33-16-1012. Functions and powers of classification review committee -- hearings -- rulemaking. (1) The classification review committee shall:
(a) meet not less than semiannually to conduct its business;
(b) make the final determination regarding the establishment or revision of all classifications in accordance with the procedures set forth in Title 2, chapter 4, part 3;
(c) publish material and pamphlets as it considers appropriate;
(d) act as a review committee concerning objections filed by a policyholder or insurer in relation to classifications assigned to a policyholder according to rules governing the issuance or application of classifications; and
(e) make rules as may be necessary for the conduct of any business that is subject to notice and hearings. The rules must be published and adopted as provided in Title 2, chapter 4, part 3, and must be published in the Administrative Rules of Montana as part of the rules promulgated by the commissioner of insurance.
(2) (a) The initial hearing conducted by the committee pursuant to subsection (1)(d) must be informal and nonbinding upon the parties and must be conducted pursuant to rules of procedure that the committee considers to be appropriate. The committee shall issue its written advisory decision within 30 days of the conclusion of the hearing and send a written copy of the decision by first-class mail, postage prepaid, to each party. Each party to the informal hearing shall notify the committee and each other party of the notifying party's intent to be bound or not bound by the committee's advisory decision, and the notice must be made within 30 days of the date the committee mails the written copy of the decision to the parties.
(b) A party who is aggrieved by the advisory decision of the committee, or by the refusal of a party to be bound by the committee's advisory decision rendered after a hearing conducted pursuant to subsection (2)(a) may, within 30 days after the expiration of the 30-day notice deadline specified in subsection (2)(a), initiate an informal contested case proceeding pursuant to 2-4-604 before the committee, and the committee shall hear the matter in a de novo administrative proceeding as provided in Title 2, chapter 4, part 6. The committee may, in its discretion or at the request of any party, appoint a hearings examiner. If a hearings examiner is appointed, the examiner shall take evidence and prepare proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law that the committee may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, based on the evidence produced during the informal contested case proceeding.
(c) A party who is aggrieved by a decision of the committee rendered after a hearing conducted pursuant to subsection (2)(b) may petition the workers' compensation court for judicial review of the decision pursuant to Title 2, chapter 4, part 7.
(3) The committee is subject to the provisions of Title 2, chapter 3, parts 1 and 2.