INFORMATION RENAISSANCE
PUBLIC PARTICIPATION IN RULEMAKING
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WHAT
WHY
HOW
WHO

Background

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 functions.

Articles and proposals related to public participation in rulemaking are available below.

Rulemaking
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