U.S. DOT codifies reforms in new departmental rulemaking process

Dec. 10, 2019

The goal of the rule is to enhance transparency in how the department issues rules and guidance documents

The U.S. DOT recently announced a final rule codifying a series of key reforms to the agency's rulemaking, guidance, and enforcement practices.

The goal of the rule is to enhance transparency in how the department issues rules and guidance documents, as well as strengthens due process in U.S. DOT enforcement actions.

The agency says it is making an effort to lead the way in reforming not just individual regulations, but also the process by which it regulates, and that the "rule on rules" is an example of the type of government the administration is trying to embrace.

“When rules are outdated, duplicative, overly complex and contradictory, they harm the cause of safety and effectiveness," Secretary Elaine Chao said in a statement. "This effort enhances the department’s regulatory process by providing greater transparency and strengthening due process in enforcement actions.”

U.S. DOT explains that the rule’s major components include permanently incorporating the Trump Administration’s regulatory reform policies on regulatory budgeting, the “2-for-1” plan, and the Regulatory Reform Task Force. The final rule will codify additional procedures for the issuance of the department’s most costly rules, including enhanced opportunities for public participation. 

The rule clarifies that the agency’s guidance documents do not impose legal obligations and shall not be used as a basis for enforcement. It also ensures due process protections for potential subjects of enforcement actions, including open and fair investigations and proceedings, according to the department.



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