(a) Proposal for Decision or Order. The ALJ shall adjourn the hearing after all evidence has been received in contested cases held under the Act not governed by § 148.15 of this title (relating to Final Decision by ALJ).
(b) Description of Proposal for Decision or Order. The proposal for decision or order must be based solely upon the record of the individual case. It must be in writing and include:
(1) a statement of the reasons upon which the decision is based;
(2) findings of fact based on the evidence presented and matters officially noticed. If there is evidence presented regarding the ability of a party to pay the amount of a proposed sanction or bonding amount in a hearing involving assessment of sanctions under Labor Code § 415.021, the ALJ shall make findings of fact on those issues;
(3) conclusions of law based on the findings of fact and other legal requirements of the law;
(4) the sanction or order recommended by the ALJ;
(5) a conclusion of whether the division is authorized by the Act or division rules to take disciplinary or sanction action against the petitioner; and
(6) the proposal for decision or order may also contain:
(A) a summary of the evidence presented by each party; and
(B) a list of all mitigating circumstances and a list of all aggravating circumstances, separately stated, which are necessary for the commissioner to have a complete understanding of the case.
(c) Furnishing Proposal for Decision or Order. SOAH shall furnish the proposal for decision or order to:
(1) the Chief Clerk of Proceedings; and
(2) the parties of the hearing. SOAH shall furnish the proposal for decision or order by verifiable means and retain information on the date, address, person or entity served, and the means of service.
(d) Filing of Briefs and Exceptions. If a party files a brief or exception to the proposal for decision or order or replies to the exceptions or brief with SOAH, it must also file a copy with the Chief Clerk of Proceedings.
(e) Commissioner’s Hearing on the Proposal for Decision or Order.
(1) A party may submit a request for a commissioner’s hearing to consider arguments with the Chief Clerk of Proceedings within 10 days after SOAH issues the proposal for decision or order.
(2) The commissioner may determine if a hearing is necessary to consider arguments, whether or not a request for a hearing has been filed. If such a determination is made, the commissioner shall consider the case at a posted hearing of the division, no later than 120 days after:
(A) SOAH provides the division with the proposal for decision or order;
(B) the date of the ALJ’s comments or response to any exceptions or briefs and any replies to such exceptions or briefs; or
(C) the expiration of the ALJ’s deadline for such response in accordance with Title 1 TAC § 155.507 (relating to Proposal for Decision).
(3) If the commissioner determines that a hearing is not necessary, the division will notify any requestors and the commissioner shall consider the case after the later of:
(A) the issuance of the proposal for decision or order;
(B) the date of the expiration of the ALJ’s comments or response to any exceptions or briefs and any replies to such exceptions or briefs; or
(C) the expiration of the ALJ’s deadline for such response in accordance with Title 1 TAC § 155.507.
(f) Issuance of Decision or Order That May Become Final. The commissioner shall issue a decision or order that may become final in contested cases under this section pursuant to Labor Code §§ 407.046, 407A.007, 415.0211, and 415.034. A decision or order that may become final will become final in accordance with Government Code § 2001.144. In all other cases, the commissioner shall issue a final decision or order and no motion for rehearing will be considered.
(g) Motion for Rehearing. A motion for rehearing may be filed in contested cases under this section pursuant to Labor Code §§ 407.046, 407A.007, 415.0211, and 415.034. The procedures of the Government Code, Chapter 2001, Subchapter F govern a motion for rehearing under this section. A motion for rehearing is a prerequisite for filing an appeal of a decision or order under Labor Code §§ 407.046, 407A.007, 415.0211, or 415.034.
(h) Notification. The Chief Clerk of Proceedings shall notify the parties to a contested case of the final decision or order of the commissioner by verifiable means.
(i) Exhaustion of Administrative Remedies. The notification to a party of the commissioner’s final decision or order constitutes exhaustion of all administrative remedies.
(j) Judicial Review. A party dissatisfied with a decision or order of the commissioner may seek judicial review as provided in the Act in accordance with the APA. Judicial review will be in accordance with the Act and the Government Code §§ 2001.171, 2001.172, and 2001.174.
The provisions of this §148.16 adopted to be effective June 9, 2005, 30 TexReg 3237; amended to be effective July 27, 2014, 39 TexReg 5608.