The Committee on Regulation recently approved a series of draft recommendations to agencies that aim to suggest best practices regarding seeking input on regulatory alternatives early in the rulemaking process.
Several statutes and executive orders require agencies to consider alternative regulatory options when deciding on a path to take in a proposed rulemaking. Even when not legally required, however, it can be valuable for agencies to seek early input regarding the alternatives under consideration and other alternatives they may not have considered. This process can help agencies learn more about the benefits, costs, distributional impacts, and technical feasibility of the alternatives they are considering, and it often leads to better-informed decision making by the agency.
Developing Regulatory Alternatives Through Early Input, a report for ACUS on this topic by Stuart Shapiro, Professor and Associate Dean of Faculty at the Rutgers University Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, and Christopher Carrigan, Associate Professor of Public Policy and Public Administration at the George Washington University Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration and Co-Director of the George Washington Regulatory Studies Center, emphasizes that agencies who do engage in this process often find it very helpful, and many agencies already engage in some amount of seeking early input.
Informed by this report, the Committee voted to approve a series of draft recommendations that suggests best practices for soliciting early input. This includes recommendations regarding what factors to consider when deciding whether to request input, what methods agencies might find most useful for soliciting input, and how agencies can seek input from groups that might not otherwise participate. The draft recommendations also address best practices for how agencies should document the early input they receive.
If placed on the agenda by the Council, the full Assembly will discuss and vote on the Recommendation during the Conference’s 74th Plenary Session in June.