Rulemaking

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The Conference studied procedures and best practices for managing ex parte contacts in the informal rulemaking process.  The study examined the propriety of ex parte communications during various stages of the rulemaking process and clarified the agencies’ legal obligations to preserve public participation rights and facilitate judicial review.

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This project examined how agencies use internet-based technologies, particularly their websites, to support rulemaking activities and improve access to e-rulemaking portals.  It sought to identify useful innovations and best practices that could be spread to other agencies.

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This study focused on the many legal issues that arise in e-Rulemaking, including how agencies may use software to determine that submitted comments are identical or nearly identical, and whether agencies can (and should) destroy paper copies of comments scanned to electronic form. The resulting recommendation identifies approaches that agencies can lawfully use to reduce costs and improve efficiency in e-Rulemaking.

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Background: In the last three months of a presidential administration, rulemaking activity increases considerably when compared to the same period in a non-transition year.*  Although part of this increase likely results from ordinary procrastination and external delays, scholars have suggested that administrations also use the “midnight” period more strategically.  First, administrations are said to have reserved...

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The Conference studied the use of petitions for rulemaking, their potential to improve responsiveness to citizen concerns, and best practices for facilitating submission and guiding agency responses. 

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This recommendation provides guidance to agencies on whether, how, and when social media might be used both lawfully and effectively to support rulemaking activities.