Revision: Jan. 22, 2019, 10:19 a.m.
SB 203 - AS INTRODUCED
SENATE BILL 203
SPONSORS: Sen. Bradley, Dist 3
COMMITTEE: Energy and Natural Resources
This bill makes modifications to legal requirements for wetlands and environmental council administrative appeals.
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Explanation: Matter added to current law appears in bold italics.
Matter removed from current law appears [in brackets and struckthrough.]
Matter which is either (a) all new or (b) repealed and reenacted appears in regular type.
STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE
In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Nineteen
Be it Enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court convened:
V. The wetlands council shall hear all administrative appeals from department decisions, whether technical review was by the department or by an applicant's design professional, made under RSA 482-A relative to wetlands, or under RSA 483-B relative to shoreland protection and shall decide all disputed issues of fact in such appeals, in accordance with RSA 21-O:14.
I-a.(a) Any person aggrieved by a department decision may, in addition to any other remedy provided by law, appeal to the council having jurisdiction over the subject matter of the appeal within 30 days of the date of the decision and shall set forth fully in a notice of appeal every ground upon which it is claimed that the decision complained of is unlawful or unreasonable. Only those grounds set forth in the notice of appeal shall be considered by the council. On any such appeal, the council shall determine whether the department decision was unlawful or unreasonable by reviewing the administrative record together with any evidence and testimony the parties to the appeal may present.
(b) On appeal, the council may affirm the department decision or may remand the matter to the commissioner with a determination that the decision complained of is unlawful or unreasonable. The council shall specify the factual and legal basis for its determination and shall identify the evidence in the record created before the council that supports its decision.
(c) In the case of a remand to the commissioner by the council, the commissioner shall:
(1) Accept the council's determination and take action consistent with the determination, imposing such conditions as are necessary and consistent with the purposes of the chapter under which the department decision was issued; or
(2) Appeal as provided in paragraph III.
(d) If the commissioner issues a revised decision, the department may at any time, and the appellant may within 30 days of issuance, request the council to confirm that the revised decision is consistent with the council's remand order.
III. [Persons] Any party aggrieved by the disposition of an administrative [appeals] appeal before any council established by this chapter may appeal such results in accordance with RSA 541.
(f) Prepare and issue written decisions on all motions and on the merits of the appeal within  100 days of the conclusion of the hearing on the merits. The hearing officer shall provide the council with a proposed written decision on the merits within 45 days of the conclusion of the hearing on the merits. If requested to do so by the members of the council participating in the discussion, the hearing officer shall meet with those members within the  100 day period to discuss the decision.
I. All agencies and departments of the state shall issue biennial reports summarizing their operations. All reports shall cover periods ending on June 30, and be posted to the state transparency website, with one paper copy submitted to the state library by October 1. Biennial reports shall cover periods ending in odd-numbered years beginning with 2015. State agencies and departments shall make every effort to limit or eliminate the production of paper reports. The governor and council, speaker of the house of representatives, and the senate president shall be notified by letter that a report is available on the state transparency website. Any agency or department required to issue more frequent reports is relieved of the reporting requirement of this paragraph.
IV. The council shall consult with and advise the commissioner of the department of environmental services, or his or her designee, on a continuing basis with respect to the policy, programs, goals, and operations of the department as they relate to wetlands and protected shorelands with particular emphasis on long-range planning for the department and on education of the public relative to the functions of the department. In order to accomplish these purposes, the council shall meet with the commissioner, or his or her designee not less frequently than quarterly, or at the call of the chairperson or 3 council members. The council shall file annually a report of its deliberations and recommendations with the commissioner of the department of environmental services and the governor and council.