"But if all the roads arrive in the same place at the same time, then aren't they all the right way?" asked Milo.
"Certainly not," he shouted, glaring from his most upset face. "They're all the wrong way. Just because you have a choice, doesn't mean that any of them has to be right."
-- Norton Juster, The Phantom Tollbooth
Statutes give agencies general guidance in creating programs but leave the details up to an agency to work out. The detailed rules of how a program functions can be found in the regulations drafted by the agency. Regulations have the force of law. Regulations, proposed regulations, and public comment notices are online and searchable in the state’s eRegulations system.
The process of developing regulations is complex and largely hidden from view, unless you know where to look. The process begins with statutory language that directs an agency to adopt regulations. The agency then drafts proposed regulation to implement the law.
The agency must publish a notice that they intend to create regulations, give a description of the proposal online, and give the public at least 30 days to comment. You can comment by mail, online through eRegulations, or at a public hearing if the agency holds one. Public hearings on proposed regulations are held by the relevant agency, not the legislature. If the agency decides to move forward with the regulation, they must respond to written public comments. The response must include "principal reasons in support of its intended action … and … the principal considerations in opposition to its intended action as urged in written or oral comments on the proposed regulation and its reasons for rejecting such considerations." They must send a response to everyone who submitted written comments and asked for a response. If you submit through the eRegulations system, you will automatically get a response. The proposed regulation next goes to the Attorney General’s Office for certification.
The proposed regulation then goes to the Legislative Regulations Review Committee (LRRC). Unlike most legislative committees, the LRRC includes an equal number of legislators from each party and meets throughout the year. The Committee Co-Chairs, one Senator and one Representative, are split between parties and change every two years. The Committee’s role is to review proposed regulations to be sure they are consistent with the legislature’s original intent, are constitutional, and don’t conflict with other state or federal laws. The Committee’s website has lists of proposed regulations that have been submitted for their review by year. The list includes a description of the proposed regulation, the agency affected, the relevant statute, the dates of notices, and the Committee’s action. Actions include approved, approved with technical corrections, withdrawn by the agency, rejected without prejudice (sent back to the agency for revisions) or disapproved (rarely happens).
When the LRRC has approved the regulation, it is final. It will be posted online within ten days.
Advocates have had good success in the past influencing regulations advocating both with the agency and with legislators.
SOTS info on regulation-making
e-Regulations – search by key word or agency