Notice and Comment
Get involved in the federal regulatory process
Submitting a comment for a federal or state notice of proposed rulemaking is one of the simplest and essential ways for the public to participate in the rulemaking process. ACS’s Notice and Comment initiative identifies opportunities to comment on key regulations put forth by federal and state agencies. ACS monitors the federal register for notices of proposed regulatory changes and highlights select opportunities that may be of interest to our members. ACS encourages our members to write and submit comments, but we are also looking for volunteers to research comments and provide expert talking points to guide comment writing. For more information, check out our Notice and Comment Webinar.
Please email LCEmails@acslaw.org with the subject line “Notice and Comment” for more information.
State Regulation Monitors
Seeking Volunteers for Monitoring Proposed Regulatory Changes in the States
ACS is expanding its Notice and Comment Project, which monitors regulations and policy-making and then highlights select opportunities that may be of interest to our members, to include all 50 states. There is currently no single location to find proposed regulatory changes for all 50 states. Not only that, but many state proposed regulatory changes are difficult to monitor and not easily accessible to the general public. ACS is looking for volunteers to monitor, on a weekly basis, state notices of proposed rulemaking. Please email LCEmails@acslaw.org for more information.
Top Notice and Comment Opportunities
- The Federal Labor Relations Authority seeks comment by August 12 for a general statement of policy or guidance holding that the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Janus v. AFSCME, Council 31 (2018) requires the Authority to reevaluate its precedent on the revocation of federal employees’ union-dues assignments. The guidance would allow federal employees to cease paying union dues at any time, provided that they have been in a union for at least one year. Read more from Government Executive and FCW.
- The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) seeks comment by August 13 on a proposal to change its Section 1557 regulation. The proposal would eliminate the existing, inclusive definition of sex and weaken language access protections for individuals with limited English proficiency. The changes could put access to health care at risk for thousands of women, LGBTQIA+ individuals, and people whose primary language is not English. Read more from Health Affairs, the Kaiser Family Foundation, and Reuters, and visit the National Women’s Law Center to submit a comment directly through their portal.
- The Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) seek comment by August 15 on an interim final rule that bars asylum claims from individuals who cross the southern border after failing to apply for protection in a third country through which the alien transited en route to the United States. The rule would bar almost all asylum applications at the southern border, with limited exceptions. Read more from The New York Times, NPR, and The Washington Post.
- The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) seeks comment by August 16 on a proposal to modify the category two budget approach to decrease the administrative burden on schools and libraries. Through the category two program, rural and high-poverty schools have been afforded more accessibility to broadband services, and the program is poised to help support more schools across the country gain access to high-speed Internet. Read more from the FCC.
- The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) seeks comment by August 23 for reply comments on proposed revisions to its rules implementing the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. The proposal will afford phone companies flexibility in limiting the amount of spam robocalls consumers receive. Read more from CNN, The Wall Street Journal, and Consumer Reports.
- The Department of Labor seeks comment by August 26 on a proposal to establish a process for recognizing Standards Recognition Entities (SREs), which will in turn recognize Industry-Recognized Apprenticeship Programs. The plan would allow for the creation of unregistered apprenticeships that can bypass the approval of the Department of Labor, resulting in potentially lower-quality apprenticeship experiences due to lack of oversight. Read more from Inside Higher Ed and The Wall Street Journal.
- The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) seeks comment by August 26 on a proposed regulation setting a Maximum Contaminant Level Goal (MCLG) for perchlorate in drinking water. The proposed MCLG level is three times higher than the previous administration’s recommended MCLG, exposing consumers to higher levels of perchlorate through tap water and irrigation farming water for fields and livestock. High levels of perchlorate in water has documented effects on cognition and the endocrine and reproductive systems. Read more from The Hill and Environmental Working Group.
- The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) seeks comment by September 3 on a proposed review on its conclusion in April that glyphosate is not a carcinogen. A new study has concluded that there is a causal connection between exposure to glyphosate-based herbicides and risk for certain cancers. Read more from NPR, The Washington Post, CNN, and the World Health Organization (WHO).
- The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is holding a public hearing on September 17 and seeking comment thereafter on a draft guidance on how the FDA might best review applications for new opioids to treat pain. In addition to comparing the effectiveness and safety of new opioid painkillers, the agency proposes to evaluate the ways in which an opioid adversely or positively affects public health, including potential effects beyond the patient, including the patient’s household.
- The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) seeks comment by September 18 on a proposal to amend regulations under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act to address communications in connection with debt collection. The proposal would afford debt collectors greater latitude in exercising aggressive debt-collection practices. The proposed amendment could impact up to 71 million Americans. Read more from NCLC.
- The Department of Agriculture (USDA) seeks comment by September 23 on a proposal to restrict eligibility for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). The proposal would cut benefits to around 3 million people. Read more from NPR, The Washington Post, and The New York Times.
- The Department of Labor (DOL) seeks comment by September 24 on a proposal making the process of employers applying for the H-2A or “guest worker” program easier. The proposal could exacerbate existing in the H-2A program by expanding the scope of the program, weakening recruitment protections, shifting more costs onto workers and reducing housing inspections. Read more from Farmworker Justice.
- The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) seeks comment by September 30 on a rule making petition to require individuals running for federal office disclose valuable information they receive as a contribution. The regulation would require an immediate investigation and the release of a public report within 30 days of the disclosure. The proposed rule would increase transparency in federal elections. Read more from NPR.
- The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) seeks comment by October 15 on a proposed amendment to the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act which would limit the number of banks that are required to report the race and gender of potential homebuyers who apply for home loans. Through this proposed rule the Bureau also announced it would be closing a public-access web portal containing lending data. This would limit the public and journalists from accessing data potentially showing discriminatory lending patterns. Read more from Reveal.
Members can also search the Federal Register for other comment opportunities.
- The California Board of Parole Hearings seeks comment by June 3 on a proposal to make permanent the Board’s parole hearing date advancement processes. The Board adopted these emergency processes in response to California’s 2008 passage of Marsy’s Law, a victim’s rights ballot initiative that amended the state’s constitution. Mary’s Law increased the shortest denial length an inmate can receive for a parole hearing from one year to three years. Read more from Pew, ACLU, and an empirical study of the impact of Marsy’s Law on parole in California. See pages 593-598 of the California Regulatory Notice Register for further information. Comments may be submitted by email to EPH.Regulations@cdcr.ca.gov.
- The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation seeks comment by June 6 on a proposal to amend its regulations to allow nonviolent inmates who are incarcerated for a term of life with the possibility of parole to be eligible for parole consideration by the Board of Parole Hearings. The previous regulations excluded these inmates, but was successfully challenged in the California Court of Appeals. See pages 598-601 of the California Regulatory Notice Register for further information. Comments may be submitted by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
On September 19, ACS hosted a webinar on notice and comment procedure. Whether you care about environmental regulations, conditions for millions of workers across the country, financial controls, or any number of regulatory issues, this valuable training seminar covers the basics of the process that underlies all regulatory action with two seasoned experts. Notice and comment is a key oversight tool for agency activity, particularly in the current political environment, and it’s also a great way to develop knowledge in a particular area of the law. Whether you are an experienced practitioner or a law student still developing your experience, you can participate in notice and comment procedure to bring about change.
Get involved in the federal regulatory process. Submitting a comment for a federal or state notice of proposed rulemaking is one of the simplest and essential ways for the public to participate in the rulemaking process. ACS’s Notice and Comment initiative identifies opportunities to comment on key regulations put forth by federal and state agencies.