Friday, June 17, 2011

Recommendations Approved!

For the past half year, I have been working as a consultant to the Administrative Conference of the United States (ACUS), assisting in the development of recommendations for how to enhance the notice and comment process by which many of our government regulations are developed. The latest step in this process, which I have documented on a number of previous occasions (see here, here, and here), was for the recommendations to be debated and approved by the full voting membership of ACUS.

With about 100 hundred of the nation's foremost experts in administrative law and process constituting the voting membership, I was curious to see how recommendations initiated by a social scientist would go over. And, sure enough, some of my recommendations, especially those oriented toward increasing the availability of information to researchers, were not received so well by all of the members. In the end, though, the overall spirit of my consultant's report, as well as a number of specific recommendations that stemmed from my initial work, were reflected in the document that was, after an extended debate, approved by the plenary.

What this means is that the recommendations are now official statements of ACUS and will soon be published in the Federal Register, the daily publication of the executive branch of the United States government. What will happen after that? Will agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency and Securities and Exchange Commission adopt the ACUS recommendations? Will Congress and the White House encourage agencies to take the recommendations to heart? Stay tuned...

~Steve

PS: Click here to view the streaming video of the session during which I presented my consultant's research and report. And keep watching past my remarks, as I was shortly thereafter followed to the podium by Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, who decades ago himself served as an ACUS consultant and fittingly offered an entertaining keynote address.

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