WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee leaders have introduced bipartisan legislation to revamp the process by which the public is able to comment on government regulations to make it more accessible, innovative, and efficient.
The E-Rulemaking Act of 2010, S. 3961, was introduced by Committee Chairman Joe Lieberman, ID-Conn., and Ranking Member Susan Collins, R-Me., to expand upon what was begun by the E-Government Act of 2002. The new bill addresses inconsistencies, impediments to open communication, and policy issues that have slowed progress toward a robust, publicly accessible rule-making process.
“Electronic rulemaking has improved tremendously, particularly with the refinement and strengthening of the website Regulations.gov. But much more needs to be done,” Senator Lieberman said. “Our bill will make the regulatory process easier to navigate for both the public and government agencies and will encourage innovations to strengthen the ability of Americans to interact with their government. Congress recently passed monumental legislation – such as health care and financial reform – that will be more closely defined by the regulatory process. It is essential that that process is efficient, transparent, and easily understood by the American public.”
Said Senator Collins: “Transparency is a coveted value that Americans insist upon from their government and this legislation would give the public an easier way to connect with government officials and agencies and to provide much-needed feedback.
“This bill would open a window onto government, help create standardization of federal rulemaking and enhance the one-stop website, Regulations.gov,” she said. “Public participation is the lifeblood of a healthy democracy and this bill would improve the government’s digital capabilities in order to give the public more access and more input on all federal rules.”
The E-Rulemaking Act of 2010 strengthens the governing body of the e-rulemaking program and establishes a framework for governing, managing and funding the next, more-interactive stage of the e-rulemaking program. The legislation also encourages government agencies to improve and standardize their information-sharing processes for regulations.