In addition to rulemaking authority, some agencies are given the power to enforce laws/regulations and adjudicate disputes.
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Arizona Medical Board Example
The Arizona legislature gave the Board the power to enforce the laws and regulations related to physicians. A.R.S. 32-1403(A)(2) allows the Board to investigate and determine whether a doctor has engaged in unprofessional conduct or provided incompetent medical care. A.R.S. 32-1403(A)(5) allows the Board to discipline a doctor who has engaged in such conduct.
A.R.S. 32-1451 provides the specific steps the Board must take to discipline a doctor and provides the doctor with the right to a hearing. These hearings result in agency decisions called board actions. (Agency decisions have many different names such as opinions, ALJ rulings, board actions, etc.) Arizona Medical Board actions are available on the agency's website for the past two years. Older ones are available on Westlaw.
Examples of How to Incur the Wrath of the Arizona Medical Board
In our three branch system of government, courts have the power to review the validity of regulations and agency decisions, just like they have the power to review the validity of statutes. Since regulations and agency decisions often involve things that are important to people or corporations like money, benefits, the environment, or individual rights, they are often the subject of lawsuits.
Judicial Review of Regulations
There are only a few reasons that Arizona courts will invalidate regulations or declare them to be unconstitutional.
An agency exceeded its legislative grant of authority to enact regulations.
An agency failed to follow the procedural requirements of the APA.
An agency enacted regulations that are arbitrary or unreasonable.
Judicial Review of Agency Decisions
Similarly, Arizona agency decisions are subject to review and will generally only be overturned if arbitrary and capricious or unsupported by the evidence.