What You Missed at the May 8 Administrative Law Discussion on COVID-19 Developments

On May 8, the Administrative Law Section conducted its first-ever free-for-all and open-to-all-section-members discussion by Zoom conference. We hope you will find the information below informative and that you will join us for our next teleconference.

We opened with Section legislative committee co-chair David Ferrell, who provided a brief overview of the action in the General Assembly regarding COVID-19. David outlined some of the key administrative law related provisions in the primary COVID-19 bill, S.L. 2020-3 (S 704), for which most of the provisions presently expire on August 1. He mentioned the following: health care changes, including some related to regulated professions, such as pharmacists and dentists; emergency video notarization (which is not the same as remote notarization, he said); emergency video witnessing; e-signatures for warrants; temporary loosening of witness/notary requirements for advance health care directives; rescheduling public hearings; authorization for the Chief ALJ to extend the time for filing contested case petitions; electronic meetings of public bodies; and regulatory flexibility for State agencies, including occupational licensing boards. David also discussed what people, including legislators, are saying about when they will return and what they will be doing when they return.

There was some discussion of gubernatorial Executive Orders, including No. 130, which eased some requirements with regard to occupational licensing boards in the health care professions.

We had a good exchange about the new electronic public meetings provisions with regard to the many emergency rulemakings going on. We talked about the Due Process issues that may arise with electronic quasi-judicial hearings. Attorneys who are counsel to occupational licensing boards or agencies discussed some of the things they were trying and elements to consider, including: consent of the licensee; setting up a secure document exchange; virtual lobbies for closed meetings and hearings; remote swearing in of witnesses; that document-heavy matters were more difficult to handle remotely, etc.

We talked about the occupational licensing boards having demonstrated flexibility for the benefit of the regulated public during the crisis.

These are but a few of the matters we talked about in an hour’s teleconference that went quickly. If you have ideas for future section-wide teleconferences, please contact current Section Chair, Brandon Leebrick, or Vice Chair Judge, Melissa Lassiter. We look forward to hearing from you!