84-901. Terms, defined.

For purposes of the Administrative Procedure Act:

(1) Agency shall mean each board, commission, department, officer, division, or other administrative office or unit of the state government authorized by law to make rules and regulations, except the Adjutant General's office as provided in Chapter 55, the courts including the Nebraska Workers' Compensation Court, the Commission of Industrial Relations, the Legislature, and the Secretary of State with respect to the duties imposed by the act;

(2) Rule or regulation shall mean any standard of general application adopted by an agency in accordance with the authority conferred by statute and includes, but is not limited to, the amendment or repeal of a rule or regulation. Rule or regulation shall not include (a) internal procedural documents which provide guidance to staff on agency organization and operations, lacking the force of law, and not relied upon to bind the public, (b) guidance documents as issued by an agency in accordance with section 84-901.03, and (c) forms and instructions developed by an agency. For purposes of the act, every standard which prescribes a penalty shall be presumed to have general applicability and any standard affecting private rights, private interests, or procedures available to the public is presumed to be relied upon to bind the public. Nothing in this section shall be interpreted to require an agency to adopt and promulgate rules and regulations when statute authorizes but does not require it;

(3) Contested case shall mean a proceeding before an agency in which the legal rights, duties, or privileges of specific parties are required by law or constitutional right to be determined after an agency hearing;

(4) Ex parte communication shall mean an oral or written communication which is not on the record in a contested case with respect to which reasonable notice to all parties was not given. Filing and notice of filing provided under subdivision (6)(d) of section 84-914 shall not be considered on the record and reasonable notice for purposes of this subdivision. Ex parte communication shall not include:

(a) Communications which do not pertain to the merits of a contested case;

(b) Communications required for the disposition of ex parte matters as authorized by law;

(c) Communications in a ratemaking or rulemaking proceeding; and

(d) Communications to which all parties have given consent;

(5) Guidance document shall mean any statement developed by an agency which lacks the force of law but provides information or direction of general application to the public to interpret or implement statutes or such agency’s rules or regulations. A guidance document is binding on an agency until amended by the agency. A guidance document shall not give rise to any legal right or duty or be treated as authority for any standard, requirement, or policy. Internal procedural documents which provide guidance to staff on agency organization and operations shall not be considered guidance documents; and

(6) Hearing officer shall mean the person or persons conducting a hearing, contested case, or other proceeding pursuant to the act, whether designated as the presiding officer, administrative law judge, or some other title designation.

Source:Laws 1945, c. 255, § 1, p. 795; Laws 1947, c. 350, § 1, p. 1097; Laws 1951, c. 342, § 1, p. 1128; Laws 1959, c. 456, § 1, p. 1510; Laws 1974, LB 819, § 11; Laws 1978, LB 44, § 1; Laws 1981, LB 130, § 1; Laws 1986, LB 992, § 1; Laws 1987, LB 253, § 1; Laws 1994, LB 414, § 135; Laws 1994, LB 446, § 14; Laws 2016, LB867, § 4; Laws 2017, LB209, § 1.