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Electronic Code of Federal Regulations

e-CFR data is current as of December 12, 2019

Title 45Subtitle ASubchapter A → Part 99


Title 45: Public Welfare


PART 99—PROCEDURE FOR HEARINGS FOR THE CHILD CARE AND DEVELOPMENT FUND


Contents

Subpart A—General

§99.1   Scope of rules.
§99.2   Presiding officer.
§99.3   Records to be public.
§99.4   Suspension of rules.
§99.5   Filing and service of papers.

Subpart B—Preliminary Matters—Notice and Parties

§99.11   Notice of hearing or opportunity for hearing.
§99.12   Time of hearing.
§99.13   Place.
§99.14   Issues at hearing.
§99.15   Request to participate in hearing.

Subpart C—Hearing Procedures

§99.21   Authority of presiding officer.
§99.22   Rights of parties.
§99.23   Discovery.
§99.24   Evidentiary purpose.
§99.25   Evidence.
§99.26   Unsponsored written material.
§99.27   Official transcript.
§99.28   Record for decision.

Subpart D—Posthearing Procedures, Decisions

§99.31   Posthearing briefs.
§99.32   Decisions following hearing.
§99.33   Effective date of Assistant Secretary's decision.

Authority: 42 U.S.C. 618, 9858.

Source: 57 FR 34428, Aug. 4, 1992, unless otherwise noted.

Editorial Note: Nomenclature changes to part 99 appear at 63 FR 39998, July 24, 1998.

Subpart A—General

§99.1   Scope of rules.

(a) The rules of procedure in this section govern the practice for hearings afforded by the Department to Lead Agencies pursuant to §98.18(c) or §98.91, and the practice relating to the decisions of such hearings.

(b) Nothing in this part is intended to preclude or limit negotiations between the Department and the Lead Agency, whether before, during, or after the hearing, to resolve the issues which are, or otherwise would be, considered at the hearing. Such negotiations and resolution of issues are not part of the hearing and are not governed by the rules in this part, except as expressly provided herein.

§99.2   Presiding officer.

(a) (1) The presiding officer at a hearing shall be the Assistant Secretary or the Assistant Secretary's designee.

(2) The designation of the presiding officer shall be in writing. A copy of the designation shall be served on all parties.

(b) The presiding officer, for all hearings, shall be bound by all applicable laws and regulations.

§99.3   Records to be public.

All pleadings, correspondence, exhibits, transcripts of testimony, exceptions, briefs, decisions, and other documents filed in the docket in any proceeding may be inspected and copied in the office of the Assistant Secretary. Inquiries may be made at the Administration for Children and Families, 370 L'Enfant Promenade SW., Washington, DC 20447.

§99.4   Suspension of rules.

With notice to all parties, the Assistant Secretary for Children and Families or the presiding officer, with respect to pending matters, may modify or waive any rule in this part upon determination that no party will be unduly prejudiced and the ends of justice will thereby be served.

§99.5   Filing and service of papers.

(a) An original and two copies of all papers in the proceedings shall be filed with the presiding officer. For exhibits and transcripts of testimony, only the originals need be filed.

(b) All papers in the proceedings shall be served on all parties by personal delivery or by certified mail. Service on the party's designated attorney will be deemed service on the party.

Subpart B—Preliminary Matters—Notice and Parties

§99.11   Notice of hearing or opportunity for hearing.

Proceedings commence when the Assistant Secretary mails a notice of hearing or opportunity for hearing to the Lead Agency. The notice shall state the time and place for the hearing, and the issues which will be considered. A copy of the notice shall be published in the Federal Register.

§99.12   Time of hearing.

The hearing shall be scheduled not less than 30 days nor more than 90 days after the date of the notice of the hearing furnished to the applicant or Lead Agency, unless otherwise agreed to, in writing, by the parties.

§99.13   Place.

The hearing shall be held in the city in which the regional office of the Department responsible for oversight of the Lead Agency is located or in such other place as the Assistant Secretary determines, considering both the circumstances of the case and the convenience and necessity of the parties or their representatives.

§99.14   Issues at hearing.

(a) The Assistant Secretary may, prior to a hearing under §98.91 of this part, notify the Lead Agency in writing of additional issues which will be considered at the hearing. Such notice shall be published in the Federal Register. If such notice is received by the Lead Agency less than 20 days before the date of the hearing, a postponement of the hearing shall be granted at the request of the Lead Agency or any other party. The hearing shall be held on a date 20 days after such notice was received, or on such later date as agreed to by the Assistant Secretary.

(b) If, as a result of negotiations between the Department and the Lead Agency, the submittal of a Plan amendment, a change in the Lead Agency program, or other action by the Lead Agency, any issue is resolved in whole or in part, but new or modified issues are presented, as specified by the Assistant Secretary, the hearing shall proceed on such new or modified issues. A notice of such new or modified issues shall be published in the Federal Register. If such notice is received by the Lead Agency less than 20 days before the date of the hearing, a postponement of the hearing shall be granted at the request of the Lead Agency or any other party. The hearing shall be held on a date 20 days after such notice was received, or on such later date as agreed to by the Assistant Secretary.

(c)(1) If, at any time, the Assistant Secretary finds that the Lead Agency has come into compliance with Federal statutes and regulations on any issue, in whole or in part, the Assistant Secretary shall remove such issue from the proceedings, in whole or in part, as may be appropriate. If all issues are removed, the Assistant Secretary shall terminate the hearing.

(2) Prior to the removal of any issue from the hearing, in whole or in part, the Assistant Secretary shall provide all parties other than the Department and the Lead Agency (see §99.15(b)) with written notice of the intention, and the reasons for it. Such notice shall include a copy of the proposed CCDF Plan provision on which the Lead Agency and Assistant Secretary have settled. The parties shall have 15 days from the receipt of such notice to file their views or any information on the merits of the proposed Plan provision and the merits of the Assistant Secretary's reasons for removing the issue from the hearing.

(d) The issues considered at the hearing shall be limited to those issues of which the Lead Agency is notified, as provided in paragraph (a) of this section, and new or modified issues described in paragraph (b) of this section; they shall not include issues or parts of issues removed from the proceedings pursuant to paragraph (c) of this section.

§99.15   Request to participate in hearing.

(a) The Department and the Lead Agency are parties to the hearing without making a specific request to participate.

(b)(1) Other individuals or groups may be recognized as parties, if the issues to be considered at the hearing have directly caused them injury and their interest is immediately within the zone of interests to be protected by the governing Federal statute and regulations.

(2) Any individual or group wishing to participate as a party shall file a petition with the presiding officer within 15 days after notice of the hearing has been published in the Federal Register and shall serve a copy on each party of record at that time, in accordance with §99.5(b). Such petition shall concisely state:

(i) Petitioner's interest in the proceeding;

(ii) Who will appear for petitioner;

(iii) The issues on which petitioner wishes to participate; and

(iv) Whether petitioner intends to present witnesses.

(3) Any party may, within 5 days of receipt of such petition, file comments on it.

(4) The presiding officer shall promptly determine whether each petitioner has the requisite interest in the proceedings and shall permit or deny participation accordingly. Where petitions to participate as parties are made by individuals or groups with common interests, at the presiding officer's discretion, the presiding officer may request that all such petitioners designate a single representative or may recognize one or more of such petitioners to represent all such petitioners. The presiding officer shall give each petitioner written notice of the decision on the petition, and if the petition is denied, the presiding officer shall briefly state the grounds for denial. If the petition is denied, the presiding officer may recognize the petitioner as an amicus curiae.

(c)(1) Any interested person or organization wishing to participate as an amicus curiae shall file a petition with the presiding officer before the commencement of the hearing. Such petition shall concisely state:

(i) The petitioner's interest in the hearing;

(ii) Who will represent the petitioner; and

(iii) The issues on which petitioner intends to present argument.

An amicus curiae is not a party but may participate as provided in this paragraph.

(2) The presiding officer may grant the petition upon finding that the petitioner has a legitimate interest in the proceedings, that such participation will not unduly delay the outcome, and it may contribute materially to the proper disposition of the issues.

(3) An amicus curiae may present a brief oral statement at the hearing, at the point in the proceedings specified by the presiding officer. The amicus curiae may submit a written statement of position to the presiding officer prior to the beginning of a hearing and shall serve a copy on each party. The amicus curiae may also submit a brief or written statement at such time as the parties submit briefs and shall serve a copy on each party.

Subpart C—Hearing Procedures

§99.21   Authority of presiding officer.

(a) The presiding officer shall have the duty to conduct a fair hearing, to avoid delay, maintain order, and make a record of the proceedings. The presiding officer shall have all powers necessary to accomplish these ends, including, but not limited to, the power to:

(1) Change the date, time, and place of the hearing, upon due notice to the parties. This authority includes the power to continue the hearing in whole or in part;

(2) Hold conferences to settle or simplify the issues in a proceeding, or to consider other matters that may aid in the expeditious disposition of the proceeding;

(3) Regulate participation of parties and amici curiae and require parties and amici curiae to state their position with respect to the various issues in the proceeding;

(4) Administer oaths and affirmations;

(5) Rule on all pending motions and other procedural items including issuance of protective orders or other relief to a party against whom discovery is sought;

(6) Regulate the course of the hearing and conduct of counsel therein;

(7) Examine witnesses;

(8) Receive, rule on, exclude or limit evidence or discovery;

(9) Fix the time for filing motions, petitions, briefs, or other items in matters pending;

(10) If the presiding officer is the Assistant Secretary, make a final decision;

(11) If the presiding officer is not the Assistant Secretary, certify the entire record including the recommended findings and proposed decision to the Assistant Secretary; and

(12) Take any action authorized by the rules in this part or in conformance with the provisions of 5 U.S.C. 551 through 559.

(b) The presiding officer does not have authority to compel by subpoena the production of witnesses, papers, or other evidence.

§99.22   Rights of parties.

All parties may:

(a) Appear by counsel or other authorized representative, in all hearing proceedings;

(b) Participate in any prehearing conference held by the presiding officer;

(c) Agree to stipulations as to facts which will be made a part of the record;

(d) Make opening statements at the hearing;

(e) Present relevant evidence on the issues at the hearing;

(f) Present witnesses who then must be available for cross-examination by all other parties;

(g) Present oral arguments at the hearing; and

(h) Submit written briefs, proposed findings of fact, and proposed conclusions of law, after the hearing.

§99.23   Discovery.

The Department, the Lead Agency, and any individuals or groups recognized as parties shall have the right to conduct discovery (including depositions) against opposing parties. Rules 26-37 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure shall apply to such proceedings; there will be no fixed rule on priority of discovery. Upon written motion, the presiding officer shall promptly rule upon any objection to such discovery action initiated pursuant to this section. The presiding officer shall also have the power to grant a protective order or relief to any party against whom discovery is sought and to restrict or control discovery so as to prevent undue delay in the conduct of the hearing. Upon the failure of any party to make discovery, the presiding officer may, at the presiding officer's discretion, issue any order and impose any sanction (other than contempt orders) authorized by rule 37 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

§99.24   Evidentiary purpose.

The purpose of the hearing is to receive factual evidence and expert opinion testimony related to the issues in the proceeding. Argument will not be received in evidence; rather, it should be presented in statements, memoranda, or briefs, as determined by the presiding officer. Brief opening statements, which shall be limited to statement of the party's position and what the party intends to prove, may be made at hearings.

§99.25   Evidence.

(a) Testimony. Testimony shall be given orally under oath or affirmation by witnesses at the hearing. Witnesses shall be available at the hearing for cross-examination by all parties.

(b) Stipulations and exhibits. Two or more parties may agree to stipulations of fact. Such stipulations, or any exhibit proposed by any party, shall be exchanged at the prehearing conference or otherwise prior to the hearing if the presiding officer so requires.

(c) Rules of evidence. Technical rules of evidence shall not apply to hearings conducted pursuant to this part, but rules or principles designed to assure production of the most credible evidence available and to subject testimony to test by cross-examination shall be applied where reasonably necessary by the presiding officer. A witness may be cross-examined on any matter material to the proceeding without regard to the scope of direct examination. The presiding officer may exclude irrelevant, immaterial, or unduly repetitious evidence. All documents and other evidence offered or taken for the record shall be open to examination by the parties, and opportunity shall be given to refute facts and arguments advanced on either side of the issues.

§99.26   Unsponsored written material.

Letters expressing views or urging action and other unsponsored written material regarding matters at issue in a hearing will be placed in the correspondence section of the docket of the proceeding. These data are not deemed part of the evidence or record in the hearing.

§99.27   Official transcript.

The Department will designate the official reporter for all hearings. The official transcripts of testimony taken, together with any stipulations, exhibits, briefs, or memoranda of law filed therewith shall be filed with the Department. Transcripts of testimony in hearings may be obtained from the official reporter by the parties and the public at rates not to exceed the maximum rates fixed by the contract between the Department and the reporter. Upon notice to all parties, the presiding officer may authorize corrections to the transcript which involve matters of substance.

§99.28   Record for decision.

The transcript of testimony, exhibits, and all papers and requests filed in the proceedings, except the correspondence section of the docket, including rulings and any recommended or initial decision, shall constitute the exclusive record for decision.

Subpart D—Posthearing Procedures, Decisions

§99.31   Posthearing briefs.

The presiding officer shall fix the time for filing posthearing briefs, which may contain proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law. The presiding officer shall also fix the time for reply briefs, if permitted.

§99.32   Decisions following hearing.

(a) If the Assistant Secretary is the presiding officer, the Assistant Secretary shall issue the decision within 60 days after the time for submission of posthearing briefs has expired.

(b)(1) If the presiding officer is not the Assistant Secretary, the presiding officer shall certify the entire record, including the recommended findings and proposed decision, to the Assistant Secretary within 60 days after the time for submission of posthearing briefs has expired. The Assistant Secretary shall serve a copy of the recommended findings and proposed decision upon all parties, and amici, if any.

(2) Any party may, within 20 days of receipt of the recommended findings and proposed decision, file exceptions and a supporting brief or statement with the Assistant Secretary.

(3) The Assistant Secretary shall thereupon review the recommended decision and, within 45 days after the receipt of the exceptions to the recommended findings and proposed decision, issue the decision.

(c) The decision of the Assistant Secretary under this section shall be the final decision of the Secretary and shall constitute “final agency action” within the meaning of 5 U.S.C. 704. The Assistant Secretary's decision shall be promptly served on all parties, and amici, if any.

§99.33   Effective date of Assistant Secretary's decision.

If, in the case of a hearing pursuant to §98.18(b) of this chapter, the Assistant Secretary concludes that a Plan amendment does not comply with the Federal statutes and regulations, the decision that further payments will not be made to the Lead Agency, or payments will be limited to categories under other parts of the CCDF Plan not affected, shall specify the effective date for the withholding of Federal funds.

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