Notice & Comment

ACUS Recommendations from the 61st Plenary Session, by Chris Walker

Last week the Administrative Conference of the United States (ACUS) held its 61st Plenary Session. I’ve previously blogged about the important work ACUS does for the federal regulatory state. I hope to find more time to blog about the three recommendations ACUS approved — especially the one on retrospective review of agency rules. But for now I’ll just provide the brief ACUS summary for each recommendation with links to the full reports and recommendations.

Recommendation No. 1: Petitions for Rulemaking

This recommendation identifies agency procedures and best practices for accepting, processing, and responding to petitions for rulemaking. It seeks to ensure that the public’s right to petition is a meaningful one, while still respecting the need for agencies to retain decisional autonomy. Building upon ACUS’s previous work on the subject, it provides additional guidance that may make the petitioning process more useful for agencies, petitioners, and the public.

Recommendation No 2:  Retrospective Review of Agency Rules

This recommendation examines agencies’ procedures for reanalyzing and amending existing regulations and offers recommendations designed to promote a culture of retrospective review at agencies. Among other things, it urges agencies to plan for retrospective review when drafting new regulations; highlights considerations germane to selecting regulations for reevaluation; identifies factors relevant to ensuring robust review; and encourages agencies to coordinate with the Office of Management and Budget, other agencies, and outside entities (including stakeholders and foreign regulators) when designing and conducting retrospective reviews.

Recommendation No. 3:  Best Practices for Using Video Teleconferencing

This recommendation offers practical guidance regarding how best to conduct video hearings, and addresses the following subjects: equipment and environment, training, financial considerations, procedural practices, fairness and satisfaction, and collaboration among agencies. It also provides for the development of a video hearings handbook by ACUS’s Office of the Chairman.

[12/11/2014 UPDATE: Shortly after I posted this summary, ACUS issued a press release that contains a similar summary and a bit more information. Here is the link.]

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