Texas Administrative Code Section 55.27
In addition to failing to offer any guidance on what constitutes a reasonable hearing request, the statute is silent as to what form of proceeding, if any, is necessary to make the preliminary determination of whether the statutory prerequisites for a hearing request are met.
By its rules, the Commission has provided that to the extent it must decide whether a request for a hearing should be granted, it is not required to hold a contested-case hearing:
"The determination of the validity of a hearing request is not, in itself, a contested case subject to the APA." 30 Tex. Admin. Code 55.27 (1999).
The Commission is only required to evaluate the hearing request at a scheduled public Commission meeting where it may decide to proceed in one of four possible ways. Section 55.27 provides that upon evaluating the hearing request at the scheduled hearing, the Commission may:
(1) determine that a hearing request does not meet the requirements of this subchapter, and act on the application;
(2) determine that a hearing request does not meet the requirements of this subchapter, and refer the application to a public meeting to develop public comment before acting on the application;
(3) determine that a hearing request meets the requirements of this subchapter, and direct the chief clerk to refer the application to SOAH [State Office of Administrative Hearings] for a hearing; or
(4) direct the chief clerk to refer the hearing request to SOAH. the referral may specify that SOAH should prepare a recommendation on the sole question of whether the request meets the requirements of this subchapter . . . . If the commission refers the hearing request to SOAH it shall be processed as a contested case under the APA. 30 Tex. Admin. Code 55.27(a).