Earlier this month, the National Association of Federal Credit Unions joined 87 other trade associations in sending letters of support to Congress for the Regulatory Accountability Act of 2013 (H.R. 2122 and S. 1029). If passed, the legislations would modernize the Administrative Procedure Act, which has not been updated in 66 years, and change the process by which various federal agencies promulgate regulations to improve accountability and the integrity of the rulemaking process.
Specifically, the proposed legislation would:
- Require regulators to consider existing rules when writing and proposing new regulations
- Require regulatory agencies to issue an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPR) prior to proposing a major rule
- Require regulators to avoid rules that are inconsistent or incompatible with other existing rules
- Require regulations to be set forth in simple and easy to understand language
From the Consumer Electronics Association to the Corn Refiners Association, industries across the nation agree the need for regulatory accountability is more than just an issue for financial institutions. Some important language in the proposed legislation includes:
(b) RULE MAKING CONSIDERATIONS – In a rule making, an agency shall make all preliminary and final factual determinations based on evidence and consider, in addition to other applicable considerations, the following:
(4) Whether existing rules have created or contributed to the problem the agency may address with a rule and whether those rules could be amended or rescinded to address the problem in whole or part.
(c) ADVANCE NOTICE OF PROPOSED RULE MAKING FOR MAJOR RULES, HIGH-IMPACT RULES, AND RULES INVOLVING NOVEL LEGAL OR POLICY ISSUES – In the case of a rule making for a major rule or high-impact rule or a rule that involves a novel legal or policy issue arising out of statutory mandates, not later than 90 days before a notice of proposed rule making is published in the Federal Register, an agency shall publish advance notice of proposed rule making in the Federal Register.
(k) RULE MAKING GUIDELINES -
(2) The Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs shall also issue guidelines to promote coordination, simplification and harmonization of agency rules during the rule making process and otherwise. Such guidelines shall assure that each agency avoids regulations that are inconsistent or incompatible with, or duplicative of, its other regulations and those of other Federal agencies and drafts its regulations to be simple and easy to understand, with the goal of minimizing the potential for uncertainty and litigation arising from such uncertainty.
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