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Potts v. Department of Reg. And Educ.

OPINION FILED JULY 15, 1986.

MARYANN POTTS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,

v.

THE DEPARTMENT OF REGISTRATION AND EDUCATION ET AL., DEFENDANTS-APPELLANTS.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Sangamon County; the Hon. Richard E. Mann, Judge, presiding.

PRESIDING JUSTICE MCCULLOUGH DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Rehearing denied August 29, 1986.

This cause involves a permissive interlocutory appeal. (87 Ill.2d R. 308(a).) The State of Illinois Department of Registration and Education (Department) denied plaintiff Maryann Potts' application for licensure as a naprapath under the Medical Practice Act (Act) (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1983, ch. 111, par. 4401 et seq.). The Department found as a matter of law that the Act did not provide for licensure of naprapaths. Plaintiff filed a complaint for administrative review, and the circuit court reversed the Department's decision, ordering the Department to hold hearings to determine whether naprapathy was a system of treating human ailments under the Act. It granted the Department's motion to certify the following questions for review:

"1. Whether the Department of Registration and Education erred in its interpretation of the Medical Practice Act, Ill. Rev. Stat. ch. 111, sec. 4401 et seq. (1983) in ruling that sec. 4411(2)(b) provides for licensure of only chiropractors, thereby excluding Naprapaths and others as persons seeking licensure to practice `any system or method of treating human ailments without the use of drugs or medicines and without operative surgery'?

2. Whether the Department of Registration and Education has the authority to conduct hearings and to make determinations concerning whether the system or method of treating human ailments known as Naprapathy is the practice of medicine under the Medical Practice Act and existing law."

This court allowed the Department's motion for interlocutory review. For the following reasons, we find the Department erred in its interpretation of the Act but that it is unnecessary for it to conduct hearings to determine whether naprapathy is a system of treating human ailments recognized under the Act, and the answer to the first question certified to this court is yes.

• 1 The basic question before this court is one of statutory construction. It is axiomatic that when reviewing statutory provisions, the courts ascertain the legislative intent and effectuate it if possible. (Dornfeld v. Julian (1984), 104 Ill.2d 261, 266, 472 N.E.2d 431, 432.) The entire statute is examined in this process, and the court will seek to determine the objective the statute sought to accomplish. City of Springfield v. Board of Election Commissioners (1985), 105 Ill.2d 336, 473 N.E.2d 1313.

• 2 The starting point of the court in ascertaining legislative intent is the language of the statute. (Ernst & Ernst v. Hochfelder (1976), 425 U.S. 185, 47 L.Ed.2d 668, 96 S.Ct. 1375, rehearing denied (1976), 425 U.S. 986, 48 L.Ed.2d 811, 96 S.Ct. 2194.) Generally, the words of a statute are given their ordinary and popular meaning. If the words are plain and unambiguous, they must be given effect as they appear in the statute. The court should not attempt to read the statute other than in the manner in which it was written; nor in applying the statutory language is it necessary to search for any subtle or not readily apparent intention of the legislature. The court cannot read into the statute words which are not within the plain intention of the legislature as determined by the statute itself. Kozak v. Retirement Board (1983), 95 Ill.2d 211, 215-16, 447 N.E.2d 394, 396-97.

• 3 Each word, clause, or sentence of a statute should be given some reasonable meaning if possible. (Kozak v. Retirement Board (1983), 95 Ill.2d 211, 447 N.E.2d 394.) The court must give effect to as much of the statute as possible consistent with constitutional principles. (Dornfeld v. Julian (1984), 104 Ill.2d 261, 472 N.E.2d 431.) The legislature is presumed to know the judicial construction of a statute. (Kozak v. Retirement Board (1983), 95 Ill.2d 211, 447 N.E.2d 394.) Reenactment of the statute is, therefore, presumed to be an adoption of prior judicial construction. People v. Palmer (1984), 104 Ill.2d 340, 349, 472 N.E.2d 795, 800; Williams v. Crickman (1980), 81 Ill.2d 105, 111, 405 N.E.2d 799, 802.

• 4 Courts will also give substantial weight and deference to an interpretation of an ambiguous statute by the agency charged with the administration and enforcement of the statute. (Illinois Consolidated Telephone Co. v. Illinois Commerce Com. (1983), 95 Ill.2d 142, 152, 447 N.E.2d 295, 300; Mattson v. Department of Labor (1983), 118 Ill. App.3d 724, 727, 455 N.E.2d 278, 281.) Agency interpretation of statutes which they enforce is a persuasive indication of legislative intent. (Illinois Consolidated Telephone v. Illinois Commerce Com. (1983), 95 Ill.2d 142, 447 N.E.2d 295.) However, the courts are not bound by administrative statutory interpretations. Illinois Consolidated Telephone v. Illinois Commerce Com. (1983), 95 Ill.2d 142, 447 N.E.2d 295; Quincy School District No. 172 v. Board of Review (1984), 129 Ill. App.3d 93, 98, 471 N.E.2d 1056, 1059.

With the above principles in mind, we review the pertinent sections of the Act. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1983, ch. 111, par. 4401 et seq.) We note that portions of the 1983 Act have been amended, but the language under consideration in the instant case was not amended. Section 2 states:

"No person shall practice medicine, or any of its branches, or midwifery, or any system or method of treating human ailments without the use of drugs or medicines and without operative surgery, without a valid, existing license to do so." (Emphasis added.) (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1983, ch. 111, par. 4403.)

Section 4 states in part:

"Each applicant for such ...


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