Notice & Comment

ACUS Publishing Six New Recommendations and One Statement (ACUS Update)

At its 73rd Plenary Session in December 2020, the ACUS Assembly adopted six new recommendations and one statement. These are all on public inspection today and set to be published in the Federal Register tomorrow. From the notice:

Recommendation 2020-1, Rules on Rulemakings. This recommendation encourages agencies to consider issuing rules governing their rulemaking procedures. It identifies subjects that agencies should consider addressing in their rules on rulemakings—without prescribing any particular procedures—and it urges agencies to solicit public input on these rules and make them publicly available.

Recommendation 2020-2, Protected Materials in Public Rulemaking Dockets. This recommendation offers agencies best practices for protecting sensitive personal and confidential commercial information in public rulemaking dockets. It identifies, in particular, best practices for agencies to use when redacting, summarizing, and aggregating comments that contain such information. It also encourages agencies to provide public notices that discourage commenters from submitting such information in the first place.

Recommendation 2020-3,  Agency Appellate Systems. This recommendation offers agencies best practices to improve administrative review of hearing-level adjudicative decisions with respect to case selection, decision-making process and procedures, management oversight, and public disclosure and transparency. In doing so, it encourages agencies to identify the objectives of such review and structure their appellate systems to serve those objectives.

Recommendation 2020-4, Government Contract Bid Protests Before Agencies. This recommendation suggests improvements to the procedures governing agency-level procurement contract disputes—commonly called bid protests—under the Federal Acquisition Regulation and agency-specific regulations to make those procedures more simple, transparent, and predictable. It urges agencies to clarify what types of decisions can be the subjects of agency-level bid protests, what processes and deadlines will govern such protests, and who in the agency will decide such protests; make it easier for protesters to get information about the decisions they protest; and publish more data on agency-level protests.

Recommendation 2020-5,  Publication of Policies Governing Agency Adjudicators. This recommendation encourages agencies to disclose policies governing the appointment and oversight of adjudicators that bear on their impartiality and constitutional status. It offers best practices on how to provide descriptions of, and access to, such policies on agency websites.

Recommendation 2020-6, Agency Litigation Webpages. This recommendation offers agencies best practices for making their federal court filings and relevant court opinions available to the public on their websites, with particular emphasis on materials from litigation dealing with agency regulatory programs. It provides guidance on the types of litigation materials that will be of greatest interest to the public and on how agencies can disseminate the materials in a way that makes them easy to find.

Statement #20, Agency Use of Artificial Intelligence. This statement identifies issues agencies should consider when adopting, revamping, establishing policies and practices governing, and regularly monitoring artificial intelligence systems. Among the topics it addresses are transparency, harmful biases, technical capacity, procurement, privacy, security, decisional authority, and oversight.

The full text of the recommendations are included in the Federal Register notice, and all the materials associated with the projects are available at the links above.

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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