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      RS 27:25     


§25.  Hearing officer; duties

A.(1)  The Louisiana Gaming Control Board Hearing Office is hereby created as a division of the board.  The office shall be headed by the Louisiana gaming control hearing officer.  The office staff shall consist of hearing officers and such other support staff and clerical assistants as may be necessary for the hearing officers to carry out their responsibilities.  Each hearing officer shall be an attorney who has been actively engaged in the practice of law in this state for not less than five years prior to becoming a hearing officer and shall be a full-time employee of the board.

(2)  Upon notification by the Louisiana gaming control hearing officer of the need, the board may contract with attorneys to provide additional hearing officers for the board.  Each contract attorney shall meet all the same requirements as a hearing officer employed by the board.

B.(1)  Any matter which is disputed or contested shall be heard by a hearing officer in a public hearing conducted in accordance with the adjudication provisions of the Administrative Procedure Act.

(2)  Hearings shall be conducted in conformity with the Administrative Procedure Act and, at a minimum, shall provide for:

(a)  The receipt of sworn testimony, including by deposition.

(b)  An opportunity for any interested party to be heard.

(c)  An orderly, predictable, and timely docketing system.

(d)  Submission of the report required in Paragraph (3) of this Subsection, within thirty days after receipt of the record of the hearing conducted as provided for in this Section.

(3)  As to every matter on which a hearing is held, the presiding hearing officer shall submit a report to the board which shall contain, at a minimum, the record of the hearing, including all submissions, his finding of the facts that are pertinent to the decision, his conclusions of applicable law related to the decision, and his decision.  The submission shall be in writing, shall be provided to all involved applicants, and shall be a public record, except for any submitted materials which are confidential pursuant to law.

(4)  Unless required for the disposition of ex parte matters authorized by law, the casino operator or any other licensee or permittee or the attorney general or his designee shall not communicate, directly or indirectly, in connection with any issue of fact or law or any matter which is disputed, with the hearing officer, except upon notice and opportunity for all parties to participate.

C.  The hearing officer may:

(1)  Issue subpoenas and compel the attendance of witnesses or the production of documents.

(2)  Administer oaths.

(3)  Require testimony under oath before the hearing officer in the course of a hearing being held for any reason.

(4)  Issue written interrogatories.

(5)  Punish, as contempt, the failure to obey his orders.  Appeal of an action by a hearing officer holding a person in contempt shall be to the Nineteenth Judicial District Court.

D.  In addition to rules for the hearings provided for in Subsection B of this Section, the Louisiana gaming control hearing officer shall establish rules for the conduct of a short-form hearing to permit the casino operator or any other licensee or permittee of the board who is accused of a violation for which a fine may be imposed to show cause why such fine should not be imposed.  Such a hearing may be waived by the violator.  If such a hearing is held, it shall be held within fifteen days of notification to the casino operator, licensee, or permittee of the violation.  The hearing officer shall uphold the imposition of the penalty except upon a clear and convincing showing that either the penalty should not be imposed or that the matter is sufficiently disputed to require a full hearing.

E.  The hearing officer shall render his decision within thirty days after the hearing is conducted.  Either party to such hearing may appeal the decision of the hearing officer to the board.  Such appeal shall be lodged with the board within thirty days of the rendering of the decision and, if lodged, shall be heard and decided by the board within sixty days of such notice.  Except in the case of an emergency suspension under the provisions of the Administrative Procedure Act, the effect of the hearing officer's decision, including a decision to uphold imposition of a penalty assessed under the provisions of R.S. 27:15, shall be suspended pending a final decision of the Louisiana Gaming Control Board.

Acts 1996, 1st Ex. Sess., No. 7, §1, eff. May 1, 1996; Acts 1997, No. 1076, §1, eff. July 14, 1997; Acts 1998, 1st Ex. Sess., No. 114, §1.

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