(a); 2001-424, s. 12.2(b); 2003-229, s. 6; 2005-276, s. 28.8(a); 2006-203, s. 124; 2011-398, s. 6; 2012-187, s. 4; 2013-149, s. 1; 2013-413, s. 2; 2014-115, s. 17; 2014-120, s. 6(b).)

 

150B-21.5. Circumstances when notice and rule-making hearing not required; circumstances when submission to the Commission not required.

(a) Amendment. - An agency is not required to publish a notice of text in the North Carolina Register, hold a public hearing, or submit the amended rule to the Commission for review when it proposes to amend a rule to do one of the following:

(1) Reletter or renumber the rule or subparts of the rule.

(2) Substitute one name for another when an organization or position is renamed.

(3) Correct a citation in the rule to another rule or law when the citation has become inaccurate since the rule was adopted because of the repeal or renumbering of the cited rule or law.

(4) Change information that is readily available to the public, such as an address, email address, a telephone number, or a Web site.

(5) Correct a typographical error.

(6) Repealed by Session Laws 2019-140, s. 1(a), effective July 19, 2019.

(a1) Response to Commission. - An agency is not required to publish a notice of text in the North Carolina Register or hold a public hearing when it proposes to change the rule in response to a request or an objection by the Commission, unless the Commission determines that the change is substantial.

(b) Repeal. - An agency is not required to publish a notice of text in the North Carolina Register or hold a public hearing when it proposes to repeal a rule as a result of any of the following:

(1) The law under which the rule was adopted is repealed.

(2) The law under which the rule was adopted or the rule itself is declared unconstitutional.

(3) The rule is declared to be in excess of the agency's statutory authority.

(c) OSHA Standard. - The Occupational Safety and Health Division of the Department of Labor is not required to publish a notice of text in the North Carolina Register or hold a public hearing when it proposes to adopt a rule that concerns an occupational safety and health standard and is identical to a federal regulation promulgated by the Secretary of the United States Department of Labor. The Occupational Safety and Health Division is not required to submit to the Commission for review a rule for which notice and hearing is not required under this subsection.

(d) State Building Code. - The Building Code Council is not required to publish a notice of text in the North Carolina Register when it proposes to adopt a rule that concerns the North Carolina State Building Code. The Building Code Council is required to publish a notice in the North Carolina Register when it proposes to adopt a rule that concerns the North Carolina State Building Code. The notice must include all of the following:

(1) A statement of the subject matter of the proposed rule making.

(2) A short explanation of the reason for the proposed action.

(3) A citation to the law that gives the agency the authority to adopt a rule on the subject matter of the proposed rule making.

(4) The person to whom questions or written comments may be submitted on the subject matter of the proposed rule making.

The Building Code Council is required to submit to the Commission for review a rule for which notice of text is not required under this subsection. In adopting a rule, the Council shall comply with the procedural requirements of G.S. 150B-21.3.

(e) An agency that adopts or amends a rule pursuant to subsection (a) or (c) of this section shall notify the Codifier of Rules of its actions. When notified of an agency action taken pursuant to subsection (a) or (c) of this section, the Codifier of Rules shall make the appropriate change to the North Carolina Administrative Code. (1991, c. 418, s. 1; 1995, c. 504, s. 12; 1997-34, s. 4; 2001-141, s. 5; 2001-421, s. 1.3; 2003-229, s. 7; 2019-140, s. 1(a).)

 

150B-21.6. Incorporating material in a rule by reference.

An agency may incorporate the following material by reference in a rule without repeating the text of the referenced material:

(1) Another rule or part of a rule adopted by the agency.

(2) All or part of a code, standard, or regulation adopted by another agency, the federal government, or a generally recognized organization or association.

(3) Repealed by Session Laws 1997-34, s. 5.

In incorporating material by reference, the agency must designate in the rule whether or not the incorporation includes subsequent amendments and editions of the referenced material. The agency can change this designation only by a subsequent rule-making proceeding. The agency must have copies of the incorporated material available for inspection and must specify in the rule both where copies of the material can be obtained and the cost on the date the rule is adopted of a copy of the material.

A statement in a rule that a rule incorporates material by reference in accordance with former G.S. 150B-14(b) is a statement that the rule does not include subsequent amendments and editions of the referenced material. A statement in a rule that a rule incorporates material by reference in accordance with former G.S. 150B-14(c) is a statement that the rule includes subsequent amendments and editions of the referenced material. (1973, c. 1331, s. 1; 1975, 2nd Sess., c. 983, s. 64; 1981 (Reg. Sess., 1982), c. 1359, s. 5; 1983, c. 641, s. 3; c. 768, s. 19; 1985, c. 746, s. 1; 1987, c. 285, s. 13; 1991, c. 418, s. 1; 1997-34, s. 5.)

 

150B-21.7. Effect of transfer of duties or termination of agency on rules.

(a) When a law that authorizes an agency to adopt a rule is repealed and another law gives the same or another agency substantially the same authority to adopt a rule, the rule remains in effect until the agency with authority over the rule amends or repeals the rule. When a law that authorizes an agency to adopt a rule is repealed and another law does not give the same or another agency substantially the same authority to adopt a rule, a rule adopted under the repealed law is repealed as of the date the law is repealed. The agency that adopted the rule shall notify the Codifier of Rules that the rule is repealed pursuant to this subsection.

(b) When an executive order abolishes part or all of an agency and transfers a function of that agency to another agency, a rule concerning the transferred function remains in effect until the agency to which the function is transferred amends or repeals the rule. When an executive order abolishes part or all of an agency and does not transfer a function of that agency to another agency, a rule concerning a function abolished by the executive order is repealed as of the effective date of the executive order. The agency that adopted the rule shall notify the Codifier of Rules that the rule is repealed pursuant to this subsection.

(c) When notified of a rule repealed under this section, the Codifier of Rules must enter the repeal of the rule in the North Carolina Administrative Code. (1973, c. 1331, s. 1; 1985, c. 746, s. 1; 1991, c. 418, s. 1; 2013-143, s. 2.)

 

Part 3. Review by Commission.

150B-21.8. Review of rule by Commission.

(a) Emergency Rule. - The Commission does not review an emergency rule.

(b) Temporary and Permanent Rules. - An agency must submit temporary and permanent rules adopted by it to the Commission before the rule can be included in the North Carolina Administrative Code. The Commission reviews a temporary or permanent rule in accordance with the standards in G.S. 150B-21.9 and follows the procedure in this Part in its review of a rule.

(c) Scope. - When the Commission reviews an amendment to a permanent rule, it may review the entire rule that is being amended. The procedure in G.S. 150B-21.12 applies when the Commission objects to a part of a permanent rule that is within its scope of review but is not changed by a rule amendment.

(d) Judicial Review. - When the Commission returns a permanent rule to an agency in accordance with G.S. 150B-21.12(d), the agency may file an action for declaratory judgment in Wake County Superior Court pursuant to Article 26 of Chapter 1 of the General Statutes. (1991, c. 418, s. 1; 2003-229, s. 8.)

 

150B-21.9. Standards and timetable for review by Commission.

(a) Standards. - The Commission must determine whether a rule meets all of the following criteria:

(1) It is within the authority delegated to the agency by the General Assembly.

(2) It is clear and unambiguous.

(3) It is reasonably necessary to implement or interpret an enactment of the General Assembly, or of Congress, or a regulation of a federal agency. The Commission shall consider the cumulative effect of all rules adopted by the agency related to the specific purpose for which the rule is proposed.

(4) It was adopted in accordance with Part 2 of this Article.

The Commission shall not consider questions relating to the quality or efficacy of the rule but shall restrict its review to determination of the standards set forth in this subsection.

The Commission may ask the Office of State Budget and Management to determine if a rule has a substantial economic impact and is therefore required to have a fiscal note. The Commission must ask the Office of State Budget and Management to make this determination if a fiscal note was not prepared for a rule and the Commission receives a written request for a determination of whether the rule has a substantial economic impact.

(a1) Entry of a rule in the North Carolina Administrative Code after review by the Commission creates a rebuttable presumption that the rule was adopted in accordance with Part 2 of this Article.

(b) Timetable. - The Commission must review a permanent rule submitted to it on or before the twentieth of a month by the last day of the next month. The Commission must review a rule submitted to it after the twentieth of a month by the last day of the second subsequent month. The Commission must review a temporary rule in accordance with the timetable and procedure set forth in G.S. 150B-21.1. (1991, c. 418, s. 1; 1995, c. 507, s. 27.8(f); 2000-140, s. 93.1(a); 2001-424, s. 12.2(b); 2003-229, s. 9.)

 

150B-21.10. Commission action on permanent rule.

At the first meeting at which a permanent rule is before the Commission for review, the Commission must take one of the following actions:

(1) Approve the rule, if the Commission determines that the rule meets the standards for review.

(2) Object to the rule, if the Commission determines that the rule does not meet the standards for review.

(3) Extend the period for reviewing the rule, if the Commission determines it needs additional information on the rule to be able to decide whether the rule meets the standards for review.

In reviewing a new rule or an amendment to an existing rule, the Commission may request an agency to make technical changes to the rule and may condition its approval of the rule on the agency's making the requested technical changes. (1991, c. 418, s. 1.)

 

150B-21.11. Procedure when Commission approves permanent rule.

When the Commission approves a permanent rule, it must notify the agency that adopted the rule of the Commission's approval, and deliver the approved rule to the Codifier of Rules.

If the approved rule will increase or decrease expenditures or revenues of a unit of local government, the Commission must also notify the Governor of the Commission's approval of the rule and deliver a copy of the approved rule to the Governor by the end of the month in which the Commission approved the rule. (1991, c. 418, s. 1; 1995, c. 415, s. 4; c. 507, s. 27.8(g); 2011-291, s. 2.59; 2011-398, s. 7; 2018-142, s. 22.)

 

150B-21.12. Procedure when Commission objects to a permanent rule.

(a) Action. - When the Commission objects to a permanent rule, it must send the agency that adopted the rule a written statement of the objection and the reason for the objection. The agency that adopted the rule must take one of the following actions:

(1) Change the rule to satisfy the Commission's objection and submit the revised rule to the Commission.

(2) Submit a written response to the Commission indicating that the agency has decided not to change the rule.

(b) Time Limit. - An agency that is not a board or commission must take one of the actions listed in subsection (a) of this section within 30 days after receiving the Commission's statement of objection. A board or commission must take one of these actions within 30 days after receiving the Commission's statement of objection or within 10 days after the board or commission's next regularly scheduled meeting, whichever comes later.

(c) Changes. - When an agency changes a rule in response to an objection by the Commission, the Commission must determine whether the change satisfies the Commission's objection. If it does, the Commission must approve the rule. If it does not, the Commission must send the agency a written statement of the Commission's continued objection and the reason for the continued objection. The Commission must also determine whether the change is substantial. In making this determination, the Commission shall use the standards set forth in G.S. 150B-21.2(g). If the change is substantial, the revised rule shall be published and reviewed in accordance with the procedure set forth in G.S. 150B-21.1(a3) and (b).

(d) Return of Rule. - A rule to which the Commission has objected remains under review by the Commission until the agency that adopted the rule decides not to satisfy the Commission's objection and makes a written request to the Commission to return the rule to the agency. When the Commission returns a rule to which it has objected, it must notify the Codifier of Rules of its action. If the rule that is returned would have increased or decreased expenditures or revenues of a unit of local government, the Commission must also notify the Governor of its action and must send a copy of the record of the Commission's review of the rule to the Governor. The record of review consists of the rule, the Commission's letter of objection to the rule, the agency's written response to the Commission's letter, and any other relevant documents before the Commission when it decided to object to the rule.

Regulatory Reform (1991, c. 418, s. 1; 1995, c. 415, s. 5; c. 507, s. 27.8(h), (y); 2003-229, s. 10; 2011-291, s. 2.60; 2011-398, s. 8.)

 

150B-21.13. Procedure when Commission extends period for review of permanent rule.

When the Commission extends the period for review of a permanent rule, it must notify the agency that adopted the rule of the extension and the reason for the extension. After the Commission extends the period for review of a rule, it may call a public hearing on the rule. Within 70 days after extending the period for review of a rule, the Commission must decide whether to approve the rule, object to the rule, or call a public hearing on the rule. (1991, c. 418, s. 1.)

 

150B-21.14. Public hearing on a rule.

The Commission may call a public hearing on a rule when it extends the period for review of the rule. At the request of an agency, the Commission may call a public hearing on a rule that is not before it for review. Calling a public hearing on a rule not already before the Commission for review places the rule before the Commission for review. When the Commission decides to call a public hearing on a rule, it must publish notice of the public hearing in the North Carolina Register.

After a public hearing on a rule, the Commission must approve the rule or object to the rule in accordance with the standards and procedures in this Part. The Commission must make its decision of whether to approve or object to the rule within 70 days after the public hearing. (1991, c. 418, s. 1.)

 

150B-21.15: Repealed by Session Laws 1995, c. 507, s. 27.8(i).

 

150B-21.16: Repealed by Session Laws 2011-398, s. 9, effective October 1, 2011, and applicable to rules adopted on or after that date.

 

Part 4. Publication of Code and Register.

150B-21.17. North Carolina Register.

(a) Content. - The Codifier of Rules must publish the North Carolina Register. The North Carolina Register must be published at least two times a month and must contain the following:

(1) Temporary rules entered in the North Carolina Administrative Code.

(1a) The text of proposed rules and the text of permanent rules approved by the Commission.

(1b) Emergency rules entered into the North Carolina Administrative Code.

(2) Repealed by Session Laws 2011-398, s. 10, effective October 1, 2011, and applicable to rules adopted on or after that date

(3) Executive orders of the Governor.

(4) Final decision letters from the United States Attorney General concerning changes in laws that affect voting in a jurisdiction subject to section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, as required by G.S. 120-30.9H.

(5) Repealed by Session Laws 2011-330, s. 33(c), effective June 27, 2011, and by Session Laws 2011-398, s. 10, effective October 1, 2011, and applicable to rules adopted on or after that date.

(6) Other information the Codifier determines to be helpful to the public.

(b) Form. - When an agency publishes notice in the North Carolina Register of the proposed text of a new rule, the Codifier of Rules must publish the complete text of the proposed new rule. In publishing the text of a proposed new rule, the Codifier must indicate the rule is new by underlining the proposed text of the rule.

When an agency publishes notice in the North Carolina Register of the proposed text of an amendment to an existing rule, the Codifier must publish the complete text of the rule that is being amended unless the Codifier determines that publication of the complete text of the rule being amended is not necessary to enable the reader to understand the proposed amendment. In publishing the text of a proposed amendment to a rule, the Codifier must indicate deleted text with overstrikes and added text with underlines.

When an agency publishes notice in the North Carolina Register of the proposed repeal of an existing rule, the Codifier must publish the complete text of the rule the agency proposes to repeal unless the Codifier determines that publication of the complete text is impractical. In publishing the text of a rule the agency proposes to repeal, the Codifier must indicate the rule is to be repealed.

(c) The Codifier may authorize and license the private indexing, marketing, sales, reproduction, and distribution of the Register. (1991, c. 418, s. 1; 1995, c. 507, s. 27.8(k); 2001-141, s. 6; 2001-421, s. 1.4; 2003-229, s. 11; 2006-66, s. 18.1; 2011-330, s. 33(c); 2011-398, s. 10.)

 

150B-21.18. North Carolina Administrative Code.

The Codifier of Rules must compile all rules into a Code known as the North Carolina Administrative Code. The format and indexing of the Code must conform as nearly as practical to the format and indexing of the North Carolina General Statutes. The Codifier must publish printed copies of the Code and may publish the Code in other forms. The Codifier may authorize and license the private indexing, marketing, sales, reproduction, and distribution of the Code. The Codifier must keep superseded rules. (1973, c. 1331, s. 1; 1979, c. 69, ss. 3, 7; c. 541, s. 2; c. 688, s. 1; 1979, 2nd Sess., c. 1266, ss. 1-3; 1981 (Reg. Sess., 1982), c. 1359, s. 6; 1983, c. 641, s. 6; 1985, c. 746, s. 1; 1985 (Reg. Sess., 1986), c. 1003, s. 2; c. 1022, s. 1(1), (19); c. 1032, s. 12; 1987, c. 774, ss. 2-4; 1987 (Reg. Sess., 1988), c. 1111, s. 3; 1989, c. 500, s. 43(a); 1991, c. 418, s. 1; 1993 (Reg. Sess., 1994), c. 777, s. 2; 2011-398, s. 11.)

 

150B-21.19. Requirements for including rule in Code.

To be acceptable for inclusion in the North Carolina Administrative Code, a rule must:

(1) Cite the law under which the rule is adopted.

(2) Be signed by the head of the agency or the rule-making coordinator for the agency that adopted the rule.

(3) Be in the physical form specified by the Codifier of Rules.

(4) Have been approved by the Commission, if the rule is a permanent rule.

(5) Have complied with the provisions of G.S. 12-3.1, if the rule establishes a new fee or increases an existing fee. (1973, c. 1331, s. 1; 1979, c. 571, s. 1; 1981, c. 688, s. 14; 1983, c. 927, ss. 6, 9; 1985, c. 746, s. 1; 1985 (Reg. Sess., 1986), c. 1022, s. 1(1); c. 1028, s. 35; 1987, c. 285, s. 16; 1991, c. 418, s. 1; 1995, c. 507, s. 27.8(l ); 2002-97, s. 4.)

 

150B-21.20. Codifier's authority to revise rules.

(a) Authority. - After consulting with the agency that adopted the rule, the Codifier of Rules may revise a rule to do one or more of the following:

(1) Rearrange the order of the rule in the Code or the order of the subsections, subdivisions, or other subparts of the rule.

(2) Provide a catch line or heading for the rule or revise the catch line or heading of the rule.

(3) Reletter or renumber the rule or the subparts of the rule in accordance with a uniform system.

(4) Rearrange definitions and lists.

(5) Make other changes in arrangement or in form that do not change the substance of the rule and are necessary or desirable for a clear and orderly arrangement of the rule.

(6) Omit from the published rule a map, a diagram, an illustration, a chart, or other graphic material, if the Codifier of Rules determines that the Office of Administrative Hearings does not have the capability to publish the material or that publication of the material is not practicable. When the Codifier of Rules omits graphic material from the published rule, the Codifier must insert a reference to the omitted material and information on how to obtain a copy of the omitted material.

(7) Substitute one name for another when an organization or position is renamed.

(8) Correct a citation in the rule to another rule or law when the citation has become inaccurate since the rule was adopted because of the repeal or renumbering of the cited rule or law.

(9) Change information that is readily available to the public, such as an address, email address, a telephone number, or a Web site.

(10) Correct a typographical error.

(b) Effect. - Revision of a rule by the Codifier of Rules under this section does not affect the effective date of the rule or require the agency to readopt or resubmit the rule. When the Codifier of Rules revises the form of a rule, the Codifier of Rules must send the agency that adopted the rule a copy of the revised rule. The revised rule is the official rule, unless the rule was revised under subdivision (a)(6) of this section to omit graphic material. When a rule is revised under that subdivision, the official rule is the published text of the rule plus the graphic material that was not published. (1973, c. 1331, s. 1; 1979, c. 571, s. 1; 1981, c. 688, s. 14; 1983, c. 927, ss. 6, 9; 1985, c. 746, s. 1; 1985 (Reg. Sess., 1986), c. 1022, s. 1(1); c. 1028, s. 35; 1987, c. 285, s. 16; 1987 (Reg. Sess., 1988), c. 1111, s. 23; 1991, c. 418, s. 1; 1997-34, s. 6; 2013-143, s. 3; 2019-140, s. 1(b).)

 

150B-21.21. Publication of rules of North Carolina State Bar, Building Code Council, and exempt agencies.

(a) State Bar. - The North Carolina State Bar must submit a rule adopted or approved by it and entered in the minutes of the North Carolina Supreme Court to the Codifier of Rules for inclusion in the North Carolina Administrative Code. The State Bar must submit a rule within 30 days after it is entered in the minutes of the Supreme Court. The Codifier of Rules must compile, make available for public inspection, and publish a rule included in the North Carolina Administrative Code under this subsection in the same manner as other rules in the Code.

(a1) Building Code Council. - The Building Code Council shall publish the North Carolina State Building Code as provided in G.S. 143-138(g). The Codifier of Rules is not required to publish the North Carolina State Building Code in the North Carolina Administrative Code.

(b) Exempt Agencies. - Notwithstanding any other provision of law, an agency that is exempted from this Article by G.S. 150B-1 or any other statute must submit a temporary or permanent rule adopted by it to the Codifier of Rules for inclusion in the North Carolina Administrative Code. These exempt agencies must submit a rule to the Codifier of Rules within 30 days after adopting the rule.

(c) Publication. - A rule submitted to the Codifier of Rules under this section must be in the physical form specified by the Codifier of Rules. The Codifier of Rules must compile, make available for public inspection, and publish a rule submitted under this section in the same manner as other rules in the North Carolina Administrative Code. (1991, c. 418, s. 1; 1997-34, s. 7; 2001-141, s. 7; 2011-398, s. 12.)

 

150B-21.22. Effect of inclusion in Code.

Official or judicial notice can be taken of a rule in the North Carolina Administrative Code and shall be taken when appropriate. (1973, c. 1331, s. 1; 1985, c. 746, s. 1; 1991, c. 418, s. 1; 1997-34, s. 8.)

 

150B-21.23: Repealed by Session Laws 2011-398, s. 13, effective October 1, 2011, and applicable to rules adopted on or after that date.

 

150B-21.24. Access to Register and Code.

(a) Register. - The Codifier of Rules shall make available the North Carolina Register on the Internet at no charge.

(b) Code. - The Codifier of Rules shall make available the North Carolina Administrative Code on the Internet at no charge. (1973, c. 1331, s. 1; c. 69, ss. 3, 7; c. 688, s. 1; 1979, c. 541, s. 2; 1979, 2nd Sess., c. 1266, ss. 1-3; 1981 (Reg. Sess., 1982), c. 1359, s. 6; 1983, c. 641, s. 6; 1985, c. 746, s. 1; 1985 (Reg. Sess., 1986), c. 1003, s. 2; c. 1022, s. 1(1), (19); c. 1032, s. 12; 1987, c. 774, ss. 2-4; 1987 (Reg. Sess., 1988), c. 1111, s. 3; 1989, c. 500, s. 43(a); 1991, c. 418, s. 1; 2002-97, s. 1; 2011-145, s. 24.1.)

 

150B-21.25. Paid copies of Register and Code.

A person who is not entitled to a free copy of the North Carolina Administrative Code or North Carolina Register may obtain a copy by paying a fee set by the Codifier of Rules. The Codifier must set separate fees for the North Carolina Register and the North Carolina Administrative Code in amounts that cover publication, copying, and mailing costs. All monies received under this section must be credited to the General Fund. (1991, c. 418, s. 1.)

 

Part 5. Rules Affecting Local Governments.

150B-21.26. Office of State Budget and Management to conduct preliminary review of certain administrative rules.

(a) Preliminary Review. - At least 60 days before an agency publishes in the North Carolina Register the proposed text of a permanent rule change that would affect the expenditures or revenues of a unit of local government, the agency must submit all of the following to the Office of State Budget and Management for preliminary review:

(1) The text of the proposed rule change.

(2) A short explanation of the reason for the proposed change.

(3) A fiscal note stating the amount by which the proposed rule change would increase or decrease expenditures or revenues of a unit of local government and explaining how the amount was computed.

(b) Scope. - The preliminary review of a proposed permanent rule change that would affect the expenditures or revenues of a unit of local government shall include consideration of the following:

(1) The agency's explanation of the reason for the proposed change.

(2) Any unanticipated effects of the proposed change on local government budgets.

(3) The potential costs of the proposed change weighed against the potential risks to the public of not taking the proposed change. (1995, c. 415, s. 3; c. 507, s. 27.8(w); 2011-398, s. 14.)

 

150B-21.27. Minimizing the effects of rules on local budgets.

In adopting permanent rules that would increase or decrease the expenditures or revenues of a unit of local government, the agency shall consider the timing for implementation of the proposed rule as part of the preparation of the fiscal note required by G.S. 150B-21.4(b). If the computation of costs in a fiscal note indicates that the proposed rule change will disrupt the budget process as set out in the Local Government Budget and Fiscal Control Act, Article 3 of Chapter 159 of the General Statutes, the agency shall specify the effective date of the change as July 1 following the date the change would otherwise become effective under G.S. 150B-21.3. (1995, c. 415, s. 3; c. 507, s. 27.8(x).)

 

150B-21.28. Role of the Office of State Budget and Management.

The Office of State Budget and Management shall:

(1) Compile an annual summary of the projected fiscal impact on units of local government of State administrative rules adopted during the preceding fiscal year.

(2) Compile from information provided by each agency schedules of anticipated rule actions for the upcoming fiscal year.

(3) Provide the Governor, the General Assembly, the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners, and the North Carolina League of Municipalities with a copy of the annual summary and schedules by no later than March 1 of each year. (1995, c. 415, s. 3; 2000-140, s. 93.1(a); 2001-424, s. 12.2(b).)