Improve Public Engagement Related to Agency Regulatory Actions

Regulations are a critical way that the Federal Government makes and implements policy, ranging from how benefit programs are administered to how the Federal Government enforces workplace safety and health protections, and touching countless other areas of Americans’ lives. The Federal regulatory process provides opportunities for members of the public to offer their perspectives on specific proposals, including through written comments and meetings during regulatory review. However, Federal agencies do not always hear from communities that might be affected by proposed regulatory actions — especially historically underserved communities. The Federal Government has taken several important steps to broaden the voices that agencies hear from in the regulatory process.

First, President Biden has issued a memorandum calling on the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to lead an effort to modernize the regulatory review process, including by exploring opportunities to broaden public engagement. In addition, OMB has recommended that agencies engage the public when developing their annual regulatory agendas — that is, lists of regulatory actions that agencies are considering in the coming months and years. Beyond those measures, individual Federal agencies are also using innovative tools to engage the public in the rulemaking process, including through improved public resources, regional townhalls, Requests for Information, and collaborations with community-based organizations to share regulatory priorities and solicit community input. Over the next year, the Federal Government commits to supporting greater community engagement in the rulemaking process, including through its efforts to modernize the regulatory review process, through tools, guidance, and other resources.

This is a commitment in the Fifth U.S. Open Government National Action Plan.

Commitment Updates

OIRA organized a public listening event on May 4, 2023, from 1:30-5:00 ET, to hear from members of the public about how we should change our policies regarding 12866 meetings, consistent with the Modernizing Regulatory Review Executive Order.

We recorded this listening session and links are available to recordings below that correspond to each part of the session.

Welcome and Introduction from the OIRA team; Background on 12866 Meetings and Proposed Changes

Public Listening Session 1: Expanding Participation in 12866 Meetings

In this session, we invited ideas about how OIRA can support greater participation in the 12866 meeting process, including by members of the public who have not previously used this process.

Public Listening Session 2: Accommodating Increased Demand for 12866 Meetings.

Currently, OIRA is able to accommodate virtually all requests for 12866 meetings. If efforts to expand participation in 12866 meetings are successful, OIRA may not be able to accommodate all requests for meetings in all cases. In this session, we invited ideas about how OIRA should consolidate and/or prioritize meeting requests in a transparent and fair manner.

Public Listening Session 3: Increasing Transparency in 12866 Meetings + General Feedback.

Currently, OIRA releases public data on 12866 meetings, including the identity of meeting requestors and government staff participants. In this session, we invited ideas about additional information OIRA should collect from meeting requestors and release to the public to improve transparency about the 12866 meeting process, as well as other steps to improve accessibility of data on these meetings. We also welcomed general feedback on 12866 meetings in this session.

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