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RULE §215.41Presiding Officials

A hearing officer of a contested case shall be assigned in accordance with applicable law, including Occupations Code, §2301.704. The term "hearing officer" as used in this section includes the Board when presiding over a hearing.

  (1) Powers and duties. Hearing officers shall have the duty to conduct fair and impartial hearings, and the power to take all necessary action to avoid delay in the disposition of proceedings and to maintain order. Hearing officers shall have all powers necessary to these ends, including the authority to administer oaths; to examine witnesses; to rule upon the admissibility of evidence; to rule upon motions; and to regulate the course of the hearing and the conduct of the parties and counsel.

  (2) Disqualification. If a hearing officer determines that the hearing officer should be recused from a particular hearing, the hearing officer shall withdraw from the proceeding by giving notice on the record and by notifying the appropriate department office of the withdrawal. Whenever a party deems the hearing officer to be disqualified to preside in a particular hearing, the party may file a motion to disqualify and remove the hearing officer. The motion to disqualify and remove shall be supported by affidavits setting forth the alleged grounds for disqualification. A copy of the motion shall be served on the hearing officer who shall have 10 days within which to reply. If the hearing officer contests the alleged grounds for disqualification, the department shall promptly determine the validity of the grounds alleged, such decision being determinative of the issue.

  (3) Substitution of hearing officer. If the hearing officer is disqualified, dies, becomes disabled, or withdraws during any proceeding, the department may appoint another hearing officer who may perform any function remaining to be performed without the necessity of repeating any proceedings in the case.

Source Note: The provisions of this §215.41 adopted to be effective February 11, 2010, 35 TexReg 883; amended to be effective March 11, 2014, 39 TexReg 1728

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