Ongoing ACUS Projects in Fall 2020

ACUS’s five standing committees and a sixth ad hoc committee are considering or have approved recommendations for seven new projects. If approved by the committees and placed on the agenda by the Council, these projects will be considered at the 73rd Plenary Session, which will be held virtually on December 16 and 17.

Committee on Adjudication

The Committee on Adjudication is considering two projects. The first, Agency Appellate Systems, studies agencies’ appellate review of hearing-level adjudicative decisions, including the structure, composition, functions, procedures, and authority of agency appellate bodies, and focuses on the ways agencies can enhance both the efficiency and fairness of appellate review.

The second project, Public Availability of Information on Agency Adjudicators, addresses agency disclosure of policies that will allow the public to ascertain, among other things, the constitutional status and relative impartiality of federal agency adjudicators, such as those relating to selection, appointment, supervision, evaluation, discipline, and removal.

Committee on Administration and Management

As described in a recent blog post, the Committee on Administration and Management has approved a draft recommendation to improve Government Contract Bid Protests Before Agencies. This recommendation seeks to improve the procedures governing agency-level, procurement contract disputes—which are commonly called bid protests—under the Federal Acquisition Regulation and agency-specific regulations.

Ad Hoc Committee on Artificial Intelligence

As part of ACUS’s ongoing study of federal agencies’ use of artificial intelligence, an ad hoc committee will consider whether the Conference should issue a statement on Agency Use of Artificial Intelligence. Among other topics, such a statement might address how agencies can best ensure due process, promote transparency, and protect against the possibility of bias in their uses of AI. This project draws on two major reports delivered to the Conference earlier this year—Government by Algorithm: Artificial Intelligence in Federal Administrative Agencies and A Framework for Governmental Use of Machine Learning—and the recent Symposium on Artificial Intelligence in Federal Agencies.

Committee on Judicial Review

The Committee on Judicial Review is considering Agency Litigation Pages. This project studies whether and how agencies should make their federal court filings and relevant court opinions available to the public on their websites and looks at ways that agencies can post documents to maximize their accessibility while minimizing the resource burden imposed on the agencies.

Committee on Regulation

The Committee on Regulation is considering Rules on Rulemakings. This project addresses whether and when agencies should adopt rules setting forth procedures for informal rulemaking. The project does not seek to dictate the precise types of rulemaking procedures agencies should adopt, but gives agencies a “menu of options” to include within their rules on rulemakings, such as: internally initiating and approving rulemakings, performing ex ante and retrospective analyses of rules, and soliciting and analyzing public comments.

Committee on Rulemaking

The Rulemaking Committee is considering Protected Materials in Public Rulemaking Dockets. This project examines how agencies can protect confidential business information, such as trade secrets and financial regulatory information, and personally identifiable information, such as medical information, within public rulemaking dockets while achieving an appropriate level of disclosure.