TITLE LV
PROCEEDINGS IN SPECIAL CASES

CHAPTER 541-A
ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEDURE ACT

Section 541-A:11

    541-A:11 Public Hearing and Comment. –
I. (a) Each agency shall hold at least one public hearing on all proposed rules filed pursuant to RSA 541-A:3 and shall afford all interested persons reasonable opportunity to testify and to submit data, views, or arguments in writing or, if practicable for the agency, in electronic format, in accordance with the terms of the notice filed pursuant to RSA 541-A:3, I and the provisions of this section. The office of legislative services shall provide oral or written comments on potential bases for committee objection under RSA 541-A:13, IV in a form and manner determined by the director of the office of legislative services. Each agency shall require all materials submitted in writing to be signed by the person who submits them, and the agency shall transfer to hard copy, if practicable for the agency, all materials submitted as diskette, electronic mail, or other electronic format. Copies of the proposed rule shall be available to the public under RSA 91-A and at least 5 days prior to the date of the hearing.
(b) For rules proposed by a board or commission, a period of at least 5 business days after the hearing shall be provided for the submission of materials in writing or in electronic format, unless a shorter period is specified in the notice. If a shorter period is specified in the notice, the deadline for the submission of such materials shall not be earlier than the scheduled conclusion of the public hearing. For rules proposed by an agency official, a period of at least 5 business days after the hearing shall be provided in all instances. If a hearing is continued or postponed as provided in paragraph III or IV of this section, the period for the submission of materials in writing or in electronic format shall be extended unless the previously-established deadline meets the applicable requirement specified above.
(c) An agency may hold a public hearing or otherwise solicit public comment on a draft final proposed rule prior to filing the final proposed rule pursuant to RSA 541-A:3, V. Notice of such hearing or comment period shall be provided by such means as are deemed appropriate to reach interested persons, which may include publishing a notice in the rulemaking register.
II. For rules proposed by a board or commission, each hearing shall be attended by a quorum of its members. For rules proposed by an agency official, each hearing shall be held by the official having the rulemaking authority, or designee, who shall be knowledgeable in the particular subject area of the proposed rules.
III. To provide reasonable opportunity for public comment, the agency may continue a public hearing past the scheduled time or to another date, or may extend the deadline for submission of written comment. If the agency continues the hearing or extends the deadline, it shall notify the public by any means it deems appropriate, including notice in the rulemaking register whenever practicable.
IV. A public comment hearing may be postponed in the event of any of the following:
(a) Inclement weather.
(b) Illness or unavoidable absence of the official with rulemaking authority.
(c) Lack of a quorum due to illness or unavoidable absence.
(d) Determination by the agency that postponement of the public comment hearing shall facilitate greater participation by the public. If a public comment hearing is postponed, the agency shall provide notice in the rulemaking register at least 5 days before such postponed public comment hearing, and may also provide notice by any other means it deems appropriate.
V. A public comment hearing may be moved to another location if the agency determines for any reason that the original location is not able to accommodate the public. If changing the location does not also necessitate a change in the date of the public comment hearing, the agency shall post notice of the new location at the originally scheduled facility. If changing the location necessitates a change in the date of the public comment hearing, the agency shall provide notice as required by paragraph IV.
VI. On request, the agency shall promptly provide a copy of any rule as filed with the director at any stage in the rulemaking process. If the copy is mailed, it shall be sent not later than the end of the third working day after the request is received. The agency may, pursuant to RSA 91-A:4, IV, charge the actual cost of providing such copy.
VII. If requested by an interested person at any time before 30 days after final adoption of a rule, the adopting authority shall issue an explanation of the rule. The explanation shall include:
(a) A concise statement of the principal reasons for and against the adoption of the rule in its final form.
(b) An explanation of why the adopting authority overruled the arguments and considerations against the rule.
VIII. In addition to seeking information by other methods, an agency, before publication of a notice of proposed rulemaking under RSA 541-A:6, may solicit comments from the public on a subject matter of possible rulemaking under active consideration within the agency by causing notice to be published in the rulemaking register of the subject matter and indicating where, when, and how persons may provide comment on the rules under consideration.

Source. 1994, 412:1. 2000, 288:10, 11. 2003, 319:161, eff. July 1, 2003. 2011, 252:6, eff. Sept. 11, 2011.