Whether the issue is clean air or car headlights, employee safety
or holes in Swiss cheese, federal agency "rules" affect our lives.
After a law has been passed by Congress, the authority to define
the rules and regulations that will interpret and administer the
law is given to a federal agency, operating under guidelines set
by legislation, executive orders of the president, court decisions
and agency procedures. The resulting regulations have the force of
law. Many state governments use similar procedures; where there is
a conflict, the federal decisions preempt state laws and rules.
Rulemaking has been largely invisible, but most is carried out using
a procedure called "informal rulemaking" - a notice and comment
process in which the public must be invited to take part. ("Formal
rulemaking" follows procedures similar to a court trial.) All
material comments must be considered in the agency's response.
Rulemaking records (agency "dockets") are now going online, so that
anyone with access to the Internet will be able to follow the
arguments and join in the process.
Information Renaissance supports this use of the interactive
capabilities of the Internet to improve public participation in
rulemaking. Our goal is e-government that enhances transparency and
participation, and increases public understanding of how government
Articles and proposals related to public participation in rulemaking
are available below.