Agencies | Governor
Virginia Regulatory Town Hall

Regulatory Actions and Stages

Jump down to

Standard Three Stage Process

1. Notice of Intended Regulatory Action (NOIRA): The public receives notification that a regulatory change is being considered, along with a description of the changes being considered. Once this stage is published in The Virginia Register of Regulations and appears on the Town Hall, there is at least a 30-day period during which the agency receives comments from the public. The agency reviews these comments as it develops the proposed regulation.
2. Proposed: The public is provided with the full text of the regulation, a statement explaining the substance of the regulatory action, and an Economic Impact Analysis (EIA) prepared by the Department of Planning and Budget. Once the proposed stage is published in The Virginia Register of Regulations and appears on the Town Hall, there is at least a 60-day public comment period. Based on the comments received, the agency may modify the proposed text of the regulation. The agency also provides a summary of comments that have been received during the NOIRA period, and the agency's response.
3. Final: The public is provided with the full text of the regulation, this time with an explanation of any changes made to the text of the regulation since the proposed stage. Once the final stage is published in The Virginia Register of Regulations and appears on the Town Hall, there is a 30-day final adoption period.

   More details about the standard three stage process

   See a chart of the standard stage process

   See section 2.2-4007 to 4017 of the Administrative Process act.


Emergency Regulations

Sometimes, the General Assembly passes a law requiring an emergency regulation. Emergency regulations are effective for up to one year and are exempt from the usual regulatory process. Usually, an agency will promulgate an emergency regulation and, at the same time, begin a regulatory action for a permanent replacement regulation.

   More details about the emergency regulatory process.

   See a chart of the emergency regulatory process.

   See section 2.2-4011 of the Administrative Process Act.


Fast-track regulations

The fast-track rulemaking process is for rules that are expected to be noncontroversial.

   More details about the Fast-Track process.

   See a chart of the Fast-track regulatory process.

   See section 2.2-4012.1 of the Code of Virginia.


Exempt Actions

Some regulatory actions are exempt from the regulatory process described above: actions of exempt agencies, regulations setting rates or prices or relating to internal agency working, and regulations with technical changes or changes to strictly conform to changes in federal or state law. Most exempt regulations are published in final form only, however, some exempt actions can include notice and publication of a proposed text.

   More details about exempt regulations.

   See section 2.2-4002 and section 2.2-4006 of the Administrative Process Act.


How regulatory boards choose the appropriate type of action

The Standard Three Stage Process: This action is appropriate when (1) it does not qualify as an exempt action, (2) the agency has no authority to promulgate an emergency regulation, and (3) some element of the action may be controversial. The thoroughness of the standard process will give all interested parties plenty of opportunity to scrutinize the proposed change and provide necessary feedback.

The Fast-track Process: Appropriate when an action expected to be noncontroversial. A rulemaking is deemed noncontroversial if no objections are received from (1) certain members of the General Assembly or (2) ten or more members of the public.

Emergency Regulations: The emergency process should be pursued when there is an imminent threat to public health or safety OR the authorizing legislation requires that a regulation be effective in 280 days or less from enactment and the regulation is not exempt.

Exempt Actions: Agency must implement regulatory action (no discretion is involved); the regulatory action involves minor changes, does not differ materially from federal law/regulations, relates to internal workings of the agency, or is otherwise listed as exempt.