In contested cases agencies may admit and give probative effect to evidence which possesses probative value commonly accepted by reasonable prudent persons in the conduct of their affairs. They shall give effect to the rules of privilege recognized by law. They may exclude incompetent, irrelevant, immaterial and repetitious evidence.
All evidence, including records and documents containing information classified by law as not public, in the possession of the agency of which it desires to avail itself or which is offered into evidence by a party to a contested case proceeding, shall be made a part of the hearing record of the case. No factual information or evidence shall be considered in the determination of the case unless it is part of the record. Documentary evidence may be received in the form of copies or excerpts, or by incorporation by reference. When the hearing record contains information which is not public, the administrative law judge or the agency may conduct a closed hearing to discuss the information, issue necessary protective orders, and seal all or part of the hearing record.
Every party or agency shall have the right of cross-examination of witnesses who testify, and shall have the right to submit rebuttal evidence.
Agencies may take notice of judicially cognizable facts and in addition may take notice of general, technical, or scientific facts within their specialized knowledge. Parties shall be notified in writing either before or during hearing, or by reference in preliminary reports or otherwise, or by oral statement in the record, of the material so noticed, and they shall be afforded an opportunity to contest the facts so noticed. Agencies may utilize their experience, technical competence, and specialized knowledge in the evaluation of the evidence in the hearing record.