Electronic Rulemaking in the Federal Government [October 16, 2007]   [open pdf - 270KB]

"Electronic rulemaking, or 'e-rulemaking,' began in the federal government within individual agencies in the mid-to-late 1990s, but current government-wide initiatives can be traced to both congressional and presidential sources. For example, the E-Government Act of 2002 requires federal agencies, 'to the extent practicable,' to accept public comments on their rules electronically and to ensure that one or more federal websites contains those comments and other materials normally maintained in rulemaking dockets. E-rulemaking is also one of about two dozen e-government initiatives launched as part of the George W. Bush Administration's President's Management Agenda. In the first phase of the initiative, the Administration established a website through which the public can identify all federal rules that are open for comment and provide comments on those rules. The second phase involves the creation of a government-wide docket system that can allow the public to review rulemaking materials (e.g., agencies' legal and cost-benefit analyses for their rules) and the comments of others. E-rulemaking has been described as a way to increase democratic legitimacy, improve regulatory policy decisions, decrease administrative costs, and increase regulatory compliance. However, the implementation of e-rulemaking in the federal government has been controversial. Although the migration of agencies into the government-wide docket was originally planned for 2004, that migration is currently not expected to be completed until 2008. Congress has objected to how e-rulemaking and several other e-government projects have been funded (through appropriations transfers or reimbursements to the projects' 'managing partner' agencies), and has voiced other concerns about the overall management and appropriateness of the initiatives."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, RL34210
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