Finding Information on the Town Hall
The Overview section of this manual discusses What information is contained on the Town Hall and How the Town Hall is organized. One of the primary entities in the regulatory process is a board. A board's activities revolve around their part of the Virginia Administrative Code. When the board proposes a change to a chapter/regulation, it is considered a regulatory action. A regulatory action has certain stages. Understanding this organization makes finding information on the Town Hall much easier.
There are three different approaches to finding a piece of information or navigating to a particular place on the Town Hall.
- Browsing through the Town Hall structure (by secretary, agency, board)
- Using one of the specialized Town Hall pages (like "Changes Underway")
- Using the Town Hall Keyword Search
Browsing through the Town Hall structure (by secretary, agency, board).
If you click on the "Browse by Secretariat" option on the blue menu to the left, you will get a list of the Secretariats which make up Virginia state government. If you click on one of the Secretariats, you will get a list of all state agencies that belong to that secretariat. If you then click on an agency, you will get information about that agency and a list of all regulatory boards housed within that agency. If you then click on one of the boards, you will get information about that board and all chapters of the Virginia Administrative code that the board is responsible for. If you then click on one of the chapters, you will get information about the chapter and all of the regulatory actions relating to the chapter (past and present).
Navigating or browsing down through the website in this manner is useful if
- You're not sure what you are looking for
- You want see what agencies exist
- You want to see what boards belong to what agencies
- You know the name of the board you want and know it will only take a few clicks to browse down to it
Using one of the specialized Town Hall pages (like "Changes Underway")
There are a variety of pages on the Town Hall designed to lead you to information of a certain nature. For example:
- The "Changes Underway" page gives a list of all actions that are currently in development and have been published or are about to be published in The Virginia Register with links taking you down the particular action or stage.
- You can choose "Future Meetings" or "Past Meetings" on the left menu to get information about board meetings without having to browse down to the board in question.
- If you are logged in as a state user, your agency functions menu will give you access to a "Current Actions" page or a "Pending List" which pull up information specific to your agency or office.
Important Tip: On each of these pages you will find a small graphic in the upper right which will open an options panel with various selection options. Some will be specific to that page but will usually include the ability to narrow your focus to a single secretariat, agency or board.
Using the Town Hall Keyword Search
The search feature has been greatly improved. You can access the full search page by clicking By Keyword or Citation under "Find Regulation" on the left menu bar. But an equivalent search box will always be available in the upper right portion of the screen.
The search feature will search for titles of regulations, regulatory actions, meetings, guidance documents, mandates, petitions for rulemaking, and general notices. You can also enter the Town Hall Action ID, Stage ID, Meeting ID, and even the Legislative Project ID from the RIS system.
Your search results will be broken up into the categories listed above. See the sample screen below. Though a search term as common as "water" generally wouldn't be as helpful as something more specific.