The Federal Communications Commission (FCC or Commission) has released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) seeking comment on a process to decrease costs and increase efficiency in administrative hearings. The procedures proposed will serve as a supplement to the current administrative law judge referral process. The Commission argues that these rules would drastically expedite the Commission’s hearing process while ensuring transparency and procedural fairness. The NPRM proposes rules that would (1) codify and expand the use of written testimony in lieu of live testimony and cross-examination; (2) enable Commission staff to act as case managers in supervising the development of written hearing records; and (3) dispense with the need for an intermediate opinion when the record of proceeding can be certified to the Commission for a final decision.

Interested parties may file comments 30 days after the NPRM is published in the Federal Register (it has yet to be published), and may file reply comments 45 days after its date of publication in the Federal Register