eRulemaking ranks high among the priorities of the newly revived Administrative Conference of the United States, according to the written testimony of Conference Chair Paul R. Verkuil, at the hearing on the Conference held by the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law (20 May 2010) (video) (written testimony).
In his written testimony President Verkuil said the following about eRulemaking, including references to Regulations.gov, the main official U.S. eRulemaking service, and to the report of the ABA Section of Administrative Law & Regulatory Practice, Committee on the Status & Future of Federal e-Rulemaking and the Cornell e-Rulemaking Initiative, entitled Achieving the Potential: The Future of Federal E-Rulemaking (2008):
The Information Age clearly is having a great impact on the ability to “promote more effective public participation and efficiency in the rulemaking process” (5 U.S.C. §591). The use of Internet platforms in rulemaking has transformed the rulemaking process. The changes ushered in by the E-Government Act of 2002, including the federal government’s central portal for public participation in rulemaking, www.regulations.gov, have great potential for democratizing the rulemaking process, but they also carried risks and special legal problems that did not exist when rulemaking dockets were paper files in agency basements. A recent ABA report specifically recognized that ACUS could play a pivotal role in this regard. The White House’s open government initiative, which emphasized transparency and participation, should also be a central player in our rulemaking efforts.
In his written testimony, President Verkuil quoted the following language from the ABA report:
Historically, the Administrative Conference of the United States (ACUS) provided agencies with data, assessment and recommendations about their processes that were difficult for them otherwise to obtain. Current progress towards reviving ACUS represents an opportunity for e-rulemaking to benefit from this same type of expert evaluation and advice.
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