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State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH)

    • Next Review Date: 2026-2027 Review Cycle - 90th Legislative Session
    • Last Review Date: 2014-2015 Review Cycle - 84th Legislative Session

    Sunset Review Documents for 2014-2015 Review Cycle, 84th Legislative Session

    Final Results from Last Sunset Report

    The following material summarizes results of the Sunset review of SOAH, including management actions directed to SOAH that do not require statutory changes. For additional information see the State Office of Administrative Hearings Staff Report with Final Results.

    Billing Processes

    • Authorizes SOAH to adjust its hourly rate to recover the full cost of services.
    • Authorizes agencies to pay SOAH annually or quarterly.
    • Directs SOAH to require agencies to make payments upfront, either annually or quarterly. (management action – nonstatutory)

    Caseload Projections

    • Requires agencies to send their caseload projections to SOAH and the Legislative Budget Board (LBB) each biennium.
    • Directs SOAH to evaluate the effectiveness of its caseload projections to predict actual caseload and report this information to LBB. (management action – nonstatutory)

    Tax Hearings

    • Continues tax hearings at SOAH and removes the separate Sunset date for the tax division.
    • Removes outdated provisions that give the comptroller undue and unnecessary authority over tax cases and judges.
    • Increases flexibility of statutory experience requirements for administrative tax law judges.

    ALR Hearings

    • Requires SOAH and the Department of Public Safety to develop and adopt a memorandum of understanding establishing that SOAH has primary scheduling responsibility for ALR hearings.
    • Directs SOAH to centralize or otherwise significantly improve its telephonic ALR hearings and take advantage of current technology for conference calls. (management action – nonstatutory)

    Information for Pro Se Parties

    • Directs SOAH to develop and maintain a comprehensive, plain-language guide for pro se parties. (management action – nonstatutory)
    • SOAH should require notices of hearing to include information about and a link to the pro se guide. (management action – nonstatutory)

    Operational Improvements

    • Requires referring agencies to provide SOAH with a copy of their final orders.
    • Authorizes SOAH to remand default cases back to the referring agencies for informal disposition.
    • Removes the statutory requirements for SOAH to maintain separate tax, natural resource conservation, and utility divisions.
    • Removes outdated statutory provisions requiring the Public Utility Commission (PUC) to pay SOAH a fixed annual fee for services and give SOAH access to PUC’s hearing rooms and computers.
    • Directs SOAH to evaluate and improve its budget control processes and policies. (management action – nonstatutory)
    • Directs SOAH to improve its performance evaluation process. (management action – nonstatutory)
    • Directs SOAH to improve and formalize certain management tools. (management action – nonstatutory)
    • Directs SOAH to track and analyze informal complaints and improve its customer service survey. (management action – nonstatutory)