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.)