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RULE §575.8Final Decision and Orders

(a) Board action. A copy of the final decision or order shall be delivered or mailed to any party and to the attorney of record.

(b) Recorded. All final decisions and orders of the Board shall be in writing and shall be signed by the president, vice-president, or secretary and reported in the minutes of the meeting. A final order shall include findings of fact and conclusions of law, separately stated.

(c) Imminent peril. If the Board finds that imminent peril to the public's health, safety, or welfare requires immediate effect of a final decision or order in a contested case, it shall recite the finding in the decision or order as well as the fact that the decision or order is final and effective on the date rendered, in which event the decision or order is final and appealable on the date rendered and no motion for rehearing is required as a prerequisite for appeal.

(d) Changes to findings of fact and conclusions of law.

  (1) Reasons to change findings of fact and conclusions of law. The Board is charged by the legislature to protect the public interest, is an independent agency of the executive branch of the government of the State of Texas, and is the primary means of licensing, regulating and disciplining veterinarians, licensed veterinary technicians, and equine dental providers. Therefore, to ensure that sound veterinary medical principles govern the decisions of the Board, it is the policy of the Board to change a finding of fact or conclusion of law or to vacate or modify any proposed order of an ALJ only when the Board determines:

    (A) that the ALJ did not properly apply or interpret applicable law, Board rules, written policies, or prior administrative decisions;

    (B) that a prior administrative decision on which the ALJ relied is incorrect or should be changed; or

    (C) that a technical error in a finding of fact should be changed.

  (2) Recommendations regarding the appropriate sanction. Section 801.456(a) of the Veterinary Licensing Act requires that, after receiving the ALJ's findings of fact and conclusions of law, the Board may determine that a violation occurred and impose an administrative penalty. The Board interprets this requirement as imposing on the Board the responsibility of assessing the proper sanction. While the Board welcomes the recommendations of ALJs regarding the appropriate sanction, the Board does not consider the findings of fact and conclusions of law to be appropriate for stating such recommendations. Therefore, sanction recommendations in the form of findings of fact and conclusions of law are considered to be an improper application of applicable law and these rules.

  (3) Changes stated in final order. If the Board modifies, amends, or changes the ALJ's proposed findings of fact or conclusions of law, an order shall be prepared reflecting the specific reason and legal basis for each change made.

(e) Administrative finality. A final order or Board decision is administratively final:

  (1) upon a finding of imminent peril to the public's health, safety or welfare, as outlined in subsection (c) of this section;

  (2) when no motion for rehearing has been filed within 20 days after the date the final order or Board decision is entered; or

  (3) when a timely motion for rehearing is filed and the motion for rehearing is denied by Board order or operation of law as outlined in §575.9 of this title (relating to Motions for Rehearing).

Source Note: The provisions of this §575.8 adopted to be effective July 13, 2008, 33 TexReg 5528; amended to be effective June 20, 2012, 37 TexReg 4425; amended to be effective May 4, 2014, 39 TexReg 3429

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