Public Participation

Public participation is an integral part of many agency decision-making processes, including rulemaking under the Administrative Procedure Act. It is also central to ACUS’s statutory mission (5 U.S.C. § 591). As ACUS has recognized in the context of agency rulemaking: “By providing opportunities for public input and dialogue, agencies can obtain more comprehensive information, enhance the legitimacy and accountability of their decisions, and increase public support for their rules.”

ACUS has adopted many recommendations and produced many other resources to help agencies promote meaningful public participation in their decision-making processes. The Statement of Principles for Public Engagement in Agency Rulemaking provides a general overview of ACUS recommendations on the subject. This page provides access to individual recommendations, reports, and other resources.

Statements of Principles


Information Interchange Bulletins

Forum on Enhancing Public Input in Agency Rulemaking (December 1, 2021)

This forum explored the important role of public input in federal agency rulemaking. Through two panels and remarks, it considered what types of public input are most valuable to agencies and how agencies can structure the rulemaking process to receive that input. The forum examined both best practices under the current notice-and-comment process and possible reforms that would enhance public participation in the rulemaking process.

Watch the forum here, or read the transcript here.

Forum on Underserved Communities and the Regulatory Process (November 2021)

This forum addressed participation by underserved communities and their members in the administrative processes (including rulemaking and adjudication) by which agencies make regulatory policies. It addressed Executive Order 13985, Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government, which requires that federal agencies “pursue a comprehensive approach to advancing equity for all,” including communities “that have been historically underserved, marginalized, and adversely affected by persistent poverty and inequality.” 

Six panels featured leading governmental policymakers, community advocates, and academic experts. Watch the panels here:

  • Panel 1: Identifying Underserved Communities [Transcript]
  • Panel 2: Sources of Reforms to Improve Engagement with Underserved Communities [Transcript]
  • Panel 3: Barriers Preventing Underserved Communities from Participating in Regulatory Policymaking [Transcript]
  • Panel 4: Learning from Past and Present Efforts to Engage with Underserved Communities [Transcript]
  • Panel 5: Learning from State and Local Agencies’ Efforts to Engage with Underserved Communities [Transcript]
  • Panel 6: Expanding on Efforts to Engage with Underserved Communities [Transcript]

Mass and Fake Comments in Agency Rulemaking (October 5, 2018)

This forum addressed the phenomenon of mass comments and the rise of fake comments in rulemaking. Speakers included leading government policymakers and academic experts.

Read a transcript of the forum here.