- Best Practices: Increased public participation is good for everyone!
- Public participation guidelines (PPGs)
- The Town Hall enables and encourages public participation
- Board meetings and Public Hearings
- Public Comment Forums
- Petitions for rulemaking
- Ad hoc advisory committees/technical advisory committees (TACs)
Best practicesIncreased public participation is good for everyone!
- Improves the quality of regulations. Public comments often point out ambiguities in language, omissions, unintended consequences, and other problems that may have been overlooked.
- Puts agencies and regulatory boards in the best position to make the right choices. By seeking input from people with different perspectives on a regulation at or before the NOIRA stage (and before drafting the regulation), the agency will be more fully aware of the issues, the evidence to support the various approaches that might be taken, and to ultimately make the best choices.
- Helps to allay people’s concerns. It is best to avoid a situation where significant opposition and controversy are generated upon the publication of a regulatory action. By communicating with concerned parties before publication, you will not only be able to gauge reaction, but help to avoid problems from developing.
- Helps to build support for the regulatory action. Regulants’ and other interested parties’ belief that they have been heard in the regulatory process translates into support, as well as compliance with the regulatory action once it is implemented.
- Helps to educate regulants in advance of implementation. This will also help to minimize surprise on the part of the regulated community.
- Helps to build good will. Actively seeking input from the public and responding in a meaningful fashion will reap valuable dividends in the form of greater trust and an enhanced reputation in the regulated community and beyond.
Public participation guidelines (PPGs)
The Town Hall enables and encourages public participation
The Town Hall encourages and supports public participation in many ways.
- Opening up the process: In spirit of making government more transparent to it's citizens, the Town Hall makes the regulatory process open and accessible to all Virginians. Anyone with access to the Internet can view all aspects of the process and participate in a variety of ways.
- Automatic Email Notification: Any member of the public can register with the Town Hall and sign up to receive e-mail notification about regulatory actions and meetings related to any agencies, boards, and regulations in which they are interested. A "Meetings" email and a "Regulatory Actions" email go out each night to those people whose preferences match with the activities for that day.
Agency Mailing Lists: State agency users can send out information concerning regulatory activities to specific users who have expressed their interest in a specific Agency, Board or Chapter. For example an agency may send out a summary of public comments and the agency's response at the conclusion of a public comment period.
More details for state agency users.
- Public comment forums, petitions for rulemaking, meetings and public hearings are all automated on the Town Hall website and described in more detail below.
Public Comment Forums
Anyone may submit on-line comments for any open public comment forum and view those comments made by others. Public comment forums are held for Noira stages, Proposed stages, Final stages, Petitions for Rulemaking and Periodic Reviews. Forums open automatically upon the date the event is published in The Virginia Register. How long a forum is open varies depending on the event.
More details on the Town Hall's Public Comment Forums.
See the public comment forums currently open.
Board meetings and Public Hearings
As a general rule, all board meetings are open to the public. You may find that members of the public attend these meetings to become more informed about regulatory actions and/or offer their comments on regulations in development. In order to encourage public participation in the regulatory process, you are encouraged to, if possible, set aside time to receive input from the public during these meetings.
A public hearing is a special type of meeting usually convened for the sole purpose of receiving public comment on a regulatory action. Board members and/or agency staff are present to receive public comments.
More details on meetings and public hearings and their listing on the Town Hall.
See the Meetings page on the Town Hall.
Petitions for rulemaking
A petition for rulemaking is a request made by any individual that an agency or board develop a new regulation or amend an existing regulation.
The steps for submitting a petition for rulemaking to an agency are set out in § 2.2-4007 (A) of the Code of Virginia. In addition, in order to qualify as a "petition for rulemaking," the communication must (1) state the substance and purpose of the regulatory action that is requested (including reference to any applicable VAC sections), and (2) reference the legal authority of the agency to take the action requested.
More details about petitions for rulemaking.
See a chart of the petition for rulemaking process.
See the "Requested by the public" page to view petitions currently under consideration.
Ad hoc advisory committees/technical advisory committees (TACs)
Often an agency will put together a committee consisting of regulants, advocacy groups, and other concerned citizens to assist the board in drafting or amending a regulation.
2.2-4007.02 of the Code of Virginia states that an agency’s public participation guidelines (PPGs) must set out a general policy for the use of standing or ad hoc advisory panels and consultation with groups and individuals who want to work with an agency to develop a regulatory action. The PPGs must also address the circumstances in which an agency considers a panel or consultation appropriate and intends to make use of a panel or consultation.