As noted in this Monday’s New Jersey Law Journal, 203 N.J.L.J. 590 (Feb.28,2011),
Assembly Bill 2722 [First Reprint] (passed by the Assembly Feb.17th) would authorize certain Administrative Law Judge decisions to be made either without written opinion or with a decision in the form of a checklist, and would also eliminate the power of several agencies to reject or modify ALJ decisions.
The bill would amend N.J.S.A. 52:14B-10 by adding this language in subsection (c):
Unless the head of the agency requests that the recommended report and decision be filed in writing, the recommended report and decision of the administrative law judge may be filed orally in such appropriate cases as prescribed by the director and if a transcript has been requested pursuant to subsection (e) of section 9 of P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-9). ….
An administrative law judge may file a recommended report and decision in the form of a checklist in such appropriate cases and formats as prescribed by the director after consultation with each State agency.
and would add a subsection (g) reading in part as follows:
With regard to contested cases commenced with an agency on or after the effective date of … this bill…. that are described in this subsection1, the report and decision of the administrative law judge shall be the final decision upon the filing thereof with the agency, notwithstanding any other provision of State law to the contrary. In such contested cases, the head of the agency shall not have the opportunity to reject or modify the administrative law judge’s report and decision pursuant to subsection (c) of this section and the final decision by the administrative law judge shall comply with the requirements of and shall be given the same effect as a final decision of the head of the agency … This subsection shall apply to any contested case from:
- (1) the Department of Community Affairs;
- (2) the Department of Education;
- (3) the Department of Environmental Protection;
- (4) the Department of Children and Families involving placement on a child abuse registry;
- (5) the Department of Health and Senior Services involving placement on the nurse aid registry, and penalty matters;
- (6) the Division of Family Development in the Department of Human Services;
- (7) the Division of Civil Rights in the Department of Law and Public Safety;
- (8) the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission;
- (9) the Civil Service Commission; and
- (10) the Department of Law and Public Safety under P.L.1988, c.123 (C.56:12-29 et seq.).[the lemon law]
Under another added subsection (f), other agency heads could order that in certain categories of cases the ALJ decision would be final.