Improving Regulatory Systems

NPR Recommendations

REG01 Create an Interagency Regulatory Coordinating Group
REG02 Encourage More Innovative Approaches to Regulation
REG03 Encourage Consensus-Based Rulemaking
REG04 Enhance Public Awareness and Participation
REG05 Streamline Agency Rulemaking Procedures
REG06 Encourage Alternative Dispute Resolution When Enforcing Regulations
REG07 Rank Risks and Engage in "Anticipatory" Regulatory Planning
REG08 Improve Regulatory Science
REG09 Improve Agency and Congressional Relationships
REG10 Provide Better Training and Incentives for Regulators

Progress to Date

In September 1993, the President signed Executive Order 12866, Regulatory Planning and Review, which articulated the Administration's regulatory principles and created an interagency Regulatory Working Group. This group helped coordinate implementation of many of NPR's regulatory recommendations and meets frequently to serve as a forum to help agencies implement various provisions of the order, including those that encourage innovative approaches to regulation. The Regulatory Working Group also prepared guidelines on agency use of risk assessment and cost/benefit analysis. It has helped lead ongoing regulatory reinvention efforts most recently, those involving the effort to eliminate 16,000 obsolete pages of the Code of Federal Regulations.

Over the past three years, many regulatory agencies have made significant progress in streamlining rulemaking. A May 1996 survey of 60 regulatory agencies showed more than half had streamlined their internal rulemaking processes and nearly half had gotten legislative changes to speed their rulemaking processes and make them more consensus-based. One-third of these agencies have created procedures for direct final rulemaking.

In addition, half of these agencies have expanded their use of electronic communication and information retrieval as part of their efforts to enhance public awareness and participation. For example, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has conducted a pilot of the use of the Internet in rulemaking with its RuleNet project. The multi-agency online Business Advisor provides Internet access to the statutes and regulations of all federal agencies. Regulatory agencies are also actively pursuing the President's directives to use negotiated rulemaking (reg-neg) where feasible. President Clinton announced that limits on the creation of new advisory committees will not apply to reg-neg committees. Training materials have been disseminated, and in response new reg-negs have been undertaken.

Federal agency use of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) techniques is increasing dramatically. One-third of the regulatory agencies have active programs, and the Attorney General announced a new Department of Justice initiative to increase that department's reliance on and support of ADR. Pending legislation would expand ADR's use.

Major regulatory reform initiatives supported by this Administration have been enacted, including the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (Public Law 104-13), the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (Public Law 104-121), and the Unfunded Mandate Reform Act of 1995 (Public Law 104-4). The latter includes a small but important amendment to the Federal Advisory Committee Act that makes it easier for federal officials to meet with state, local, and tribal officials.

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