Notice & Comment

ACUS Delays Spring Committee Meetings and June Plenary (ACUS Update)

The Administrative Conference has announced that it is delaying consideration of the slate of projects that were set for this spring, including by delaying the plenary session that was scheduled for June. This decision is prudent, if not surprising. How long the postponement will last has not yet been decided, but whenever new dates are announced, I’ll share the information here.

In the meantime, I may as well preview the projects that will be under consideration when meetings can resume. Here are descriptions of the projects, drawn from the ACUS website, with links to each of the project pages (where documents such as draft reports and recommendations will be available):

Agency Appellate Systems:

This project studies agencies’ appellate review of hearing-level adjudicative decisions. Topics include the structure, composition, functions, procedures, and authority of agency appellate bodies. Resulting recommendations will focus on the ways in which agencies can enhance both the efficiency and fairness of appellate review.  

Agency Bid Protests:

This project studies agency-level bid protest procedures under the Federal Acquisition Regulation and agency-specific regulations. It analyzes agency-specific regulations governing a variety of bid protest procedures, including higher-level agency review, insertion of clauses regarding protest procedures in solicitations, and discovery and exchange of information during protests. The project will offer a series of options for agency-level bid protest procedures and recommendations regarding when specific procedures may be appropriate for adoption. 

Agency Litigation Webpages:

This project studies whether and how agencies should make their federal court filings and relevant court opinions available to the public on their websites. Particular emphasis will be placed on litigation dealing with agency regulatory programs. The project will look at ways agencies can post documents to maximize their accessibility to interested members of the public while minimizing the resource burden imposed on the agencies. 

Protected Materials in Public Rulemaking Dockets:

This project examines how agencies protect confidential business information, such as trade secrets and financial regulatory information, and personally identifiable information, such as medical information, within their public rulemaking dockets, while achieving an appropriate level of disclosure. Recommendation 2013-4, Administrative Record in Informal Rulemaking, urged agencies to seek “maximum disclosure” in the public rulemaking docket but did not address precisely how agencies should safeguard protected materials that underlie proposed rules. This project builds on Recommendation 2013-4 by studying practices agencies use to balance transparency and confidentiality in rulemaking, such as disclosing aggregate data without compromising the underlying information’s confidentiality and redacting protected information. 

Rules on Rulemakings:

This project addresses whether and when agencies should adopt rules setting forth the procedures the agencies follow when issuing rules. These procedures can include internal approval requirements for proposed rules. They also can cover various aspects of the rulemaking process throughout the lifecycle of the rule, from initiating a new rule (e.g., petitions for rulemaking) to reassessing existing rules (e.g., retrospective review). The project will not seek to dictate the precise types of rulemaking procedures agencies should adopt, but it will explore the potential costs and benefits of a single rule or set of rules that set forth an agency’s rulemaking practices.

This post is part of the Administrative Conference Update series, which highlights new and continuing projects, upcoming committee meetings, proposed and recently adopted recommendations, and other news about the Administrative Conference of the United States. The series is further explained here, and all posts in the series can be found here.

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