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How regulations are made

How regulations are made

Regulations are changed through a process called rulemaking. The rulemaking process:  

  • Provides the public opportunity to take part in the process 
  • Creates records that explain the reason for each rule 

There are two main types of rulemaking:  

  • Regular rulemaking
  • Emergency rulemaking

DCC must follow the Administrative Procedures Act (APA) when adopting regulations. The Office of Administrative Law (OAL) reviews proposed changes; they make sure the APA is followed.  

Steps in the rulemaking process 

Before the rulemaking process, DCC:  

  • Identifies needed policy changes 
  • Gathers research, information and materials  
  • Develops regulation text and supporting documents 
  • Engages stakeholders  

We also assess economic and fiscal impact of the proposed regulations. 

Regular rulemaking process

  1. Regulations publication and issuance of notice
    The rulemaking process begins when the regulations are published in the Notice Register. DCC distributes a notice to alert the public of the proposed changes. The text and rulemaking documents are also posted on the DCC website.
  2. 45-day public comment period
    The first public comment period begins ont he day the regulations are published. The comment period lasts at least 45 days. You can submit comments in writing by mail or email. You can also submit comments verbally if a public comment hearing is held.
  3. DCC reviews all comments received
    After the comment period, DCC reviews all feedback received and determines if changes to the regulations are needed.
  4. Additional public comment period(s)
    If major changes are made: 45-day comment period. If substantial and sufficiently related changes are made: 15-day comment period. If there are no changes or changes are non-substantial and sufficiently related: no additional public comment periods are required.
  5. Regulations submitted to OAL for review
    DCC prepares a final statement of reasons and final text of regulations. The final statement of reasons contains a summary and responses to all comments received and an updated informative digest. These rulemaking documents are submitted to OAL.
  6. OAL review
    OAL reviews the proposed regulations and rulemaking documents. They may require DCC to make revisions.
  7. Regulations approved
    If approved, the regulations are filed with the Secretary of State. The rulemaking record is closed, and the regulations go into effect.

Learn more about the regular rulemaking process.

Emergency rulemaking process

  1. Notice of rulemaking
    DCC distributes a notice to alert the public of the emergency rulemaking. The text and rulemaking documents are also posted on the DCC website. The notice period lasts at least 5 working days. The notice includes the text of proposed regulations and a Finding of Emergency, which describes the justification for the emergency.
  2. Filing and OAL review
    The emergency regulations and rulemaking documents are filed with OAL. OAL has 10 calendar days to review. You can submit comments during the first 5 days.
  3. Regulations approved
    If approved, the regulations are filed with the Secretary of State. The emergency regulations are effective for 180 days. DCC can readopt the emergency regulations for another 180-day period. A regular rulemaking must be conducted to make the regulations permanent.

Learn more about the emergency rulemaking process

How you can participate in the rulemaking process 

The rulemaking process includes opportunities to share feedback. You can submit feedback during the public comment period:  

  • By email or mail  
  • During a public hearing 

Tips for submitting a comment 

  • Include the section number or topic. This helps us understand what you’re commenting on. 
  • Be specific. Tell us how the regulation affects or would affect you. Include data or examples, where relevant. 
  • Comment only on what’s being proposed. DCC will only consider comments related to the proposed regulations.  
  • Phrase it as a statement. Instead of posing a question, phrase your comment as a statement. For example, instead of “What does this mean?” say “The wording of this section is confusing, so I don’t understand what it would require me to do.” 
  • Tell us what you like, too. Share which proposals you like, not just the ones you want to see changed.  
  • Share a suggestion, if you have one. Tell us what you would prefer and why you think it would be better. Sharing an alternative helps us consider how the regulation could be made better. 
  • You only need to submit once. Your comment is registered once, no matter how many times you send it.  
  • Don’t include confidential or private information. Comments become part of the public record. Don’t include information that you wouldn’t want shared with others. 
  • Submit your comment by the deadline. Make sure your comment is submitted before the end of the designated comment period, so it can be considered. 

We’ve created a public comment template to make it easy for you submit your feedback.

Public comment hearings 

You can record a verbal comment during a public comment hearing, if one is held or requested. Hearings are not an opportunity to ask questions or discuss the proposals. They are simply a forum for recording verbal comments.  

If you submitted your comment in writing, you do not need to submit it again through a hearing.  

How to provide comment during a hearing 

  1. Give your name and contact information
    We ask for this so we can send you any revisions that are made.
  2. Tell us which section number or topic you’re commenting on
  3. Give your commentFollow the tips above for submitting a comment.

What happens to public comments 

DCC reviews all comments received. We may make changes to the proposed regulations, as a result.  

We may make changes to the proposed regulations after reading the comments. If we make major or substantial changes, we publish revisions and hold another comment period. This lets you review the changes and comment again.  

During regular rulemakings, we respond to all comments received in a document called the Final Statement of Reasons. This is published at the end of the rulemaking process. It lists all comments received and includes information about why we did or did not make changes in response to that comment.