Certified Final Objection No. 149 of the
At its meeting on February 15, 2013, the Joint Legislative Committee on Administrative Rules (Committee) voted, pursuant to RSA 541-A:13, IV, to enter a preliminary objection to Final Proposal 2012-189 containing Gcd 300 of the Governor’s Commission on Disability (Commission) relative to the telecommunications equipment assistance program. The Committee’s preliminary objection was based on the grounds as outlined in the Committee staff’s annotations to Final Proposal 2012-189, which indicated that the requirements of the TEAP application form do not match the requirements contained in Gcd 303.04.
At its meeting on March 15, 2013, the Committee voted, pursuant to RSA 541-A:13, V(f), to enter a final objection to Final Proposal 2012-189. The final objection has been filed with the Director of the Office of Legislative Services for publication in the New Hampshire Rulemaking Register. The effect of a final objection is stated in RSA 541-A:13, VI:
After a final objection by the committee to a provision of a rule is filed with the director under subparagraph V(f), the burden of proof thereafter shall be on the agency in any action for judicial review or for enforcement of the provision to establish that the part objected to is within the authority delegated to the agency, is consistent with the intent of the legislature, is in the public interest, or does not have a substantial economic impact not recognized in the fiscal impact statement. If the agency fails to meet its burden of proof, the court shall declare the whole or portion of the rule objected to invalid. The failure of the committee to object to a rule shall not be an implied legislative authorization of its substantive or procedural lawfulness.
The following summarizes the basis for the Committee’s final objection:
The Committee objected that Gcd 403.04, pursuant to Committee Rule 403.01(d), was contrary to the public interest by not being drafted in clear and understandable language to the extent that the requirements of Gcd 403.04 differ from the requirements of the corresponding form.
Gcd 403.04 specifies the information to be provided by applicants on an application form for participation in the Telecommunications Equipment Assistance Program (TEAP). The Committee noted that there were numerous and significant differences between the form document and the rule. For example, the form requires that the applicant provide his or her Social Security number, it requires information concerning a pacemaker, and it requires the name of the applicant’s phone provider. None of these requirements appear in the rules. Also, Gcd 303.04(d)(6) requires the applicant, by checking a “yes” or “no” box, to indicate whether he or she meets the income eligibility for full assistance. There appears to be no check box for this on the form. Instead, there is a full page of requirements regarding eligibility based on income.
The Committee determined that an applicant reading both Gcd 403.04 and the form would not know what requirements must be met. Therefore, the Committee objected that Gcd 403.04 was contrary to the public interest by being unclear.